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.

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.

A Delightfully Cheesy Twist

cheesepencils

A sure way to your customers’ hearts is to make it easy for them to enjoy you anywhere and any time. This creative TWIST was produced by German ad agency Kolle Rebbe for The Deli Garage, a food label that supports small manufacturers of delicacies, as a limited first edition of 500. It was sold out 2 weeks after its launch!

Take a Pencil & Sharpener, twist it with parmesan cheese and you have Parmesan Pencils, a unique product that permits cheese-lovers to have freshly-grated cheese close at hand. The Parmesan Pencil “Sharper” flakes the cheese, and you can keep your “pencils” right in a briefcase or purse. Isn’t everything better with cheese?

cheesepencil

Helping your customers getting easier access to your brand will turn casual buyers into loyal ambassadors. What TWIST can you add to make your product or service always top of mind?

Brand School gives you the tools to develop innovative touch points with a TWIST. Find out if your business qualifies for a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session HERE.

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“If anyone needs to understand the PROPER professional way that WILL make a difference for branding your business, Brand School is your go to source.” – Mike Sass, Entrepreneur

All Your Burning Brand Questions – Answered!

Sometimes the terms “brand” and “branding” can feel a bit vague or even overwhelming, particularly for those beginning a business, embarking on the entrepreneur track, or looking to refresh their current brand or business.

Branding is often overlooked as an important initial aspect of building a business or re-building an existing one. Many think that “branding” can be added on after the business gets rolling, but the real value of a strong brand goes beyond what the color, logo, or website offer. If you have a clear grasp on who your business is really trying to reach and what you are promising to deliver, you’ll quickly realize the many ways having strong brand can benefit your business, from taking the stress out of daily decisions, to charging a premium for your product or services, to being forgiven by your following for any blunders. You’ll quickly see why a strong brand can be an entrepreneur’s secret weapon.

But how and where do you start formulating your brand?

Do these questions sound familiar:

  • What is a brand?
  • How does having a strong brand help my business?
  • How do I start developing my brand?
  • I’m not a big business, how can I do what the big brands like Starbucks, Virgin and Zappos! do?
  • How can I make my brand work harder to grow my business?

I recently was interviewed by Jennifer Love, Founder of JenniferLove.com and Co-founder & CEO NibMor for her free weekly video interview series that gives tips and information on building business, sales, and product development. I thoroughly enjoyed  sharing answers to her branding questions and giving tips on how knowing your brand well can help in building your business. There are plenty of tips and takeaways in this fun chat, you won’t want to miss it.

As a followup to the video Jennifer and I answered your branding questions in Twitter chat, using the hashtag #Branding101. It was great fun connecting with Jennifer and the Twitter community. You can read takeaways and highlights from our chat HERE.

If you want to receive notification when Jennifer’s new videos go live, sign up at Jennifer’s site HERE, and you’ll also receive access to special information not available to the public.

 

 

 

3 Opportunities to Move Your Business Forward

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The New Year is a great time to act on your business resolutions, and to help, we’re excited to share with you these upcoming interactive workshops with BrandTwist Founder & CEO Julie Cottineau – all within 30-minutes of New York City. (If you don’t live in the area, perhaps you have a friend or colleague that does and could benefit from these events).

In these hands-on, fun-filled events you will learn how to:

  • Stand out from competition
  • Have more impact with less spending
  • Tell a stronger personal brand story
  • Twist your thinking to create fresh ideas

And more!

Julie will be sharing tools and techniques to innovate your brand – and show you how you can put them to work right away to GROW YOUR BUSINESS! These workshops are normally $250 and up but in partnership with local community business centers, we are able to offer them for a fraction of the price.

Join Julie and other like-minded, inspired entrepreneurs and business owners who are putting their business and brands at the top of their lists this year!

There is also an opportunity to get FREE in-person, one-on-one time with Julie prior to each session. Read more below.

These live events have concluded, but to receive immediate updates about more events like these, Brand School’s exclusive programs and free brand and business-building tips, please sign up for our newsletter:

Subscribe to more posts like this →  

 

JUMP START YOUR BRAND  At The Purple Crayon Center for Learning and Social Innovation, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. 

You’ll get 5 sure-fire ways to boost your brand and your business in this interactive session to gain practical insights and takeaway steps, and be infused with the energy of other entrepreneurs and small business owners.

BRAND LIKE A BILLIONAIRE: 5 TIPS I LEARNED FROM RICHARD BRANSON At Serendipity Labs, Rye, NY. 

In this workshop, Julie shares tips she learned from her five years as VP of Brand for Virgin North America and show you how you can make them work for your business. Learn from one of the best-loved brands on the planet and one of the most successful entrepreneurs.

TWIST YOUR BRAND, GROW YOUR BUSINESS  At The W@tercooler Hub, Tarrytown, NY.  

Boost your business with innovative ways to look at old problems from new angles that will help you create new products and services and build loyal brand fans. See how both large and small brands are innovating and how to apply these lessons directly to help your brand stand out.

Please pass these valuable opportunities and offers along to any friends you think may be interested in joining Julie in boosting their business. These hands-on events are a great way to start rocking any business and brand in the New Year.

Each of these events also included FREE, valuable one-on-one time with Julie on days prior to the session. If you are interested in finding out more about a FREE Brand Health Check 45-minute personal strategy session please contact Julie at Julie@BrandTwist.com

We look forward to Twisting with you soon!

Branding Tips for Better Business on American Express OPEN Forum

openforum

We are thrilled to have been a contributor on branding to American Express OPEN Forum.

If you aren’t familiar with OPEN Forum, we urge you to check it out. This forum, in partnership with Linkedin, is open and accessible to everyone and you’ll find amazing resources for every aspect of running a business, entrepreneurship, marketing and branding. Business owners, entrepreneurs and experts can showcase  expertise, help others succeed and discover ways to help propel business forward.

See more of OPEN Forum and catch additional ways to make your business and fast-paced life a little easier and more profitable, HERE.

Check back in with us here: we’ll keep this list up-to-date with links to all of our posts on OPEN Forum:

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

“If anyone needs to understand the PROPER professional way that WILL make a difference for branding your business, Brand School is your go-to source.” – Mike Sass, Entrepreneur

Can You Name These Red, White and Blue Brands?

Can you name all 38 Red, White and Blue Brands in the Brand Star pictured above?

Scroll down for the answer.

Wishing everyone a happy, safe, and fun Fourth of July!

Celebrate your business by building a brand that stands out and gets recognized! Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, gives you the tools and techniques you need to keep your brand shining. Get more information about the next session and a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session HERE.

 “Brand School had great examples of real companies. I was able to dig even deeper, think of things in a new way, and get new ideas for my brand.It was well worth the fee.” - Brenda Dillion Cavette, Founder Fashionista Tea

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ANSWER:

RED, WHITE AND BLUE BRAND STAR BRANDS:

RED:

CNN, Target, CVS Pharmacy, Kool-Aid, Levi’s, Colgate, Jell-o, Coca-Cola, Campbell’s, Johnnie Walker Red Label, Red Bull, ESPN, Band-Aid.

WHITE:

Dewar’s White Label, The White House, Dove, Ivory, Calvin Klein White T-Shirts, Apple, White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor fragrance, Nestle Toll House Premier White Morsels.

BLUE:

Blue Buffalo Company, IBM, WordPress, Skype, Intel, LinkedIn, jetBlue, Twitter, GE, Twitter, The Weather Channel, Facebook, AT&T, Ford, PayPal, Lowe’s, Chase.

 

Necessity is the Mother of Brand Invention

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” That expression is as true today as it was when Plato first wrote it, circa 450 BC.

Here is another catchy term, “evergreen topic.” Meaning, a subject  that will always be of great interest to people. One of the biggest evergreen topics is health. If there is such a thing as a health bandwagon, it sure seems like EVERYONE is on it. Now, let’s take all of the above and create a little equation: Necessity + Invention + Evergreen = Brad’s Raw Chips.

Brad’s Raw Chips are a gluten-free, organic, vegan, kosher snack food. Founded by Brad Gruno, who had no experience what-so-ever with baking, cooking or nutritional health products. In fact, he had worked in the telecommunications industry for over 20 years, was 40 pounds overweight with high cholesterol, and was depressed… you get the picture. When Brad decided to get on a healthier track by following a raw diet, he found what he missed most was the flavorful, spicy taste and crunch of snack foods. Out of sheer desperation he began to “play” with kale. He made a kale “chip” and shared samples with friends and family and ta-da… Brad’s Raw Chips were born. Now, he’s expanded the line with other veggies, crackers, and even a snack biscuit for dogs.

It was Brad’s personal quest which led him to focus on a single product that made him stand apart from the thousands of snack foods lining the market shelves. Sharing his story and mastering one specific, singular niche, actually ended up enabling product development and market expansion.

Don’t be put off by taking a look at your own life. What you might want or need may be just the thing to fill a gap in the marketplace, too.

Your target market may have a lot more in common with you and your story than you think. When you share your story you add a deeper dimension to the user experience. You open the way for your customer to identify with you and feel a genuine connection with your brand.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but identifying your specific niche and honing your brand’s story takes strategic cultivation. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you actionable steps and strategies that you can use to grow an evergreen brand.  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 was starting my business from scratch and was all over the place when started the course. Brand School really helped me focus. I came out of it with a foundation for my brand that I know will work. Without Brand School, it never would have happened.” - Nicole Lesser, Entrepreneur

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.