What’s My TWIST? Unexpected experts can help your brand.

Far too often, brands get stuck sounding, looking, and feeling the same way to consumers as any other competitor in their field. These brands aren’t standing out from the bunch; they’re merely doing just enough to fit in and survive. The most successful brands owe that success to the fact that they’re different. It’s why you gravitate to Apple before Dell, and why you can’t forget GEICO’s gecko. To stand out you need to get some outside perspective and a little inspiration.

What's My Twist Panel - Unique experts give feedback

The “What’s my TWIST Panel” technique does just that.

The “inspired experts” panel uncovers fresh language by taking experts in related but distinctly different fields and asks questions to extract fresh language that can be TWISTED with your own brand.

For example, recently we helped a pharmaceutical client with an over-the-counter medication focused on protection, by bringing in four unusual experts:

  • A former fireman
  • A bouncer
  • A computer security consultant
  • And an insurance agent

The essential element of this panel was that the client had no idea what fields the experts were in. Similar to the classic “What’s My Line?” game show – the occupations of the panelists were guessed and revealed at the very end. This kept the pharmaceutical executives focused on active listening for fresh language that they could then TWIST to add distinction to their marketing.

The panel was asked questions such as:

  • “What does protection mean in your field?”
  • “What happens when there is a failure of protection?”
  • “What are the emotions involved? The consequences?”
  • “How do you act to prevent future breakdowns?”

The results? Fresh perspectives on providing control, comfort, and confidence to consumers in the most vulnerable situations – that can be TWISTED into marketing that breaks through.

What experts would you invite to your What’s My TWIST? panel and what related, but distinct categories should your brand be learning from? Learn about more TWISTING techniques in TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands.

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A TWIST On Graduation Gifts

It’s graduation season! That means that some will be sending off their children to college, some will be going to college, and the rest of us will just be watching. Either way, we all know someone who is taking that next big step to becoming an adult. Now more than ever it’s important to set them up for success on this path because they are the future. Invest in the future today with these graduation gift ideas sure to add a TWIST to the lives of this upcoming freshman class!

Avoid the Freshman 15

Graduation Gift Ideas - Flavor Fusion WaerIt is a reality that plagues thousands nationwide annually, and I mean it is just that, a reality. Statistics, as well as testimonials from suffering college freshman, have shown that the stress induced by their first year in college leads to students packing on pounds, fifteen on average. Though fifteen pounds does sound quite drastic, it is a very real figure and one that every freshman should try to avoid. To help them in doing so, gift them the Flavor Fusion Water Bottle, a water bottle that infuses fruits and vegetables into your water; granting it the sweetness of juice, but neglecting the harmful sugars found in juices known to lead to fat gain. This bottle is sure to help lead a healthier lifestyle and certainly puts a twist on the traditional water bottle!

Get it here.

 Change the way you charge

Graduation Gift Idea - iPhone Charge PackThese days it seems like no one can put down their cell phones, and though our freshman will experience a change of scenery, this likely will not change. Some see this as a problem, others take no issue with it, but if you truly want your college freshman to love their gift, enable this problem. This can be done with the Mophie Juice Pack Air for the iPhone. This chargeable case comes with many features, and at its peak, it can provide you with 27 hours of battery life, so on the go, whether it be an internship or a boring lecture, you’re good to go. Not only that, it also serves its function as a case well, providing level two high impact protection for your iPhone.

Get it here.

Running shoes with a TWIST!

Grad gift ideas - adidas Running shoesCollege students tend to care about two things, style, and comfort. The Adidas Ultra Boost fulfills this, but is also a world-class performance shoe, and can work for any student who needs to go for a run to alleviate college stress. The patented boost technology is said to be the most comfortable option on the market, and the elegant look of the show turns fashionista heads everywhere.

 Get them here

Marketing 101

TWIST Book Cover - graduation gift ideasOf the upcoming freshman class, there are thousands of entrepreneurs, future C.E.O’s, and aspiring businessmen and women who will have to truly master the craft to ensure success in the future. This means an understanding at all levels, not solely focusing on one aspect like management, but also knowing a bit about marketing as well. After all, effective marketing is why you have an iPhone, or why you gravitate towards the Mac computer before a Dell, it’s not merely a matter of preference. Sure your freshman’s marketing courses will show them a lot, but it’s traditional, outdated, and just like any marketing course anywhere else. None of it will stand out. If you truly want success for them, get them this book.

Get it here.

Take a little study break

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 9.49.30 AMOftentimes studying can be a bore. Ok, I lied, studying is a bore. It’s something we only do because we have to. However, it can be fun, and over at ThinkGeek they’ve found a way to do just that. With these table tennis notebooks, not only can you store all of your notes, but you can also turn study breaks into ping pong tournaments. This set provides everything but a cool study partner to play with, so go ahead, add a TWIST to your next study session!

Get it here.

About the Author:

BrandTwist Intern - Graduation Guest PostEnrique Garcia is working as an intern at BrandTwist for this month. He is a high school senior from Dobbs Ferry, New York and will be graduating in June. In the fall Enrique will be attending the business school at Manhattan College, concentrating in both finance and marketing. 

Interested in guest blogging for BrandTwist? Contact jamie@brandtwist.com.

Small Business TWISTS – Rey Insurance Agency

Brand School Alumni, Linda Rey, has a family-owned insurance agency that celebrates its roots in the community. This includes a unique TWIST of sending out email advisories during bad weather with very localized updates on specific road closings and streets to avoid. This is something the larger companies could never do. And Linda’s customers are grateful. It’s one thing for an insurance agency to talk about its auto insurance policies, it’s another for it to actually keep you safe on the road.

Before Brand School it had been about 15 years since Rey Insurance had updated the brand. And as Linda put it, “we never really went through the process of what a business does for branding purposes. We didn’t have a strategy for how we wanted to look. Brand School afforded us the opportunity to explore how that might work for us without breaking the bank!”

Rey Insurance - Before and After Branding

One lesson from Brand School that helped Linda was to think about storytelling. Approaching their brand with that objective allowed them to be more human and step away from “textbook language about insurance”. Linda shares one of the ways they’ve implemented the TWIST, “BEING FUN in our DESIGN by presenting ideas and concepts about insurance that bring attention to considering the possibility vs. avoiding the consequences.”

Rey Insurance New Website Logo Update Rebrand

Linda transitioned her brand from a traditional family-owned insurance promise to a more modern “We help you GET insurance” brand idea. When she did this, she realized that her red and blue logo developed in 2000 blended in too much with her competitors and undermined her company’s TWIST of approachability.

She kept the core element of the shape but updated it with vibrant colors, which were inspired by her favorite organic grocer. When she walked into this grocery store, the fruits and vegetables were so inviting and colorful that she wanted to pick them up and put them in her basket. She loved the new logo so much she added bright throw pillows that adorn the reception area of the agency. This splash of color is distinctive for her category and really underscores her brand’s intention to be friendlier, more welcoming and more down-to-earth than traditional insurance agencies.

Before an After Rey Brand Logos

Investing the time in finding the TWIST and following that up with action, made a big impact on Rey Insurance. The key there is doing the work. It can feel overwhelming to implement, but that’s where the support of Brand School can really help. Linda says it best, “(Brand School) was such a great experience for me. Though, after delving in, doing the work is hard. There is resistance, but having access to Julie with the one-on-one meetings helped to move the needle so we can continue in breaking through with a more creative flair to our brand. I’m so grateful I went through it.”

Brand School by Brand Twist  Branding Course for your Small Business

Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, delivers the tools and steps you need to strengthen your brand and your business’ connection to your market. Get our free brand-building tips and receive immediate updates about Brand School’s exclusive programs when you sign up for our newsletter at BrandSchoolOnline.com.

How to Twist Outside the Box This Father’s Day

Everyone understands the annual struggle of finding the perfect gift for dad on Father’s day. No matter what kind of person your dad is, finding a gift that’s thoughtful and that he might actually use is always tricky. It’s easy to find yourself slipping into the traditional last minute habit of buying him yet another tie, but this year, try stepping up your Father’s Day gift game by taking a generic gift idea and adding a TWIST that is sure to secure your spot as the favorite child.

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For the runner: 2015-2016 has certainly been the year for workout technology. New gadgets promising a better workout have flooded the market, but what makes one fancy pedometer better than another? A good twist to give your father is the Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS Running Watch. The twist for this watch is that it, unlike some of the big name fitness monitors, is built specifically for runners and not only records your progress every run, but gives you advice on what more you are capable of doing in the future to help you continue to improve.

 

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For the handy-man: A crafty guy who loves DIY projects needs way more than just your basic hammer and nails to really be able to build something special. But a complete tool box can be very expensive. A great twist on this classic gift for a do-it-yourself dad would be the Dremel Oscillating Tool Kit. This single tool has over 30 different functions your father can try out on his next project without taking up too much space.

 

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For the foodie: Instead of getting your food-loving dad some more pots and pans, spend a Saturday with him at the Smorgasburg Food Festival in Brooklyn! The vendors at this outdoor festival specialize in twisting classic foods into new, unique creations such as the ramen burger (which features ramen noodles as the buns for a classic burger) or a hotdog from Asia dog (a hot dog with asian inspired toppings such as Japanese curry or asian sesame slaw.) All of these vendors twisting their food will be sure to wow and inspire your father, plus he will get to spend the day with you!

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 3.40.42 PMFor the outdoorsman: For activities like camping, conserving space and versatility are key functions when deciding what to bring on the trail. Rather than just getting your dad some more fishing line, try the Alex water bottle. The twist for this bottle is that it, literally, twists open and turns into a bowl that you can eat out. The bottle opening also helps make cleaning it easy. This gift is something your father can bring along and use anywhere without weighing down his backpack.

 

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For the entrepreneur: If your father has his own business, help give his brand a boost this father’s day by giving him TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, The book is sure to help your dad learn the in’s and out’s of twisting himself and gain tools to make his personal brand even better. He’ll learn how to take off his “brand blinders” and look outside his category to make his business stand out and thrive in this competitive market, which will certainly help make this father’s day memorable for him.

 

About the Author:

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Kate Gouran is working as an intern at BrandTwist for this month. She is a high school senior from Hastings-on-Hudson and will be graduating from Hastings high school in June. She is very excited to be attending Tulane University in the fall and she plans on double majoring in marketing and musical theater.

 

 

Interested in guest blogging for BrandTwist? Contact jamie@brandtwist.com.

Just Twist Now – Quick Twist Video #6

 

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Julie Cottineau, BrandTwist and Brand School founder, and author of TWIST, shares the important lessons she learned as the VP of Brand for Virgin and the value of Richard Branson’s “Let’s do it!” approach.

More Quick Twist Video tips here.

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TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands by Brand School founder Julie Cottineau.

“This book is a gift to small business owners, packed with information and strategies for potent branding, and full of obvious experience, wisdom and from-the-ground knowledge.” - Sarah Hinawi, executive director, Purpl Center for Learning and Social Innovation

Live Your Twist – Quick Twist Video #5

 

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Create fresh ideas for your business by TWISTING your brand with a successful out-of-category brand. Julie Cottineau, BrandTwist and Brand School founder, author of TWIST and former VP of Brand at Virgin shares her proven approach for creating inspired and actionable ideas.

More Quick Twist Video tips here.

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TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands by Brand School founder Julie Cottineau.

“This bold book encourages entrepreneurs and brand owners across all types of businesses to think outside the limits of their category and take risks, and gives them the tools to make them stand out from their competitors.” - Laura Winston, attorney, Kim Winston LLP

 

The Virgin Twist – Quick Twist Video #4

 

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How did Richard Branson create loyal brand fans for his Virgin Airlines? Imagine a disco with wings. Julie Cottineau, BrandTwist and Brand School founder, author of TWIST and former VP of Brand at Virgin, highlights the importance of lateral thinking.

More Quick Twist Video tips here.

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TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands by Brand School founder Julie Cottineau.

“Julie’s rich experience as the vice president of brand for Virgin has been brought to life in TWIST – a wakeup call and a road map for building brands that break through and get noticed.” - Raul Leal, CEO Virgin Hotels

Celebrate the Modern Dad with a TWIST

The modern dad is different than the stereotypical dad of times past. The new age father ditches the stern authority figure and involves himself in his family. From cooking meals and taking care of the children, to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and furthering his own independence, the modern dad changes the entire playing field. Here are some great Father’s Day gift ideas to show dad your appreciation with a modern TWIST.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.42.43 AMErgobaby

Dads nowadays want to involve themselves more in child raising. Ergobaby promotes different types of baby carriers that are easily adjustable to dads that often have taller and wider frames. Thanks to this brand, the new dad can bond and get a closer relationship with his newborn!

 

 

18eef4662e87f396bf0d6e045529e2aeSecond Wind Eco Tours

The family oriented dad will love family outings that bring the members closer than before. With activities offered from this organization, such as kayak tours on the White Oak River, Jones Island, and Bear Island, you will be guaranteed to treat dad to a fun event that brings the family closer together.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.52.35 AMThinkGeek.com

From goofy knick knacks – like action figures from dad’s favorite show – to electronic gadgets such as the 3-D printing pen, the hip and tech-savvy dad will definitely enjoy anything this online shop has to offer.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.55.20 AMWeston Single Burger Press

These top notch kitchen supplies, for instance the nonstick burger press, will be sure to appeal to the inner chef of every modern dad and will have him in the kitchen experimenting with ways to make the best Sunday dinner ever.

 

 

purpl2Purpl

Surprise dad with a new office! Hot desks offered by co-working spaces like this one in Westchester will help dad become more independent with his work and allow the modern father to work closer to home so he can be sure to make it to his kid’s afternoon soccer games.

 

 

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Brand School Online

Got a dad who is an entrepreneur? Gift him the gift of pursuing his dreams – encourage him to sign up for a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session at BrandSchoolOnline.com

 

 

 

 About guest blogger Collin Wisniewski:

bt collinCollin Wisniewski is a BrandTwist intern and is currently a senior graduating from Dobbs Ferry High School. He plans on attending SUNY Fredonia this coming fall to study business in the music industry. For future job opportunities, Collin can be reached at collin.wisniewski@gmail.com.

Five Brand-Marvelous Ideas for Mother’s Day

It can be challenging to come up with a gift idea that is thoughtful, meaningful, fun and unique for mom on Mother’s Day. We’re here to help! Check out these brands we love, and that mom will love receiving.

Box up a bundle of goodies with a Birchbox - It’s difficult for active mothers to get into stores to sample new products. So why not make it easier for her and bring those samples directly to mom’s door? Birchbox does just that. Birchbox bundles several samples of cosmetics, skin care items, bath, beauty and lifestyle products all into a beautiful Birchbox and delivers it directly to mom’s doorstep. (and they have a line for men too… Father’s Day is right around the corner! Check out the men’s Birchbox in our Father’s Day post ) Read more about what we feel drives the success of the Birchbox brand here.

 

Hire a rabbit to take on a task with Taskrabbit – A mom’s life is busy, busy, and… did we say busy? There’s always some task that she doesn’t have time to complete. She would really appreciate a helping hand. TaskRabbit is all about getting the job done.  This company has experts in just about every field who are ready to take on mom’s request, and as their tagline promises, to help mom go “From To-Do, to Done.” Interested in how Taskrabbit built a succesful brand? Read more here.

 

Ch-ch-ch-changes through chocolate! Chocolate is always a welcomed gift, but when it’s fun, meaningful and connects you to the world, it’s even better.  Each sweetriot chocolate candy purchase supports sustainable cocoa farming, native and local farmers, and the emerging artists community by featuring works that embrace sweetriot’s culture on the candy wrappers. A sweetriot gift purchase does more than simply satisfying mom’s chocolate craving. Want to know more about the secret to sweetriot’s sweet branding success? Read about it here.

 

Take mom on a fabulous get-away –  Treat mom to a fabulous weekend away full of local flavor by celebrating at a unique hotel. Discover a new city together – and build memories that will last a long time. The  Provenance Hotels are a great boutique collection that offer wonderful decor and  authentic local touches in some very cool US cities. How can your brand cash in on the trend to hyper local? Read more here.

 

Support mom in growing her business. Is your mother an entrepreneur, small business owner, artist, performer, or freelance contractor? Here’s a way to help her take her business and brand to the top! Brand School is our highly effective, premier branding program that will give her the tools and insight she needs to grow a stronger personal, career or business brand. To get more information about the next session and a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session, please click HERE.

Build Your Business – Exclusive Offers for BrandTwist Friends!

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We are happy to share with you BrandTwist guest blog posts from innovative entrepreneurs and business owners that graciously share their business-building tips and takeaways AND have generously made exclusive offers available to Friends of BrandTwist. These articles, products and discounts are designed to help your business spring into action now that the warmer weather is (nearly) here.

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Solving a personal problem can lead to powerful innovation. Tired of winter snow and slush ruining your boots?  Cassandra Droogan, Founder & President, PYSIS Inc took her inspiration from her father’s galoshes and created an exciting new product with a TWIST. Read her guest post HERE - it might inspire you to pursue that idea you’ve been musing about. And make sure you see her special April offer for BrandTwist readers – you and your shoes will be ready for April showers.

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Finding the balance between your business’ visual and verbal communication is essential to presenting a solid brand identity and building consumer comfort and loyalty.  But how do you know which “tone” defines your type of business? You’ll find all the answers in this free webcast replay from BrandTwist Founder & CEO Julie Cottineau and Rebecca Swift, Head of Creative Planning at iStock: “The Ying and Yang of Powerful Brand Stories,” all about visual and verbal branding. PLUS receive 10% discount on any of IStock credit packs for friends of BrandTwist. checkout. Promo expires March 31, 2014.  Webcast replay and promo code HERE.

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Did you know that when people Google your name, LinkedIn is one of the highest ranked sites? Do you want to know you how you can get more for your business out of one of the largest job searching and business networking, marketing and branding sites in the world? In this series on Linkedin, guest blogger, Leslie Hughes, Principal of PUNCH!media, Professor of Social Media and corporate trainer, shares her insider tips. Catch Leslie’s Linkedin tips and info. about her SPECIAL OFFER for Friends of BrandTwist HERE.

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How do you distinguish your brand and its products and services in a competitive market? One way is to develop a “video brand bumper” that accompanies your every presentation, video, or workshop.  Read Dr. Marina Kostina’s, co-founder of Bookphoria, guest post HERE. In it, she shares with you more about what a video brand bumper is, why every author, speaker and expert needs one, and a 3-step process to develop an effective bumper for your brand – and take advantage of their offer for a free consultation.

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BrandTwist ‘s Julie Cottineau had the good fortune of working at Virgin as VP of Brand for North America for five years and during this time she gained invaluable insight into best practices in branding, marketing, and corporate culture. Whether you are a corporate CEO or a recent grad just starting out your career, these tips are designed to help you learn from one of the best-loved brands on the planet, and one of its most successful entrepreneurs. Each tip contains valuable lessons from Virgin and food-for-thought for your own business. Receive our “Brand Like a Billionaire: 5 Tips I learned from Richard Branson” when you join for our email list HERE.

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Looking forward to summer? As you plan your fun in the sun, make sure to make some plans for your Brand too. Take advantage of the longer days of summer to re-energize your business with Brand School Summer Session.

This is a streamlined version of Brand School Master Class where you get the best of the Master Class core principles in less time so you can hit the ground running in the fall for better business results. Attract more profitable and loyal customers, tighten your brand story, create a more professional and distinctive brand… and more!  Enrolling now. Find out how to grab your seat HERE.

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