Get Out From Behind Your Desk – Go Experience Brands

Are you experiencing the world through your computer or phone screen?  As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you need to hit the streets, experience the brandscape through the eyes of your customers – to truly know how to meet their needs and offer something of value that will break through the competitive clutter and get noticed.

This is why BrandTwist Safaris are so valuable because they take us out of our every day and put us in the center of experiences where we learn important lessons about branding which are then applied directly through Interactive, hands-on exercises to TWIST that inspiration and create actionable innovative brand ideas for new products or services.

BrandTwist Safaris have been applied successfully for companies like Virgin and Spotify in iconic neighborhoods including Times Square, SoHo and Rockefeller Center. The good news is they can happen anywhere.

Microsoft Experience BrandTwist Brand Safari Experience

Can you build your brand by hanging out in a lego store?

Big brands, like Microsoft, are building flagship stores all over the world to change how their customers engage with their brand. Allowing customers to experience a brand by touching and feeling, or even playing with the brand.

For the next 5 weeks, we’re going to talk about how you can go on your own Brand Safari, and what to look for. Even better, this series is leading up to a Brand Safari in NYC at the Flagship Microsoft Experience Store – that 30 lucky applicants will be able to attend.

You don’t need to be in Manhattan to do a BrandTwist Safari, you don’t even need to be in a large city. The most important thing is to pick locations/experiences to visit that are 1) away from your category – to maximize the freshness of the ideas and 2) are locations that connect deeply with their targets. Don’t forget, the value is about getting out of your everyday and away from your own business.

If you are not sure where you would go on a BrandTwist Safari ask yourself these question:

  1. What are the brand experiences that really engage people?
  2. What’s hot and why?
  3. What’s a best-kept local secret?
  4. Where do all the teens love to go?
  5. Where do the tourists go in your town or city?
  6. Where does the customer service rock?

No matter where you go, the trick to getting the most out of your Brand Safari is to observe and record what is going on around you – bring a notebook or a clipboard with paper, take photographs, buy something from the store or location and see what the purchase experience is like and the packaging. Do they give you your purchase in a plain paper or plastic bag – or does the brand use the packaging as a walking billboard – like the Build-a-Bear Cardboard bear homes?

Dig into the details, that’s where the best insights are and write everything down. You never know what could inspire your own TWIST later.

Stay tuned for our next post, we’re going to dig in on some specific details around where to go and how to TWIST those valuable insights with your own business.

TWIST Book Julie Cottineau

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.

BrandTwist’s Julie Cottineau on HispanicMPR.com

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In this interview for the Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations website host Elena del Valle discusses how you can TWIST to build a power brand with BrandTwist & BrandSchoolOnline.com Founder and Best Selling Author of TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build breakthrough Brands, Julie Cottineau. 

You’ll learn how to look for TWISTS that bring customers deeper into the experience of your brand and inspire them to share and help keep your product, service or business on the social radar.

Click HERE to listen.

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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.

Heels with an Adaptable TWIST

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Transitioning from daytime casual to nighttime dress often means carting around a second pair of shoes or leaving and extra pair at the office or in the car… it’s cumbersome and inconvenient. What we need is a footwear TWIST that liberates our choices… and that’s exactly what French shoe designer Tanya Heath has done. They’ve TWISTED to create one shoe with interchangeable heel options, giving the wearer control and the freedom of choice.

They provide one pair of shoes, with multiple, snap-on, heel height options. The shoes and heels are sold separately-and the extra heels fit handily into a handbag. A huge plus for end of the night moments, when you are tired and want to slip into a more comfortable heel.

Tanya Heath literally walked a mile in their target market’s shoes. They weren’t afraid to TWIST outside the (shoe) box and de-construct the traditional product experience to come up with a more user-friendly option.

Sometimes the parts are greater than the whole. Is there something you could de-construct to come up with an innovative solution that makes life easier for your market?

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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.

Home Grown Cocktails with a TWIST

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Enjoying a cocktail is nothing new. Neither is having an herb garden. But TWIST them together and you get Grow Cocktails, an innovative addition to a do-it-yourselfer’s happy hour.

Grow Cocktails offers a complete herb garden growing kit – that comes in an egg carton. The clever (and eco-friendly) packaging makes this product really stand out.

The sassy messages, “Grow happiness in small spaces” and “Relax. Enjoy. Be Happy” reinforce their brand promise of delivering an easy-going and fun experience from sowing the seeds to sipping the cocktails. They also have Grow Pizza, Grow Salsa and Foodie Garden in a box if you want a snack to go-with.

What two experiences can you TWIST together to surprise and delight your customer?

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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.

Elder Care with a TWIST

GRANNYPODFamilies with elderly relatives who need constant caregiving have few options when it comes to long-term housing. Assisted living and nursing homes can be expensive and many older adults want to maintain some independence and stay close to their families. Enter N2Care’s innovative TWIST to address a growing need, the MEDCottage, a.k.a: “The Granny Pod”.

The MedCottage TWISTS an RV mobile home with a hospital room.
“Our products offer families the ability to directly participate in the recovery, rehabilitation and extended care of the people they love.”
These are mobile, modular dwellings that can be temporarily placed on a caregiver’s property. There are three designs to select from. One is designed to fit into an
existing garage. Another is designed on an RV platform and the third comes as a kit you or a contractor assembles. Each is handicapped accessible, comes equipped with safety rails, first aid kit, defbrillator machine, lighted floorboards, floor sensors, a computer virtual companion, and video cameras that alert the family if something goes wrong.

AARP says 25 million Americans need to take care of their elderly parents. N2Care recognized the growing need of this target population and created a win/win concept that allows great care and more independence for older Americans.

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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.

Opera With A More Approachable TWIST

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Opera is an elite art form, with high ticket prices only available to a select few. Right? Wrong!

The Metropolitan Opera continues its 10-year tradition with a TWIST of live transmission of season openers on multiple screens in Times Square.

Last year viewers were treated to Verdi’s Otello. This year it was Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, which will also be screened in 100 movie theaters around the world – offering yet another, more affordable way for the brand to broaden its reach.

This might seem like a bad idea of “giving away” content, when it could be purchased at higher prices. But it’s actually a smart strategy of reaching out to new users who might be unfamiliar with opera and intimidated by an unfamiliar experience in the ritzy Metropolitan Operah House.  Plus it creates good will and great publicity.

What products or services could your business offer with the TWIST of being free or available in unexpected venues to widen your reach?

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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.

Twist to Help Causes Succeed

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Non-profits face unique challenges in reaching their auciences. Julie Cottineau, BrandTwist Founder & CEO, Founder of BrandSchoolOnline.com and author of TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, chatted with Joe Waters, host of  CauseTalk Radio about how to find the TWIST that will make you stand out and make a bigger difference. You can listen to the interview on his Selfish Giving website, HERE.

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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.

Branding Twists from Julie Cottineau on KGO Radio with DreX

julie-on-kgoJulie Cottineau, BrandTwist and BrandSchoolOnline.com founder, former VP of Brand for Virgin and author of “TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands”, on KGO 810 Radio, San Fransisco with DreX, talking branding and business-building tips and takeaways for the business owner, non-profit and entrepreneur.

LISTEN to the entire interview:

WATCH  VIDEO SEGMENTS of the Interview:

Segment #1 – How Julie started TWISTING. The Pokemon trend, augmented reality and how you can make it work for your business. How branding is invaluable for small businesses.


Segment #2 – Personal branding, icons, lessons learned from the campaign and brands of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, how brand touch points work, how to find inspiration even if you’re just a numbers person, how failure can help you.

Segment #3 – Branding tips for women, perfectionism, working effectively with a team, personal branding as it relates to your business, using twists to help your business stand out, and help you make better business decisions, finding inspiration from other brands.

Segment #4 – Looking beyond what a product is to what it offers, reflections on the San Francisco brand, focusing on specific characteristics of your customer, customer service to differentiate your brand, social media marketing, how narrowing your marketing/branding focus will expand your reach, stay away from “me too” marketing.

 

Twist angle white

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.