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

Walk Your Talk by Living Your Brand Promise Every Day

Last week we talked about the importance of Transcending the Ordinary, the issue is though that it can’t end with one idea or one-touch point. It’s critical that you are living and breathing your TWIST. That’s why this week I’m sharing two brands who walk the talk.

What does “Walk the Talk” mean?

Brands that “Walk the Talk”  are brands that live their brand values – they don’t just talk about them, they bring them to life through their actions and behaviors. Employees are a key touch point for the brand and important brand ambassadors.

REI is a great brand to visit on a BrandTwist  Safari. It has many touch points which help set this brand apart and are on proud display in the stores, in walking the talk. One of the brand missions of REI is “dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship”. They showcase this in the store, but also share it with the “employee in action” wall. This is a whole wall of photos showcasing employees participating in outdoor activities.

 REI BrandTwist Brand Safari Brand Inspiration

Do you walk the talk even when it’s the opposite of what everyone else is doing?

One of the most publicized ways they speak to that mission is the award winning #OptOutside campaign. Instead of opening their doors on Black Friday (or even Thanksgiving) they forgo the sales and urge not only customers, but employees to go outside. This also speaks to their business model. In 1938 REI launched, and in their own words they chose to begin a “consumer co-op, rather than a publicly-traded company, enables us to focus on the long-term interests of the co-op and our members. We answer to you—our members—and run our business accordingly.”

Do you and your employees walk the talk?

To really ingrain this experience at every touch point it starts with employees. Microsoft, for example, starts every morning with the Microsoft team doing a “Stand Up” meeting where they get the employees excited for the day- sort of a pep rally based on the brand values. And they end the day with a similar “Stand Down” meeting- recognizing and celebrating the positive on-brand behaviors of the team members during the day, and no doubt discussing how to continuously improve.

 How can your business be inspired by great brands like Microsoft and REI to “Walk the Talk”? Are you brand values celebrated front and center? Are you and your team living them every day?

TWIST Book Julie Cottineau

Small Business Brand TWISTS – Dr. Tim Aquatics

Dr. Tim runs an aquarium supply company and has an impressive list of professional credentials including a Ph.D. in ecology, evolution and marine biology. Before Brand School, the “about me” section of his website was a laundry list of academic degrees, published articles, industry titles and honors, but it practically required a Ph.D. to read and understand it.

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 4.17.42 PM

The problem?

His ideal target included regular “Joe” aquarium enthusiasts who are looking for support in keeping their aquariums healthy and vibrant. Through the work Tim did in Brand School, he transitioned his brand idea from “science-based solutions” to “success at any level.” He now deliberately presents a less intimidating, more welcoming user experience (complete with an interactive recipe TWIST – think of your favorite Food Network show) where buyers feel more at ease to interact with the brand and ask more questions.

unnamed

Do you see the difference this personal and authentic TWIST adds?

 

It makes his brand more approachable, more relatable, and more likely to attract the amateur aquarium enthusiast who might be turned off by a brand that seems too scientific and overly authoritative.

“Before Brand School, we were more a ‘science’ brand but now the brand is about being a natural fish care company.  That was common with dogs and cats but we were the first with fish. The products, liquids, and fish food are natural and that resonates with consumers who see fish and an aquarium as a slice of nature in their home.”

That wasn’t the only way Tim used the TWIST lessons he learned in Brand School. They also used a TWIST to overcome objections when launching a new product.

 

“We had developed the first 100% natural, non-GMO fish food but a possible roadblock was the customer had to make it themselves which takes only 5 minutes to make a month’s worth of food.  So we twisted that possible negative – “Oh, I have to make the fish food” into a positive “ Really, I can make my own fish food”  by adding our EXTRAS which are various additions (think of them as spices) that one adds to food to customize it for their fish.”

“The EXTRAS come in pepper grinders so the consumer literally ‘twists’ the EXTRAS into the food before placing the food in the freezer to gel. This makes the food easy to demonstrate and you see the smile on people’s faces as they instantly see this is fun and not hard at all.  We even had a major store in NJ have their clerks dress up as cooks and demo the fish food – it’s a great YouTube video”.

Tim now has a powerful understanding of how to use TWISTS in his brand, but it he admits it wasn’t always easy.

 

“Initially it was hard to maintain focus and concentrate on running everything through the pillars but, as with most things, the more you do it the easier it gets and, this is the surprise, it actually makes it easier to make decisions. It if doesn’t fit – it’s out.”

“You have to trust the process. It was such a great experience for me. Though, after delving in, doing the work is hard. There is resistance, but having access to Julie with the one-on-one meetings helped to move the needle so we can continue in breaking through with a more creative flair to our brand. I’m so grateful I went through it.”

A Twist That Cleans Up

Q

What do janitors have to do with James Bond 007? Not a lot – that is, until now.

Friends Dan Teran and Saman Rahmanian were perplexed by a common problem faced by start-ups- office spaces could never adapt as quickly as the companies needed them to. It was such a pain to set up a new workspace, move a wall, order new desk chairs, or bring in an exterminator. They brainstormed and imagined the dream office manager as something like the character Q in James Bond films, a quiet genius who understands technology and creates the tools that help Bond do his work. That was how Managed by Q was conceived.

Reading the New York Times article, “Managed by Q’s ‘Good Jobs’ Gamble,” I was struck by how Teran and Rahmanian’s thought process mirrored the BrandTwist technique of twisting with a brand completely outside of a company’s category to come up with disruptive differentiating ideas. With the tagline “We make it easy to run your office,” Q uses wall-mounted iPads with an intuitive app for ordering supplies or other services. Q takes care of all the details, quietly and quickly. Specific operators are matched with companies based upon an algorithm determining best fit for clients’ needs in terms of skills and personality traits.

This TWIST warrants premium fees for what is often considered a generic service with a bonus of supporting one of the company’s core values. While actual sharing in the “sharing economy” is rare, Q’s goal is to provide its employees with a living wage. Q’s business model, hiring full-time employees with fair pay, benefits, 401Ks and training, translates to lower turnover costs of employees and clients- reducing both hiring and marketing expenses. Clients are happy to have consistent, reliable support. And the awesome employees, traditionally viewed as pure cost on the P&L statements, are considered value-added embedded salespeople for Q’s higher margin services.

I am rooting for Q to succeed, as this is a win-win for everyone! Now it is your turn. Can you think of a problem facing your sector? Is there a brand in a completely different category whose approach could be TWISTED to turn your sectors negative into a positive? We always love to hear your feedback.

About the Author:

Randi-SA

Randi Curhan is founder of MissionBoostConsulting.com, specializing in helping you figure out what you really need to do to bring your business to the next level, get projects off the plate, and get it done. A Wharton graduate, former Goldman employee and an MBA, Randi is also a Brand School Graduate and a member of the Brand School Facutly.  Randi’s love of figuring sh** out and getting it done has always made her a valuable part of teams throughout her academic and professional life. Even while taking time “off” to raise her children, Randi was the one to set up fundraising systems, databases, email invitations and graphics for events – which was the beginning of her Mission Boost Consulting.

You can reach Randi via MissionBoostConsulting.com, on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Interested in guest blogging for BrandTwist? Contact jamie@herculiz.com.

 

 

 

 

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

v

v

v

v

v

v

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.