Performance Wear with a Laid Back TWIST

outdoor-voices

Everyone knows how important exercising is to living a healthy lifestyle- but honestly many of us would rather sit on the couch with a pint of double fudge chocolate than train for a marathon- we feel defeated if we don’t confirm to the “ultimate athlete” image of many fitness brands.

Outdoor Voices is disrupting the fitness industry by literally “freeing fitness from performance.” The technical apparel brand creates stylish and flattering active-wear for everyone. Outdoor Voices believes in “doing things”, whether it’s going for a jog, riding a bike, or walking your dog. The brand engages consumers and allows them to write their own definition of fitness.

It all stems from the brands founder, Tyler Haney, who was recently featured in Forbes “30 under 30.” The 28-year-old powerhouse attended Parsons School of Design, and by TWISTING her love of staying active and simply “doing things,” she was able to build a truly iconic brand in just three years. Her TWIST allows Outdoor Voices to stand out amongst giants like Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas, who instill a typical “go hard” and “beast mode” mentality.

Tyler told Fashionista “We talk a lot about OV being the hiking buddy that brought the snacks.” Her spot-on perspective of the industry, and her undeniable passion drives Outdoor Voices to dominant success.

Headquartered in New York and Austin, Outdoor Voices brought in over 22.5 million in venture capital, and the community continues to explode across the nation. The future is looking extremely bright for this brand with a TWIST.

Is your brand pushing a traditional viewpoint or lightening up and letting consumers define their own ideal benefit? Think outside the box and TWIST to break away from competition.

david scherzer

David Scherzer is a 24 year old marketer and copywriter, who puts a narrow focus on storytelling. He obtained a bachelors degree in media studies at CUNY Queens College, and continues to exercise his marketing-muscle and work with some of the industries greats. Not to mention, he’s a massive soccer fan. Chat with him at davidascherzer@gmail.com. Or connect on LinkedIn.

 

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.

Twisting Personal Branding: Tone, Twitter and Trouble

adeleThough your business’s semblance is essential to your success, don’t forget to pay attention to how you present yourself. Your personal brand shows the public who you are as a company, as well as a person. What’s your TWIST? Are you bubbly and lighthearted? Are you serious and driven? Do you want to appear approachable? These are questions you may want to ask yourself before entering the public eye.

Many businesses have a distinctive presence when it comes to their brand, so much so that it feels more like a personal brand. A prime example is the British juice and smoothie company, Innocent Drinks. As the name implies, this brand maintains an innocent, almost comical appearance on its social media platforms. Innocent Drinks wrote on Twitter, “Scientists * say buying our smoothies for half price…makes you 67% more attractive.” The company then followed up with, “ * Scientists may be imaginary.” With both messages, Innocent Drinks reiterates its twist – its humorous tone – displaying a consistent personal brand. Many consumers, especially the younger demographic, have applauded this personal branding, leading to a strong social media fan base. Because of its successful personal branding, Innocent Drinks makes sure the public remembers its products, as well as the company as a whole.

innocent

Personal branding is just as important, if not more important, for individuals as it is for businesses. Celebrities have a large presence on social media, especially on Twitter. The Twitter platform permits celebrities to quickly  communicate directly with their fans. This is why celebrities often flock to Twitter when problems arise that they want to address in a timely fashion.

Not all business ventures will go off without a hitch and nobody is perfect, not even celebrities. The manner in which you respond to errors and setbacks is crucial to how you and your business, are viewed. When things go wrong in a celebrity’s career, they often follow one of two paths to address it: laugh it off or become utterly serious. The path they choose reflects on both their personal and business brand.

Besides her beautiful voice, Grammy award-winning artist Adele is known for her humor which has become a defining personal brand twist. She is also known for not caring what others, like the media, think about her choices and her lifestyle. This is Adele’s personal brand, and it works for her. When parts of her performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards seemed uncharacteristically out of tune, Adele took to the social media platform to explain the story behind the problem. She tweeted, “The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune. Shit happens…” She then followed with, “Because of it though… I’m treating myself to an In-N-Out. So maybe it was worth it.” Adele was consistent with expressing her humorous and relaxed personality when her performance did not go as planned. Her personal brand stayed intact, and her fans appreciated it.

adele 1

adele 2

But not all celebrities will remain calm, cool, and collected when they run into obstacles – and this can have an impact on their personal brand. Laura Benanti is a Tony Award-winner for her portrayal of Louise in Gypsy and a five-time Tony nominee. Like Adele, Benanti is known for her humor, especially in her frequent tweets. But Benanti’s personal brand veered from funny to ferocious when her husband encountered a seating mix up on a flight.

laura benanti 1

Laura benanti 2

She called out United Airlines, tweeting, “Hey United, the garbage can of the skies, if you book an aisle seat across the country you should get that seat. Not the MIDDLE,” to which United Airlines responded, “Hey, Laura. We know seat changes can be a drag. DM us your confirmation number if you’d like assistance.” After Benanti attacked the airline again (later deleting her tweet), United Airlines answered, “We know this is frustrating, however we do state in our Contract of Carriage that seat assignments are never guaranteed.”

Benanti’s personal brand shifted drastically when everything did not go as planned revealing a brand-inconsistent demeanor.  To her, United Airlines was the villain. In the public’s eyes, Benanti became the villain. The sudden change in her personal brand away from humor made her appear unapproachable.

Clearly, finding your personal brand twist is important. The tone you set for yourself and your company shows the public who you are, what you stand for, and how you stand out. When things go wrong, stay consistent with your brand’s tone and handle the situation in keeping with your brand.

About the author:

justin

Justin Cohen is a rising senior at Dobbs Ferry High School. An International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, Justin hopes to pursue a career in advertising. He is happy to be a part of the BrandTwist team!  You can reach Justin on Twitter at @justcohen18 and via email at justcohen18@gmail.com.

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.

Pokemon GO: Gaming With a TWIST

Next time you see a group of teenagers glued to their phones in public, do not assume they are on Instagram or Snapchat. Rather, they traveled to this specific location to replenish their supply of Pokeballs at what is called a Pokestop. That’s right. They are engulfed in the world of Pokemon GO, the smartphone application with a TWIST that is sweeping the nation.

As a rising high school senior, I have many friends who have been involved in the Pokemon franchise as long as I can remember. They would wait on the long lines at Gamestop and Best Buy for the release of each Pokemon installment. However, the game has never garnered my interest until now, with Niantic’s release of Pokemon GO.

In Pokemon games, you are thrown into a new world where wild creatures, named Pokemon, run free with special powers. A professor, an avid Pokemon researcher, asks you to catch different kinds of Pokemon and bring them back to him for his nonstop research. All the way, you battle other Pokemon “trainers” and level up.

Pokemon GO has a new TWIST: it incorporates the concept of augmented reality. The world we live in is merged with the Pokemon world, enhancing the reality we see day to day. This is quite different from virtual reality, where you are fully immersed in a new environment. While virtual reality simulates your physical presence in a new atmosphere and synthetically creates a sensory experience, augmented reality simply brings artificial aspects into the world we live in. Never has an augmented reality experience been so accessible before the release of Pokemon GO.

Pokemon GO’s other TWIST is its use of physical activity. In order to successfully play the game, you must be active. The app forces you to walk to new locations to make Pokemon appear, battle other players, and replenish your training supplies. In some cases, you must walk a certain distance, often between 2 and 5 kilometers, to activate certain aspects of the game.

Unfortunately, your supply of Pokeballs is limited. It is a devastating feeling to be without these red and white spheres, as they are essential for gameplay. The Niantic team found a way to incorporate physical activity with the replenishing of Pokeballs with the creation of Pokestops. These locations, usually found at landmarks, allow you to replenish your Pokemon tools every five minutes. You must be at this location for the Pokestop to be activated. Your local church, park, or memorial just may be a Pokestop! The concept of Pokestops works great for city dwellers, where there are multiple Pokestops on every block. Pokestops are much more scarce in rural areas, where players must travel half an hour to encounter one of these necessary locations.

Once you have enough higher-level Pokemon, you can go to locations with Pokemon gyms. These locations, also found at local landmarks, enable you to battle other players. Each Pokemon you catch is equipped with different attack  s and health levels. The higher your Pokemon’s combat power, the better equipped it is for battles. If you are successful in beating the players in the gym, you then take over that gym, leading to many rewards. If you are unsuccessful, your Pokemon loses health. If it tragically loses all of its health points, it must be revived. You can do this by gaining revive tools at your local Pokestop.

Many workers at notable locations, where Pokestops and gyms are located, are in favor of Pokemon GO. Philadelphia park rangers welcome the game, as it draws a younger crowd to the city’s landmarks. The rangers hope that, once players arrive, they will look up from their smartphones and take in their surroundings. In contrast, other famous locations, like the Arlington National Cemetery and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, have different policies. These national treasures have asked Pokemon GO players to turn the game, and their phones, off out of respect.

Pokemon GO is revolutionary, and it is exerting a clear influence on teenagers, as well as twenty-somethings who have followed Pokemon since its initial release in 1996. Its TWISTS, augmented reality and physical activity, make the game unlike any application on the market today. If your children have not downloaded Pokemon GO yet, it is only a matter of time before the game takes over their lives.

How exactly does the game work? Essentially, when you open the app, your smartphone’s screen becomes a map of your surroundings, showing you streets, bodies of water, and more. When moving, different Pokemon creatures will often appear in your path. Once you click on the Pokemon you wish to capture, your smartphone’s camera is activated. The Pokemon is right in front of you! Swipe the Pokeball at the bottom of your screen to toss it at the Pokemon. With proper aim, the Pokeball will engulf the creature, adding it to your inventory.

Some Pokemon are rarer than others, making them harder to catch once found. The female Nidoran in the image to the right has a measly combat power of 10, making it a very common Pokemon that is easy to catch. Meanwhile, there are Pokemon with combat powers that exceed 1000.  It is rumored that the more notable your location, the more notable the Pokemon you will encounter. You are more likely to find a rare Pikachu at the Eiffel Tower than you will in a rural Idaho potato farm. The rarest Pokemon that I have caught (so far) is a Venomoth with a combat power of 290 – not too shabby for a novice Pokemon player.

Think about ways you can TWIST to involve your customer more. There are easy-to-build app programs, loyalty apps, even the classic Bingo card or a “Find the star” on a receipt could make a more lasting impression on your market.

 About the author:

justin

Justin Cohen is a rising senior at Dobbs Ferry High School. An International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, Justin hopes to pursue a career in advertising. He is happy to be a part of the BrandTwist team!  You can reach Justin on Twitter at @justcohen18 and via email at justcohen18@gmail.com.

 

 

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.

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.

father watch

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.

 

father drill

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.

 

father foodie

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.

 

Twist angle white

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:

unnamed

 

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.

A Fashionable TWIST on Granny Glasses

blinks

I am always on the look out for that really great fashion statement piece, so I was quick to notice my BFF wearing a beautiful pendant necklace. That’s when she really impressed me by flipping her necklace open to reveal that it multi-tasked as a pair of chic reading glasses. This struck me as a brilliant TWIST. For the woman who is embarrassed to pull a pair of readers out of her designer handbag just to read a the menu in a hip restaurant –  Blinks are a great solution. Their tagline is “We make needing reading glasses a fashion statement.” No granny glasses here!

Blinks co-founders, sisters Stephannie Keller and Heidi Valenti, really understand a key pain point of their target customer, the fashion conscious middle-aged woman. They fittingly named their company Girl Powered Inc. Blinks really scores a home run with this stylish solution and was even featured in the 2012 Academy Awards swag gift bag.

As a Brand School graduate, I really love Brand School’s A+++ practice of TWISTING.  To successfully leverage lessons from brands that you admire you need to: 1) Become Aware of innovative brands, 2) Analyze what’s working and catching your attention and 3) Apply this to your own brand challenges.

This got me thinking about how I could incorporate a similar TWIST into my own brand, MissionBoost consulting. Everyone knows that social media is necessary tool to give your business a leg up. However, some of my clients are insecure about posting on social channels, as they do not want to come off as Granny with her first-time Facebook post. By incorporating my client’s individual voice and sense of style and using tools like Canva and Pablo, I help her create posts that are formatted with great fonts and beautiful images to make her and her businesses shine.

How can you use your favorite brand TWIST to inspire innovations that connect to your core customer and grow your business?

Brand School gives you the tools to innovate and deliver more of what your ideal customers really crave. See what Brand School’s team of experts can do for you and see if you qualify for a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session HERE.

bt-health-check-2

 

 

 

“Brand School was helped us set structure to our process, define our target and recognize our customer’s motivations. We were able to create timely taglines and better define our branding campaigns.” - Randi Curhan, Development Coordinator for Redwood High School Foundation, Non-profit

About the author:

Randi-SA

Randi Curhan is founder of MissionBoostConsulting.com, specializing in helping you figure out what you really need to do to bring your business to the next level, get projects off the plate, and get it done. Randi grew up 3rd of four kids, sandwiched between two gifted, mathlete brothers. Randi realized at a young age (when her preschooler brother shouted out the answers to her homework problems before she finished reading them) that she had to work a little harder to get where she wanted to be. That did not intimidate this girl who thrived on the challenge. It’s how she got into an ivy league school where she excelled among the Wharton pocket protector set, nailed the dream job at Goldman and got a spot in an amazing MBA program. Randi’s love of figuring sh** out and getting it done has always made her a valuable part of teams throughout her academic and professional life. Even while taking time “off” to raise her children, Randi was the one to set up fundraising systems, databases, email invitations and graphics for events. Consistently boosting and supporting people around her, always excited to learn the latest trends and tools and to put them into action, has earned Randi her status as “Legend” in ability to help others the job done.

You can reach Randi via MissionBoostConsulting.com, on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

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

Twist Your Clutter Into Cash

wallapop 

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, or maybe in this case – a thousand dollars?  Founded by Agustin Gomez in 2013, Wallapop is revitalizing the idea that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure by creating a 24-hour, 7-day a week garage sale without the hassle of putting up signs in the rain or sacrificing your entire weekend.

With Wallapop, a free new app, Instagram meets Ebay in a TWIST to create an ideal “What you see, is what you get” experience.  Wallop is primarily an image-based, streamline virtual flea market which removes the vague guess-work that usually accompanies online second-hand purchasing.

Wallapop users play the role of either “Wallashoppers” or Wallasellers” and unlike other online classifieds it enables you to instantly chat with the person you are buying from or selling to in order to ask questions or make requests.  Items are listed based on location with the radius expanding the further you scroll, all you have to do is just snap a picture of what you want to sell, give it a fair price and wait as all your clutter turns to cash!

 

The world is moving more visual. What visual TWIST could your brand take advantage of to stand out and simplify your customer’s experience?

BT BrandTwistSchoolLogosHSept27withTagline

“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

About the Author: Courtney Elaine Glynn

Courtney is a senior in college studying psychology with a background in international relations and diplomacy. Blazing her own trail in the suburbs of New York, she is a self proclaimed renaissance woman of sorts; spending her time as an intern, personal assistant, small business manager, cooking instructor and aspiring writer.

Want to now more ? You can contact her at: courtneyelaine12@gmail.com

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

 

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.

 

 

bsthumb

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.

Twisting Luxury and Mass Market Fashion Brands

lagerfeldwang

Today, the luxury fashion market is facing many challenges – as many business are. Mass brands are growing in reach and competing with Luxury brands, and Luxury brands are forming partnerships with Mass retailers to meet new audiences. This phenomenon of both trading-up and trading-down has increased in popularity over the past 15 years and has increased more than 40% annually in the last decade.

The co-branding strategy can:

  • Strengthen a brand
  • Differentiate a brand from the competition
  • Extend a brand into other segments through the partner brand.

However, one of the risks in co-branding is overexposure and brand dilution.

Luxury brand dilution occurs when there’s:

  •  An incorrect fit between co-branding partners
  •  Unbalanced prestige positioning in a mass market
  •  Overexposure
  •  Lack of successful co-branding management
  •  Unknown strategic purpose.

For example: at first Karl Lagerfeld and H&M seemed to be the perfect fit because they share similar values, but in the long-term the differences in management caused dilution of the Lagerfeld brand. While, Vera Wang and Kohl’s at first seemed an unlikely pair but ended up a good fit because they’re both interested in management and quality control throughout the collaboration.

Furthermore, Karl Lagerfeld limited his co-branding to H&M, therefore the brand received limited exposure. Vera Wang has been collaborating with both Kohl’s and Zales making the Vera Wang brand more accessible to more mass consumers.

It may seem like Lagerfeld missed out on receiving big gains from the co-branding collaboration especially with some brand dilution, but both Lagerfield and Wang ended up benefitting from the partnerships. The strategic aim of Karl Lagerfeld was to gain knowledge, consumers and awareness through collaborating with H&M, and after the collaboration, he made his own masstige collection for the mass market. Whereas, Vera Wang’s SimplyVera collaboration with Kohl’s was to increase her consumer segment and branch into the lifestyle market.

What lessons can your businesses learn from these collaborations?

As the world becomes more accessible, brands need to follow suit and become more accessible to reach broader audiences. Collaborations and partnerships are powerful tools to help spread brand awareness, but it’s important to have a firm understanding on what your desired benefit is – before you launch a partnership.

Having a solid brand vision is essential when designing the next step to grow loyal brand followers. Brand School gives you the tools you need to recognize the right market for your business and chart the right course for the future. See more about our next session and a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session HERE.

BT BrandTwistSchoolLogosHSept27withTagline

“Brand School is a must class for you! The exercises really help you to focus and re-focus on what branding your company is all about. You will get results you can use for the future,” - Brenda Dillion Cavette,  Fashionista Tea

About the Author:  

CV Picture

 

Melanie Walt was born in Switzerland and has lived in many parts of the world. She recently finished her Master degree in Brands, Communication and Culture and has a Bachelor degree in Management with Marketing from the University of London. She is currently seeking job opportunities in the field of Marketing in Switzerland. Contact Melanie via: walt.melanie@bluewin.ch 

 

If you would like to be a BrandTwist guest blogger, please contact Jamie@brandtwist.com.

4 Unconventional Ways to Build Buzz Around Your Brand

socialmedia

With everyone sharing, tweeting and updating as much as they can, how can your business stand out? How can you draw your customer in and build buzz around your brand?

Advertising streams and social channels are loaded with quality content, information, inspiring quotes and the newest tips to make life better, but consider that consumers are looking for even more than that. Customers want to be actively connected with your business and be a part of what makes your brand unique.  We’ve taken a look at four surprising ways that some clever brands have twisted their social media campaigns and gone beyond the usual hashtags to cut through the static, draw in brand followers and make a memorable impression in a crowded market.

Read on to find our four unconventional tips.

1. GIVE RECOGNITION TO YOUR FANS 

If you’ve got people discussing your brand, give them some props! Go beyond re-blogging, retweeting, liking, commenting, and following back. One of the beautiful things about social media is that it allows you to reward followers with recognition – and they, in turn, will reward you with circulating your kindness throughout their social communities. Consider what Taco Bell’s doing: sending a gift package to fans that reach out to them. This strategy can be especially effective when marketing to teens and other very enthusiastic users of social media. Depending on your budget, it can be as grand as tickets to a concert or show or as simple as a photo, badge, sticker or certificate.

2. GET WEIRD 

One reliable way to get noticed is by behaving in a way followers would not expect from you. Get a little weird! It’s important not to go off brand on this, so it’s vital to think about where your brand fits, and whether or not it could stand a little weirdness added to it. If your brand sells a sweet soda or drink, sure, be funny! If you’re a health insurance company, this approach may not be on par with your business’ tone of voice.

If you’re wondering where to start with this approach, start with asking: where do people want to be amused? This can be a lot of fun! You could be inspired by Old Spice and transform yourself into a super character who answers questions from his adoring fans. The point is to add a little whimsy to your brand to entertain and delight your followers.

3. CROWDSOURCE A DECISION 

One great way to engage your fans and build buzz is to let them in on a decision. Ask them how to solve or fix a problem, to name a new product or service, or even something as small and inconsequential as a color scheme.

Take the Lego brand, for example. It has had a long-standing tradition of innovation, as well as sharing that innovation with their fans, young and old. And as Lego began to become more aware of the amount of adult fans they have attracted over the years, they believed it would be engaging to implement some of these fans’ ideas into their target market of children. Then, in 2005, the Lego Ambassador Program was created, which has allowed the company and its fans to continue connecting with each other, also creating a win-win situation for both Lego and their customers.

Open to new ideas, technologies and potential business partnerships, the Lego Group’s program gave a new meaning to the term “user-generated content”, meaning that not everything needs to be created internally. Because they paid attention to fans, the brand has discovered and implemented new ways to reach new markets without having to sustain long-term fixed costs. And as for the fans, working together with one of the most well-known brands of their childhood gives them the opportunity to influence Lego’s business decisions.

Your followers will be thrilled to participate in the decision-making process and love feeling like they have a say in what happens with their favorite brand. At the end of the process, don’t forget to loop back to #1 and give them recognition for all their hard work!

4. SPOTLIGHT EMPLOYEES

As you may already know, your employees are going to be your business’s greatest assets. Just like your customers, when employees’ needs are met it helps to keep a business running successfully. And if they’re happy enough, you can turn your loyal employees into valuable brand advocates. Considering the fact that regular employees have more credibility than CEOs themselves, many consumers are more likely to trust personal recommendations than they are ads. With this in mind, it’s vital to ensure that your employees are representing your brand in the most positive way.

According to Duncan Gilman, Dean of Students at Spalsh Media U, it doesn’t necessarily have to take a lot to get an employee excited about doing social media for your brand. In fact, he actually managed to create a “spy game” out of it. The objective of the game is to discover five online mentions of the brand, and the first person to find the five wins. In addition to highlighting the importance of social media listening, it also gives your employees a deeper understanding of the brand’s online reputation.

Using these mentions, a brand can re-share and repurpose the content circulating it across their own channels. Brands benefit when their employees start the initial wave on social media, and having your employees take the time to explore the brand in a fun and engaging way to do it is one of the best ways for consumers to become familiar with you. Furthermore, social engagement helps to build pride among team members. If they are proud of what their brand stands for, they will be more inclined to share. And, it’s always a good idea to consider putting an employee social media policy in place.

Simply put, if your employees are performing well and are keeping customers happy, then it’s important to recognize them for their achievements. Keeping motivation high within your team is essential and even the smallest rewards can go a long way.

UNCONVENTIONAL BRINGS INNOVATION 

In the crowded world of social media, everyone is competing for limited views. There are only so many words that a user will read every day, but by trying these TWISTS, your brand can navigate the waters of social media anonymity and build some real buzz! Happy tweeting!

From Social Media to Intellectual Property Law to Taglines and Photographic Content, see what our expert team of Brand School Faculty Advisors can do for your business and brand. Learn about our next semester and see if your business qualifies for our one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session HERE.

BT BrandTwistSchoolLogosHSept27withTagline

See more entries in our social media blog series HERE.

About the Author:

Dave Landry is an online journalist, personal finance counselor, and entrepreneur in Southern California. When he is not sharing his advice on debt management, he enjoys writing about social media marketing, the impact of business globalization on the global economy, business communications, and technology.

If you would like to be a BrandTwist guest blogger, please contact Jamie@brandtwist.com

Five Tips For An Effective Social Media Strategy

social

When designing a social media strategy it is important to know what your goal is and who you are trying to reach. Read through these five tips to ensure that your strategy is a success:

KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. 

Before running a social media campaign it is vital for a business or organization to thoroughly understand their target demographic and keep in mind that they are selling emotion to their audience. A company that sells family cars wants to sell the image of being safe, reliable and secure so those emotions need to be conveyed within their social media campaign.

A company that runs an excellent social media campaign is Innocent Drinks and this is because (you guessed it) they know their target audience.

This UK company uses fresh fruit and natural ingredients in their juice/smoothie range and donates ten percent of their profits to charity. They regularly tweet pictures of wildlife and nature because they understand that their consumers are heath-conscious and eco-conscious people.

Another company that understands their target audience is Red Bull. Red Bull provides a boost of energy and caffeine that increases the heart rate, yet a cursory glance at their Facebook/Twitter pages tells us little about their actual products. Instead they post images of skateboarding, surfing, skydiving, snowboarding, wakeboarding and the other types of extreme sports they sponsor. This is to appeal to the athletes and adrenalin junkies who want a drink that can match their lifestyle.

redbullsports

HOW TO MANAGE UPDATES? 

An effective social media campaign should involve regular updates throughout the day. “Content is King” but what that content is depends on the business itself. As a general rule, it is important for a business to keep up with news related to their niche. If the Grammy’s were approaching and a record company failed to tweet about it, they would not only look unprofessional but would be missing out on a huge opportunity to spark discussion. These trends aren’t just focused on current affairs and events but also on factors such as seasonal changes. During a recent heat wave in the UK, Innocent took to Twitter to give tips on how to turn their juices into delicious lolls (aka: ice pops). This is the perfect update as it is a friendly piece of advice that advertises the product and sparks discussion from those enjoying the weather.

innocentpop

INTERACTION – FINDING YOUR BUSINESS VOICE. 

When customers respond to an update or ask a question then it is important for any company to reply as it strengthens the bond between company and consumer.

These interactions should always be polite in tone but the nature of the comments depends on the character of the business. Lets refer back to Innocent Drinks – on all of their products they write quirky jokes and random facts and they uphold this tongue-in-cheek attitude on their social media profiles. A specific online presence gives the company a human side that consumers can trust, thus a solid relationship is built. This online persona should stay the same across each social media platform.

Red Bull repliess to users on their Facebook and Twitter profiles and they often provide  links to extreme sports videos that their fans may be interested in.

It can even be beneficial to provide the occasional link to other websites. This helps to build company trust, and nothing is more tiresome than constant self-promotion. Providing these links may also lead to companies linking back to you in return.

CONSISTENCY, PRESENTATION AND PROOFREADING.

One thing that customers trust is consistency. A brand cannot suddenly change its image by using a drastically different font or speaking with a new tone of voice. Color is another factor to take into account; for example a page for Coca Cola shouldn’t contain more green than it does the colors they are known for, their logo colors of red and white.

Companies must be consistent in keeping track of what they have already posted; nothing screams “unprofessional” like reposting the same content too frequently or radically outdated content.

All content should contain immaculate spelling and grammar. Slang language is fine provided the character of the brand is informal but an unfortunate spelling or image mishap could cause great offence to an audience. A simple word could become a swear word or an innocent image could become not so innocent if there is something inappropriate happening in the background. Numerous companies have fallen into these traps and learned the importance of hiring a keen-eyed editor to scrutinise every image before publication. In cases where oversights have been made, an immediate apology is always the best option. Multiple companies have tried to deny mistakes and it has always backfired.

BE CAREFUL WHO YOU EMPLOY.

It is vital to employ the right people to take care of your social media campaign. A quick search on the Internet would bring up plenty of examples of employees who thought they were logged in to their personal social media accounts and ended up slandering the company in the company’s own account. This has taught companies to do thorough background checks on who they employ, taking time to call that person’s past employers and ensure that they are highly professional. And remember, who you employ speaks for your business. Your employees are the ultimate brand representative, so be sure they are a brand “fit”, understand your brand promise and are open to learning how you expect them to deliver on it.

Learning how to define your brand promise and your target customer are vital to defining your brand. In Brand School, the premier learning program for small businesses, non profits, and entrepreneurs, we cover how to do that and more. Find out how your business may benefit from Brand School HERE.

BT BrandTwistSchoolLogosHSept27withTagline

See more entries in our social media blog series HERE.

About the author:

This article was written by Kimberley Thompson, copywriter at Gloc Media. Kimberley loves to write, travel, sing and spends her hours at the voice over recording studio.  On Twitter she’s KimThompsonUK.

If you would like to be a BrandTwist guest blogger, please contact Jamie@brandtwist.com