Julie Cottineau

Posts by Julie Cottineau

Top 5 Freedom Brands

Independence Day in the U.S.A. is a time to salute our founding fathers and mothers and take a moment to celebrate the birth of our great country…and of course consume way too many hot dogs and too much coleslaw and beer.

[sc:optinbox]But while enjoying these important festivities, I think there is something else we should salute.

Brands!!!

Not just Brands in general, but Brands that give us freedom. Products and services that allow us to do more, roam freely and achieve a certain level of independence and control over our lives.

Here are  my top 5 “Freedom Brands”, I’d love to hear yours.

(Cue the fireworks please)…

#1)  iPhone

#2)  Netflix

#3)  Google

#4)  Kindle

#5)  Spanx

#1)  iPhone: Like many of my BrandTwist readers, I also have a love/hate relationship with my  iPhone. However, I have to give credit where credit is due. No other brand in my life has given me such a degree of flexibility and freedom.

Being an Entrepreneur Can Be Lonely – But It Doesn’t Have to Be

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Solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and small business owners end up spending a lot of time alone, immersed in running their business, working from home or by themselves in an office – and it can be lonely and draining. A highly effective way to break out of the solitary rut is to spend some time at the latest trend in workspace innovation – shared workspaces.

I urge you to check out venues like the Stamford Innovation Center. You’ll be able to interact, exchange ideas with others, and soak up inspiration in beautiful environments that will support you and keep you and your business in the brand-building zone.

Many of these workspace venues offer educational workshops that allow you to interact with like-minded business owners determined to take their brands to the next level. At each workshop participants share their enthusiasm, creative ideas and positive feedback.

To learn more about the effectiveness of in-person workshops, please check out this article, Twist Up Your Space – Wake Up Your Brand.

And, if you’re in the Greater New York City area, please JOIN US at one of our workshops. These interactive workshops will get you ready to launch into high gear with practical advice and tools you can start using that very day. We’ll show you how to:

▪   Create an achievable plan to grow your brand

▪   Reach your most valuable customers

▪   Generate fresh ideas – with a twist!

▪   Connect with like-minded entrepreneurs for powerful results

Sign up for our mailing list to receive word of upcoming Workshops, Brand School Master Class and a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session.

 

 

 

Five Brand-Marvelous Ideas for Mother’s Day

It can be challenging to come up with a gift idea that is thoughtful, meaningful, fun and unique for mom on Mother’s Day. We’re here to help! Check out these brands we love, and that mom will love receiving.

Box up a bundle of goodies with a Birchbox  It’s difficult for active mothers to get into stores to sample new products. So why not make it easier for her and bring those samples directly to mom’s door? Birchbox does just that. Birchbox bundles several samples of cosmetics, skin care items, bath, beauty and lifestyle products all into a beautiful Birchbox and delivers it directly to mom’s doorstep. (and they have a line for men too… Father’s Day is right around the corner! Check out the men’s Birchbox in our Father’s Day post ) Read more about what we feel drives the success of the Birchbox brand here.

 

Hire a rabbit to take on a task with Taskrabbit – A mom’s life is busy, busy, and… did we say busy? There’s always some task that she doesn’t have time to complete. She would really appreciate a helping hand. TaskRabbit is all about getting the job done.  This company has experts in just about every field who are ready to take on mom’s request, and as their tagline promises, to help mom go “From To-Do, to Done.” Interested in how Taskrabbit built a succesful brand? Read more here.

 

Ch-ch-ch-changes through chocolate! Chocolate is always a welcomed gift, but when it’s fun, meaningful and connects you to the world, it’s even better.  Each sweetriot chocolate candy purchase supports sustainable cocoa farming, native and local farmers, and the emerging artists community by featuring works that embrace sweetriot’s culture on the candy wrappers. A sweetriot gift purchase does more than simply satisfying mom’s chocolate craving. Want to know more about the secret to sweetriot’s sweet branding success? Read about it here.

 

Take mom on a fabulous get-away –  Treat mom to a fabulous weekend away full of local flavor by celebrating at a unique hotel. Discover a new city together – and build memories that will last a long time. The  Provenance Hotels are a great boutique collection that offer wonderful decor and  authentic local touches in some very cool US cities. How can your brand cash in on the trend to hyper local? Read more here.

 

Support mom in growing her business. Is your mother an entrepreneur, small business owner, artist, performer, or freelance contractor? Here’s a way to help her take her business and brand to the top! Brand School is our highly effective, premier branding program that will give her the tools and insight she needs to grow a stronger personal, career or business brand. To get more information about the next session and a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session, please click HERE.

Twisting Book Trailers to Boost Any Business

Book trailers bring big business. These video spots don’t stand out for their star-power alone, but for their formal inventiveness and willingness to take risks as well. In this guest post, Liam Powel shows how your business can take what publishing houses are doing to market their authors and products and apply those same ideas to your business for big marketing and brand-building benefits through video trailers.

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LITTLE FAILURE’S BIG SUCCESS. 

If you’re not up on literature, you may not have heard of Gary Shteyngart, but odds are you will soon.  The quirky satirist – whose novel Super Sad True Love Story garnered him a spot on the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list two years ago – is known for his biting wit, bumbling characters, and stunning backdrops. Little Failure, a memoir released early in January, 2014 by Random House, has already garnered glowing reviews, and if history is any guide, sales are radiant as well.

To hype the title, Random House released a “book trailer” – if you’re not familiar with the form, it’s exactly what it sounds like – and Shteyngart’s are grade-A satire. Little Failure has already made a splash because of its star-studded cast, featuring James Franco, Rashida Jones, Alex Karpovsky, and of course, Shteyngart too. Random House, no stranger to the medium or its capacity to push publicity, had previously released a similar trailer for Super Sad – it’s just as hilarious, and can be seen here.

However, these video spots don’t stand out for their star-power alone, which any hefty budget could use to garner attention, but for their formal inventiveness and willingness to take risks as well. This is what we’re interested in. Let’s look at a few lessons from the art of the book trailer that you can apply to your brand and business.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO BREAK NEW GROUND. 

The vast majority of book trailers are fairly one-dimensional, composed of excerpts from a work read over a series of simple images or videos. Few build a narrative, and among the small number that do, fewer still are as cunning or generally well-composed as those for Little Failure or Super Sad.

So aside from it seeming strange, or stunt-ish, for a piece of literary non-fiction to engage potential consumers through such an infrequently, and often ill-used media form, Shteyngart’s piece distinguishes itself for its wryly inventive quality. Particularly when compared to other book trailers, Little Failure’s comes off as sketch comedy, worrying less about clearly pushing the product (the memoir itself) and more about conveying core value propositions in an engagingly slant, indirect way.

So what if you won’t be able to hire out a Hollywood star to shill your brand anytime soon?  This release, Worst Case Scenario Survival Video Series: BREAKUPS, couldn’t either, nor could this Skagboys video, but each crafted compelling content – well within their means – and made efficient, inventive use of a quirky medium to engage their audiences, new and old. The latter trailer, for Skagboys, is particularly on point, a wonderfully executed example of consistent brand identity – note how the skeleton from the video is modeled after the novel’s cover image, and how the whole tone is very much in line with Irvine Welsh’s writing – that only required a Final Cut video editing program and some papier mâché to get up and running.

Sometimes, especially if you’re a solopreneur, all it takes is going the extra mile, even if you have to run it alone.

SO YOU DON’T RUN A PUBLISHING HOUSE? 

Whatever industry your brand is competing in, don’t be afraid to go beyond convention when reaching out to potential consumers. Brands, particularly emerging ones, too often fear venturing beyond a simple benefit analysis or overt calls-to-action while representing themselves – from taglines and logos to small collateral. Slant approaches aren’t only for the industry bigwigs: they can be for everyone, if you’re willing to take the risk.

Successful trailers use inventive, thoughtful approaches to innovating an established medium.  They convey how their product functions, who uses it, and where it’s used to inform and entertain.

What if a video, or a trailer, isn’t right for you? The point is to reach out to your consumers in engaging, surprising, direct ways – trailer or no trailer. Here are a few tips and lessons we can take away from Random House’s – and other’s – use of an innovative form.

  1. Ask yourself: is there a particular aspect of your brand – logo, tone, media presence – you think could benefit from an overhaul or re-imagining? If so, isolate it and take a moment to ask yourself how it could be better and what could be gained by crossing a line of convention here or there.
  2. Think lateral.  Make a list of potential media you’d like to engage in that you haven’t already. Is it video? A social platform? If media isn’t at the forefront of your concerns, what elements of design, or tones of voice, would be exciting and new for you to experiment with?
  3. Spend the time to develop a high concept, and stick with it. Measure twice, cut once.
  4. Think lifestyle and/or novel, layered tones. Slant, or indirect, approaches to brand development aren’t just for established presences in the market – emerging brands can use them too.
  5. Always assume the most of your consumer, and expect the most from your brand.

About the author: 

Liam Powell is Lead Copywriter at Imagemme, a Brand Innovation Lab based in TriBeCa, NYC. He recently received a Masters from Columbia University, where he would catch the occasional glimpse of the man himself – Gary Shteyngart – walking the long, marble halls. You can connect with Liam on Facebook, and on Twitter he is @YazooStScandal (from the Dylan song).

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Connecting: How to Build an Unforgettable Brand

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BrandTwist Founder & CEO and former V.P. of Brand for Virgin, Julie Cottineau, shares her entrepreneurial story and talks about personal branding, innovation, and future brand trends in this interview by Bill Sobel for CMSWire.com. Bill is the principal of SobelMedia and NY:MIEG/The New York Media Information Exchange Group. He’s been described as a media powerhouse and a master connector. (You can connect with Bill on Twitter: he’s @bsobel226 –  tell him we say “Hi”)

CMSWire.com is a popular web magazine published by Simpler Media Group, Inc. There you’ll find an abundance of helpful articles, interviews and resources that keep you in the know about Customer Experience Management, Digital Marketing, Social Business and Enterprise Information Management. Check them out.

Catch Bill’s interview “Connecting: How to Build an Unforgettable Brand” with Julie HERE. 

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