We couldn’t have gotten here without you. As I look forward to the new year and many new TWISTS ahead, my purple heart is full with gratitude for your support…and for your votes.

BrandTwist was recently informed that we won  “Best Business Consultant” in the 2018 Best of Small Business Awards. This award recognizes “individuals who are excellent communicators and boost productivity, inspire, and lead business owners on a clear path to achieving business success.”

You made this happen, and I can’t thank you enough! Our success is your success. We are so honored to work with all of you—from large corporate clients to small businesses—on the branding challenges that led to this recognition.

Here are just a few of my favorite highlights from the projects and people I had the honor of TWISTING with in 2018 and some lessons that you can apply for your own success:

Julie Cottineau speaks at the SITE SE SITE Education Summit in Charleston, SC.

  • January took me to Rome where I was the keynote speaker in front of 500 meeting planner professionals at the SITE + MPI Global Forum. Talk about intimidating! Speaking on stage to 500 people who hire speakers for a living. That was a pretty high bar, and a very large audience. I decided to worry less about the dazzle of my slides and tell my story from the heart. This successful engagement led to another keynote and workshop with the Southeast chapter of SITE at their Education Summit in Charleston in December.
  • February kicked off with a “Love your Brand” webinar dedicated to helping small business owners and marketing consultants show their own brands some love after I discovered many communications professionals had the cobbler’s shoes syndrome when it comes to their own brands.
  • March included a “What’s my TWIST?” panel in Amsterdam leveraging engaging thought leaders to create a TWIST for a global pharma client. None of the thought leaders worked in healthcare and this outside perspective added an inspirational TWIST.
  • April was another successful Brand School Master Class where 12 entrepreneurs from around the world learned how to define, build, and express their TWISTS.
  • In May, I TWISTed again with supermodel Tyra Banks and my dear friend Alison Kluger for another #ProjectYou personal branding class at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
    Julie Cottineau and Tyra Banks at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • In June, after nine months of working hand in hand with a cross-functional client executive team, we helped etouches, a meeting planning software company, rebrand to Aventri and trained employees in brand activation workshops before launching to the public.
  • The summer was spent working on several brand architecture and innovation projects with my friends at Virgin ranging from naming and digital brand guidelines to a live innovation lab.
  • This fall, we helped Talent International relaunch their global IT recruitment brand with a new brand book and a brand activation session for global executives in San Francisco.
  • The fall was also full of amazing media opportunities, including The Economist, C-Suite Best Seller TV, Authority Magazine, Fab Over Fifty, and WVOX radio talking about personal and professional branding.
    Julie Cottineau on C-Suite Best Seller TV.
  • Along the way, we TWISTED with some fabulous nonprofits like kindness.org, and experienced first-hand the power of Eileen Fisher LifeWork Learning Lab. This led to enrollment in my first-ever mindfulness class and a desire to spotlight 10 amazing organizations in our “Doing Good with a TWIST” end-of-the-year campaign.

I am so grateful for each and every opportunity and truly enriched by the people I have met along the way.

These experiences also reinforced three key lessons for me that you can apply to your own business as well:

  • Keynote speaking: Stretch your horizons, do what scares you, and most importantly, tell your story from the heart. It’s not the slides that will dazzle—it’s your passion and your TWIST.
  • Rebranding: Rebranding can be a great opportunity to tell your brand’s story in a fresh way while energizing your employees and customers. Branding must be linked to overall business strategy and involve cross-functional teams (not just the marketing department) because at the end of the day, we all work in branding.
    Etouches, a meeting planning software company, recently rebranded to Aventri and trained employees in brand activation workshops.
  • Personal branding: As Tyra says, “Different is better than perfect. Perfect is boring.” Embrace what’s unique about you and your business and flaunt your fabulous TWIST.

As you start the new year with big ambitions for 2019, I want to return the favor. From now until February 1, you can schedule a FREE Brand Health Check by simply using the code GRATITUDE.

If you want your brand to attract more profitable targets, stand out with less spending, and serve as a blueprint for business growth, this is the place to start. We’ll dive into the critical questions that will prompt the development of a strong TWIST, review your current marketing materials, and create a step-by-step action plan to make your unique brand shine.

Personal brand, professional brand, job shifts, new product launches, innovation ideas—whatever your challenge, I am here to support you.

In the meantime, keep TWISTING and here’s to an amazing new year!

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


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