New Twists on Playing With Your Pets

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There are many times when we have to leave our beloved pets home alone, bored and often anxious. We love our pets and want to take good care of them but day care boarding, pet walkers and sitters require advanced vetting, scheduling and are costly. What loving pet owners need is a TWIST that’s convenient and affordable to help monitor, interact with and entertain their pets while away from home. Welcome Petcube and PlayDate, two new pet care innovations that twist high-tech and mobile know-how into fun pet sitting solutions.

Petcube gives you the ability to monitor and interact with your pet from your mobile device using streaming video, a two-way audio stream and speaker, motion and sound detection, and a laser for added game-time fun. It also serves as a room monitor, providing an extra dose of home security. Even if you don’t own a pet, but are a pet lover – you can join the Petcube community. When you download the app you can interact and play with other’s pets or shelter pets.

With PlayDate you can actually play fetch with your pet by operating a rolling smart ball that you control from your mobile device. You can watch, record video and capture pictures of your pet interacting with the ball. There’s a microphone and speaker so you can hear one another, and a squeaker for added fun. Everything your dog or cat needs to be entertained and for you to feel reassured.

Pletcube’s and PlayDate’s developers took an old problem and looked at it from a new angle – They TWISTED high tech with warm and fuzzy to create solutions that every pet owner can use. How could you twist with a bit of readily available technology to solve a problem your customer’s facing?

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Finding the right TWIST can help your brand innovate and deliver. In TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, Brand School founder Julie Cottineau provides a clear road map to build a stronger more distinctive brand – complete with examples from real life small business owners who have successfully completed our Brand School program. Pick up your copy today.

A Twist That Can Save the Planet

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Plastic bottle caps are washing up on ocean shores and posing environmental health and safety concerns. They are actually number 5 in a top 10 list of commonly found pieces of trash on the shores. The problem is clear, but so far no one has come up with a solution to keep these caps out of our oceans and landfills. That’s until now. Clever Caps has taken a conventional water bottle cap and TWISTED it with a Lego block – they’ve created an innovative solution for a world increasingly concerned about environmental pollution and trash build up.

With Clever Caps, users can create everything from furniture, to light fixtures, to art pieces, to children’s toys – and they interlock with similar crafting blocks already on the market.

We were so impressed by this TWIST that we donated to a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo. You can too.

Just by adding one simple out-of-category twist, Clever Caps created an all-around friendlier bottle cap that’s fun and more environmentally friendly.

Brand School Master Class gives you the tools you need to create the TWIST that will take your business further. Enrolling now HERE.

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“Brand School’s guidance and support has helped grow my business to new depths of expansion, creativity and financial worth… and keep it growing and transforming to passionately share what I love with others.” - Deborah Coulter, deborahcoulterartflow.com

See Clearer With a Twist

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Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Today, technology is radically changing how we connect with the world. Everyone wants to be a part of it – “selfies”, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook – are all buzzing 24/7.  But one company is using technology to help others not just be seen – but actually see.

Non profit Be My Eyes took an iPhone and TWISTED it with social media to create a breakthrough app that helps solve some of the everyday needs of the blind.

Through a direct video call the app gives blind people the opportunity to ask a sighted volunteer for help dealing with tasks that require normal vision. With the smartphone’s video camera, the blind person films what they wish to know about and shares it with the sighted helper, who describes what is being shown in the video. By working together they are able to overcome the challenge that the blind person is facing. It can be anything from needing to know the expiration date on a milk carton to getting input on choosing which photo to send to a friend.

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“It’s my hope that by helping each other as an online community, Be My Eyes will make a big difference in the everyday lives of blind people all over the world” – Hans Jørgen Wiberg, Founder of Be My Eyes

What would make life better for your customers and what can you TWIST with to find innovative ways to deliver it to them?

Brand School Master Class teaches you how to find and apply TWISTS that make it easier for customers to enjoy experiencing your business. Enrolling now – see if your brand qualifies HERE.

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“Working with Brand School is an invaluable experience and a really great use of resources because it opens up so many doors and affects so many areas of  your business.” - Sarah Hinawi, Executive Director, The Purple Crayon Center for Learning and Innovation

Sweeten Your Brand’s Impact with a Meaningful Cause

Can a product brand have a higher purpose and not seem like it’s just jumping on the “cause” band wagon? Well, we believe that sweetriot has made the cut with grace and impact.

sweetriot makes chocolate candy. Sounds simple enough, but they have taken their brand to another level altogether. They are a mission-based business that wants to “create a more just and celebrated multicultural world for our next generation”. They embrace this idea throughout their company and in every area of brand expression.

How do they succeed in clearly defining their brand promise to make their product and purpose stand out?

Their name says it all. sweetriot immediately implies they are making their voice heard, that they welcome others into the process, and they do it while creating a sweeter place, literally and figuratively. In their own words: “A sweetriot is a joyful celebration of culture, diversity, and understanding — it is the opposite of a civil riot, which is dangerous, violent, and oppressing.”

They are consistent and creative with their use of verbal identity. CEO, Sarah E Endline, calls herself the “Chief Rioter.” Customers are asked to “Join the riot.”  Their chocolate treats are called “peaces.” Their copy reinforces their dedication to fair-trade and social causes that better the communities from where their materials are sourced.Their tagline is “Fixing the world one ‘peace’ at a time. Sweet for the world & sweet for you.”

Their mission is integrated as a part of every aspect of their business – it is not an add-on. It is integral to their products, partnerships and people. They walk the talk.

Their logo helps tell their story. Their logo is a thumbprint and also the globe. Immediately we know sweetriot is aware that they are leaving their personal mark on the world and it serves as a reminder to us that we are, too (everyone has a thumbprint and everyone lives on Earth).  Based in NYC, USA, sweetriot’s brand colors of red, white and blue reflect their company’s origin.

Their packaging is social and unique. sweetriot supports the emerging artists community by featuring works that embrace sweetriot’s culture on the candy wrappers. Works of art to be featured are selected by votes from website visitors.

sweetriot put a creative twist on their brand by directly involving their market and community and by consistently reminding their customers that when they purchase a sweetriot product they are doing more than simply satisfying a chocolate craving.

If executed with authenticity and care, your customers may respond with loyalty and enthusiasm when they realize that by connecting with your product they are in turn contributing to a larger community. Identifying associations that resonate on a meaningful level with your target market takes strategic thinking. Incorporating your promise into your brand identity takes planning. At Brand School, the highly effective, premier branding program, we deliver the tools and steps you need to sweeten your brand and its connection to your market. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

This post is part of our Brands That Twist series celebrating innovative brands. Read about other breakthrough brands and more ways to grow your business and brand here.

“I’ve taken quite a few courses on branding and marketing overall. However, what attracted me to Brand School was Julie’s experience with branding from a corporate level.” - Barbara Wanzo, Non-profit Homeowner Services.

5 Brand Trends for 2013

I don’t have a crystal ball, but that doesn’t stop me from having some opinions about what the year to come has in store. Check out my five predictions for brand trends in 2013 and let me know what you think in the comment section below!

1. The Royal Waiting

Anything Kate Middleton wears while baking the royal bun in the oven is sure to be an instant hit.  And it’s a pretty safe bet that the Duchess won’t be wearing anything too sexy or body clinging while she’s waiting for her royal heir to hatch. Will we be seeing a throw back to the formless maternity dresses and peter pan collars of Lady Diana? Probably not. You can bet Kate will continue to build her own personal brand with a maternity look that’s stylish, practical, and demure all at the same time. There’s likely a relatively unknown British maternity designer that’s about to become a household name. Look for knock-offs to appear immediately in the stores. Topshop may even start a maternity line.

2. Instagram becomes the new Facebook for tweens

Many tweens (ages 10-12) aren’t allowed to have Facebook accounts, but many others have their own iPads (or at least constant access to the family device). Bottom line: these almost-teenagers want to share everything, and pictures have always been worth a thousand words. Will this set still want to graduate to Facebook when their parents finally give the ‘okay’, or will they eventually fuel the growth of Instagram as the hottest social media channel? I predict the latter.

3. Blind Agency Pitches

The best part of the immensely popular talent show “The Voice” is the first weeks when the judges choose contestants based solely on their singing ability. Chairs facing away from the stage, the performers’ appearance has no influence on whether they make it on to one of the judge’s teams. I think agencies will soon be asked to pitch in a similar way. I mean, I can just imagine potential clients sitting enthroned in over-sized leather chairs, fingers hovering over big red buttons. Perhaps the strength of a small, relatively obscure agency’s simply brilliant core idea will finally have the chance to trump the dog and pony shows that many of the larger agencies have come to rely on.

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4. I Heart Brooklyn

This younger-brother borough has long been creeping up on its more popular counterpart (Manhattan) as the coolest place to see and be seen in the NY metro area. The shiny new Barclay Center, home to uber cool Jay-Z’s Nets, may have finally given this area the last boost it needed to wear the crown. Will Brooklyn finally win the sibling rivalry and become the focus of the iconic “I Love New York” campaign? The way it’s looking right now, it just might happen. I Heart Brooklyn bumper sticker anyone?

5. Weather or Not

For the past few years, the seasons are completely out of whack. Regardless of whether you believe in global warming, you have to admit that the temperatures are not what we used to expect each season and Mother Nature seems to be having a field day at our expense with hurricanes, October snow storms and then 60 degree Decembers. Will these changes affect the way that brands are created and marketed? For example, maybe we won’t see the same seasonal collections in fashion lines. Maybe a “round the year” collection from designers will become the norm. Hey, it could happen.

I PREDICT GREAT THINGS FOR YOUR BUSINESS WITH BRAND SCHOOL

Brand innovation comes from being a keen observer of the world around us and applying inspiration from one category to another. Brand School, is our premier program that teaches you to apply lateral thinking to build your brand and your business. Brand School takes the best practices of beloved brands such as Virgin, Apple, and Zappos and brings them to life in engaging videos, interactive exercises and exclusive access to a private community of fellow entrepreneurs. Learn more about Brand School here.  If you’d like to find out about our special discounts just for our social media friends, please sign up for the BrandTwist newsletter.

“Taking the Brand School course was THE best decision I ever made for my business.” – Dr. Marina Kostina, Distance Learning Specialist, CEO of  wired@heart

Let a Stranger Play with Your Logo?

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Crazy? Genius?

Actually Cunning. As in Cunning, a creative agency with offices in New York and London.

They decided to bring their mission of “driving engagement” to life but creating a corporate logo for their firm that is meant to be changed and played with.

At it’s most basic level it’s a box with a black dotted line border.

But on their website they declare themselves “solutions neutral” and prove this by embracing multiple design solutions for their logo.

Keep reading »