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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

Essential Branding Lessons with Jennifer Love & Julie Cottineau

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Your branding questions answered!

I recently was interviewed by Jennifer Love, Founder of JenniferLove.com and Co-founder & CEO of NibMor, the yummy and successful organic chocolate brand, for her weekly video series on business building. If you are serious about your brand this is a session you won’t want to miss. You can watch the video chockfull of tips HERE. Read below to learn how knowing your brand well can help sky rocket your business.

As a followup to the video Jennifer and I answered branding questions in a Twitter chat, using the hashtag #Branding101. It was great fun connecting with Jennifer and the Twitterverse.  If you haven’t already connected with us on Twitter, please stop by for a little brand talk at @JCottin. You can connect with Jennifer Love at @JLoveBiz.

Here are some excerpts from our chat , we covered everything from the right time to start thinking about your brand to how to take a page from Richard Branson and rock your personal brand…and most importantly how great brands WALK THE TALK.

@JLoveBiz – Welcome! To get started today >> @JCottin Many have asked: How & where do I start developing the right #brand for my #business?

@JCottin - Start TODAY. If you are re-building your #brand or #business, start defining your brand promise right now.

@JLoveBiz – @JCottin YES!!! Great tip. Start today, start where you are. Also, know who your consumer is and get intimate with them.

@JCottin – Your #brand’s promise will be a decision-making filter, to help attract the right investors, employees & #customers.

@JLoveBiz – Entrepreneurs want to know: What mistakes are made when starting a #business & developing a #brand?

@bevisible – RT @JCottin #1 mistake #entrepreneurs make is not enough time & energy really defining their #brand.

@JCottin – If you spend enough time upfront building & understanding your #brand well it will help the rest run smoother.

@JCottin – Small businesses should add more personal story into their  #brands. That’s why people choose small. They want authenticity.

@JLoveBiz – “Rather than saying you’re a different kind of company. Prove it through every single touch point.” – @JCottin

@JCottin – Definitely @JLoveBiz brands are relationships and you need to know what your consumer needs, what keeps them up at night?

@JCottin – Your loyal consumers are your best brand ambassadors. Nurture those relationships above all else!

@JCottiin – It’s not enough to tell consumers what your product does, bring your #brand promise to life via actions and experiences.

@JLoveBiz – I’m often asked: What can building a #brand do for my #business?

@JCottin – A strong #brand gets people to ask for you by name, minimizes other choices, and attracts the best employees.

@JCottin – A strong #brand helps people get what you offer right away. Helps them see your difference and why they should buy.

@JLoveBiz – @JCottin great point. Standing out from competition is so important & a way to do that is by delivering a great experience.

@JCottin – A strong #brand allows you to charge premium price for your and keeps you from having to get trial by discounting.

@JLoveBiz – A frequent question @JCottin is: How does a personal #brand differ from a #business brand; do I need both?

@JCottin – A personal #brand’s how you tell your own story, what makes you unique and it supports your #business brand.

@JCottin – The more memorable your personal #brand is, the more memorable your #business may become, too. Definitely need both.

@JCottin – #RichardBranson’s personal brand of having fun and challenging the status quo supports the #Virgin promise to shake things up.

@JCottin – #Personal brand matters:  you will have many #jobs over time  but you will always be you. Need to cultivate it.

@JCottin – A strong personal #brand adds credibility to a #business & helps in repairing glitches.We all mess up, even @richardbranson.

JCottin – Be careful. Your #personal brand is not you – warts and all. It need to be authentic but also managed.

@JCottin – Yes! @JLoveBiz the experience you deliver IS your brand.

@bevisible – Like this: The experience you deliver IS your brand. Think we try to reinvent when our strength is what we’ve been doing.

@JCottin – Your #brand is your #business. It’s an entrepreneur’s secret weapon!

@JCottin – Brand = more than logo, website or colors – it’s a reliable promise you deliver that customers can count on.

@JCottin – #Branding for small biz is the same for big biz, but smaller biz need to be smarter with resources. Use their brand everywhere.

@JCottin – Great #brands big or small solve problems. They are useful and help people get more done and feel better doing it.

@JCottin – Great #brands are stories well told. We want to read them over and over and they become best sellers.

@JCottin – Great #brands WALK the TALK!

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Engage in the Conversation

This post is part of our series, “Thirteen Tips For Stronger Branding.” See the rest of the series HERE.

en·gage 
v.
 en·gageden·gag·ingen·gag·es
1. To involve oneself or become occupied; participate: engage in conversation.

It’s not enough to talk to a few loyal fans and followers on social media. You must really engage: it’s the only way to get ahead. Read on for another tip that will help you engage better.

TIP #11: ENGAGE IN THE CONVERSATION

Stop observing and start participating. Curious about Pinterest? Create a page and start pinning. Set up a Twitter account, follow those you can learn from, comment on and Retweet other users’ content. Start small; the important thing is that you get in on the conversation. You don’t have to start your own blog, but you should comment on blogs that you read and find relevant. This simple act can help drive traffic back to your site – and may even lead to valuable and enriching professional relationships.

What simple tips have you used to grow your business? Let me know in the comment section or on Facebook.

Check out tip #12 in the series, Innovate New Brand Ideas by Adding a Fresh Twist.

ENGAGE BETTER WITH A STRONGER BRAND THROUGH BRAND SCHOOL

Brand building is one of the single most important things you can do to grow your business but it takes expertise, energy and investment. Julie Cottineau, the Applegate Network’s Small Business Branding Expert and the former VP of Brand for Richard Branson’s Virgin is here to show you how.

Brand School is the premier program for business owners and entrepreneurs who what to grow their business. Brand School takes best practices of beloved brands such as Virgin, Apple, and Zappos and teaches you how to apply their success to your business to build a stronger brand to drive business results. Brand School gives you engaging videos, interactive exercises and exclusive access to a private community of other entrepreneurs. Learn more about Brand School HERE.

“Julie was so generous and gave us so much depth.  I learned my core message and how to package and brand it so I could stand out from the crowd.” – Dr. Marina Kostina, Distance Learning Specialist, CEO of  wired@heart