Love YOUR Brand

I officially declare February the month to LOVE YOUR BRAND!

Taking care of YOUR brand helps you do a better job for your clients. And the best way to begin is to stop thinking about them all the time.

Who is “them”? The clients you spend 24/7 obsessing about and giving all of your creative energy to.

You heard that right.

Being a creative or consultant is exhilarating, fulfilling work. We love to create. We love to write that perfect sentence, design the perfect graphic, build that perfect strategy or plan that perfect event.  We love to brand and create unique brand experiences. It’s our obsession. We simply cannot shut off our creative brains… for our clients.

It’s easy to get totally immersed—to be pulled into pitch after pitch, project after project. As rewarding as this can be, chances are it comes at a cost of neglecting our own brand. Our own brand strategy, our own website, video, name, logo or hundreds of other brand touch points that we deliver for our clients. 

And so we put off working on our brand. We’ll get to it–after we meet this deadline or hit that income goal. But days turn into weeks, then months. Before we know it, we’ve entered another new year still feeling a pang of dread every time we look at our OWN brand. Knowing it needs our attention, but never making it a priority.

Well, it should be a priority. Because if you’re neglecting your brand, you’re not giving your best creative self—to you OR your clients. Honing your own brand helps you attract the clients you really want to work with, command the prices you deserve, and give you the inspiration and passion that will shine through in the work you deliver to your clients.

My best advice: Treat yourself to the TWIST.

TWISTING allows you to find inspiration and ideas by looking at successful brands outside your  category. What are they doing that might inspire a new approach for your business? How are they solving problems for their customers, turning them into loyal followers and brand ambassadors?

TWISTING is important for every business, but it’s mission-critical for anyone involved in creating solutions and strategies for clients. Why? Because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of talented consultants, copywriters, designers, marketing strategists, event planners and videographers who can all do what you do… but there is only one YOU!

You may already be aware of brands that are breaking new ground. You probably admire their ingenuity, and you might even draw inspiration from them.

Time to step it up!

  • TWISTING can help you change the way you think about YOUR business.
  • TWISTING can help you unlock fresh new perspectives that will propel YOUR brand forward 
  • TWISTING is the most loving thing you can do for your brand.

Try the 3 As to start TWISTING today!

  1. Be more AWARE. As a creative, you probably study other brands for inspiration. Take your awareness further. Train your brain to notice successful brand trends and practices far OUTSIDE of your category. Why? Because your ideal client is exposed to all brands, not just your business.
  2. Always ANALYZE. Just as important, you need to start analyzing brand elements that draw you in. Why do you love them? What emotions or larger truths are they tapping into? What best practices can you spot? How do they connect with your heart, not just your head?
  3. Finally, the most impactful step is to APPLY. When you apply these insights to your own business, you will funnel new ideas into your business and try new approaches that will push your brand upward and onward.

Commit to your brand: Join my FREE webinar on February 28th at 12pm EST.

I will walk you through exactly how to PLEDGE YOUR LOVE  to your own brand—not only for February, but for many years to come. Perhaps until you’re ready to retire to that little lakeside cabin or beach house you’re dreaming about!

SIGN UP NOW:

Love Your Brand

Sign up for the Love Your Brand Webinar: Feb 28, 2018

‘Tis the Season to Build your Brand

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We know the holidays are a bit crazy, but they are also a great time to connect with customers and clients and build your brand. In case you missed some of  our recent entries, here is a re-cap of a few seasonal posts to inspire you:

‘Tis the season! Creating a gift guide for your business is a great way to explore what your brand really stands for and is a nice twist on reinforcing your brand values – plus, it’s fun to do! This post from BrandTwist guest blogger and Company B founder, Bonnie Rothman Morris, was inspired by Seth Godin and gives tips on how to create one for your business. Check out “Your Brand Needs a Gift Guide.” 

Amidst the chaos that is the holiday season is can be tough to make your brand stand out among the rest. This doesn’t always require innovative creativity or a hefty marketing budget. Here is a guest post from marketer Alice Jenkins giving four cost-effective ways to market your brand this holiday season that will both show good character and expose your brand to the masses, “Marketing Your Brand for The Holidays.”

Holidays, and especially holiday gift giving, can be extremely taxing. This year why not take a step back and create something special? Catch these “5 Creative Gifts that Won’t Break the Bank.”

Many companies engage in the practice of sending holiday greetings (print or emails) to colleagues, clients, partners and prospects. But what does your holiday card really say about your brand? After all, it’s not just a card it’s a communication vehicle. Here’s what we did while I was working as V.P. of Brand at Virgin, “What Your Holiday Card Says About Your Brand.”

The holidays are about connecting to one another, and a personal brand is an aspect of branding that can often go overlooked, even though it’s incredibly important in business. Whether you’re looking to use your personal brand to get a job, are launching your own business, or want to strengthen your existing business, building a strong personal brand will help you to transform your passions and personality into a brand that works for you. Don’t miss these three essential tips to building “The Brand of YOU.”

Stay warm and keep TWISTING!

“What an excellent experience. You have turned our business on its head! We are in the process of re-inventing our brand and company!” – Gavin Meiring, CEO, Rugged PC, South Africa

Your Brand Needs a Gift Guide

This post, Your Brand Needs a Gift Guide, by Company B founder Bonnie Rothman Morris explains how creating a gift guide for your business is a way to explore what your brand really stands for. It’s a great idea and a nice twist on how to reinforce your brand values. This is another in our guest blogger seriesRead more about Bonnie in her bio below. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information. 

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Seth Godin just came out with his holiday gift guide. I trust his opinions, so I enjoyed clicking through his curated group of quirky products looking for ideas. My favorites? Brooklyn-built headphones and a Bob Dylan collection to match. I don’t have a giftee for either, but never mind, what I really loved was how well those products align with Seth’s brand. They’re insider-y and should make you feel smart and thoughtful when you give them. Like Seth.

Any brand can create a gift guide, and it’s a worthy exercise, whether you choose to share your picks on a company blog, with the media, with your customers … or not. The exercise of building a curated lists of gifts your brand could give to someone you care about can help you tap into what you really want to mean to your customers.

Here’s why: gift giving is an art. And every gift tells a story (or it should!). The best gift-givers make the recipient feel special and appreciated by you. The best gift-givers also give gifts that are memorable. What brand doesn’t want their customers to feel that way about them?

Here are some questions to ask to get you started.

  • What are my brand’s core values? How do they translate into my brand’s personality? List them.
  • If my personality is accessible and friendly, for example, what categories of products can my brand legitimately recommend? Think broadly. A food brand can venture into style; a tech brand may legitimately recommend food.
  • If your brand is clever, make sure the gifts are, too. If you’re mainstream, stick with something that’s delightful but relatable. Useful? Twist it up and make it completely useless but fun. If your brand is hip, well, it goes without saying what you need to do. If it’s not hip and you, the gift-giver, are, think about something campy. You get the idea.
  • Play the Amazon game: If my customers like X (i.e., me) they might also like Y. This springs the doors wide open.
  • Most importantly, what do I want my customers to remember about me after receiving this gift?

Once you create your gift guide, there is so much you can do with it. You can make a Vine. (Stop motion animation of the gifts going into a big box). Share it on Facebook or your website. Write a blog post, like Seth, with links. Or, better, buy a bunch of the stuff and send it to your customers. If you’ve done your job right, they’ll remember the gift and, even better, remember your brand and what it stands for.

Okay. We’re putting our money where our mouths are here at Company B. To see Company B’s gift guide, click HERE.

About guest blogger Bonnie Rothman Morris:

Bonnie Rothman Morris became an official storyteller at 6, when she won a short-story writing contest sponsored by the public library in her hometown. She founded Company B in 2008 to deliver Public Relations, Social Media and Branded Content. Today, she tells smart stories for consumer brands that captivate and engage. She’s also famous for giving great gifts. Tweet @bonniemorris.

Finding the Right Job Fit: Large vs. Small

Julie Cottineau gives her top tips from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin in this post, “Finding the Right Job Fit: Large vs. Small” from our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

A question I often get from job-seekers is, “What are the trade-offs of working for a big vs. small company or agency?”

“Does size really matter?”

When deciding between a boutique ad agency, a global one, a major mass-marketer client or a small start up, there are definite pros and cons of each you should consider.

For example, if you have wanderlust, like I did a few years out of college, the bigger the better. I was fortunate enough to spend 3 of my 10-year tenure at Grey Global in the Paris office. This was an amazing, life-changing experience (I met my husband, who is French, while living there). Grey had a fairly established program of sending people around the globe. So while I did have to press to be one of the lucky ones chosen for an international assignment, the program was already well-oiled and very much in place.

I’ve also worked at small agencies when I was first starting out and have found several benefits in the boutique model as well.

These include: 1) access to senior mentors, 2) fewer layers often means more responsibility for juniors and, 3) participation in new business.

On our pitches the entire agency got involved instead of just a small select new business team, and I learned a ton.

But my wisest piece of advice to help alleviate some of the worry over the debate of small vs. large is to prioritize these two more important factors: 1) What account am I working on, and 2) Who am I working for?

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These two factors are more important then the number of employees listed in the directory. A dynamic brand- one that you are really passionate about, even at a relatively small, up and coming Agency or a start up, can teach you a lot and you will invest more time and energy into it – and this will shine through in interviews and your resume as your move on after a while to look for your next opportunity.

Also the right boss – someone who will invest in you, share their wisdom, give you tools, feedback and responsibility- in my opinion trumps any factors of big vs. small. It also doesn’t hurt if he/she also has had experience with both big and small Agencies – so you can benefit from both sides of the coin.

Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, gives you the strategies and tools you need to create a  personal and professional brand that’s a fit in any sized company. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also join us on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“It was great pulling everything together from touch points, to pillars. I would recommend Brand School to any small biz owner or entrepreneur.” – Sarah W., Entrepreneur

Agency vs. Client: What’s the Best Fit For You?

This post, Agency vs. Client: What’s the Best Fit For You? is another in our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. Julie Cottineau gives her top tips and shares insights from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

Here’a a question I get a lot:

Should I work for an Agency or a Brand?

This is a tough one. There is no one right answer. I’ve been lucky enough to work on both sides of the branding aisle and I think like most career paths, there is no right or wrong path. Just the path you choose.

But I can tell you that from my perspective, if you are interested in an agency role, it’s good to pursue this at the beginning of your career.

Agency jobs can be tough. The pay (especially at the beginning) is low and the hours are long. But, at the right Agency, you will learn a lot. So if you are interested in trying the Agency side, it’s often best to invest this time early in your career when normally you have less obligations (mortgage, spouse, kids) and can put in the long hours and be less concerned about the pay.

In contrast, the relatively shorter and more predictable hours of a client-side job can often fit your lifestyle better when kids enter the picture.

I also believe one benefit of working on the Agency side is that by being accountable to a client, you can learn a great deal about program management and meeting management skills. As an Assistant Account Executive at Grey, I learned how to be very buttoned-up. I had to make sure everyone was prepared for meetings and we weren’t wasting the client’s time. Agendas went out with meeting invites, materials were prepared and next steps were clearly outlined in meeting reports. This kind of discipline, learned early on, stayed with me and was helpful as I advanced through my career.

You can also learn this on the Client side, but often meetings are a bit more casual. At least this was my experience at Virgin- but also at many Clients that I worked for as an Agency partner.
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The other aspect that I loved about working on the Agency side was the exposure to different accounts and business challenges. You don’t always get that when you sign on early with a client that works in one category.

So there are a  lot of plusses about the Agency side, but here’s one tick in favor of a Client job…if you are really interested in the business side of marketing you will likely learn more about this if you are on the Client side. This isn’t to say that Agency people don’t do a good job of learning about their Client’s businesses. They do. But in my experience, no matter how close an Agency partner is, its still not the same as being on the inside and hearing first hand all of the business and financial conversations – and being truly held accountable for business results.

My 5 + years at Virgin was like getting my MBA. I became much more comfortable and familiar with different business terms and business models. I saw first hand the impact of different marketing decisions. From a much closer perspective than I ever had on the Agency side. I also learned how to be more accountable for my creative ideas. I couldn’t propose solutions that were going to cost a lot without thinking about how we would make the cost up in additional revenue. This might sound like a constraint, but it actually made me make sure my creative ideas were more sound, and in turn, they had a better chance of being implemented.

So what’s the right fit for you? It’s hard to say. One way to make the choice is to think about where you see yourself in 5-10 years. If you have any ambitions of someday starting your own business, then I would say it’s really important to get some experience on the Client side. Even if you have an MBA from a top school – there’s really no substitute for in market experience.

And if you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or are already building a business, our highly effective, premier branding program, Brand will give you the insight and tools you need to get the job done. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“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