How to Represent Your Brand at Big Events

In May I was asked to be a part of two amazing events with strong (and unique) brand experiences. First I stopped by the Business and Burgers segment during the Newfronts with Entrepreneur TV to talk TWISTS and burgers. The next day I headed to Northern California to join Tyra Banks at Stanford Graduate School of Business to talk TWISTS for personal branding.

Representing Your Brand on stages like Entrepreneur and Stanford Graduate School of Business

I think you’ll agree, both of these events had their own unique and very strong brand experiences, and in both cases, multiple large brands were involved. In events like these, the challenge becomes how do you make sure YOUR brand connects and stands out?

It all comes down to three Rs…

  • Research
  • Represent
  • Repeat

Let’s talk research.

For years we’ve heard about the importance of doing your “homework”, but for many business owners they skip over doing it before these types of events, and this is where you can lose some important brand leverage.

Before both events, I was in continuous contact with the teams putting on the events so I could know not only the details and expectations, but also how I could best support the event, and the event leaders.

By connecting with them before the event and digging in on my own research I was able to do two very important things.

First I was able to offer relevant recommendations that could help the event and hosts. This allows me to stand out to them, and that’s valuable not only the day of the event or for future events, but for possible partnerships in the future.

Stanford Graduate School of Business Brand TWIST exercise

The second thing it allows me to do is over deliver for the audience. I know exactly who they are before I entered the room and that allows me to make sure my content is directly targeted at them. I am able to make sure they hear it and remember it.

This research can happen right up until you go on stage. Before the Business and Burgers segment, I asked the guest chef about the burger and what the TWIST was. This allowed me to highlight the great burger and talk TWISTING. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t taken the time to ask a few quick questions. In case you are curious, it was a pinch of cinnamon added to the lamb burger. YUM!

Let’s talk represent

Representing your brand is more than carrying your card and handing it to everyone you meet. You’re a walking and talking example of your brand. This means you can be a constant visual reinforcement of your brand through wearing your brand colors, but also it means living your brand promise, so think not only about the color but the style as a whole.

Julie Cottineau and Tyra Banks talked Personal branding at Stanford Graduate School of Business

It’s also important to have collateral that represents your brand, and if you have a book – that gets really easy. I went back and forth about carrying books with me for the Business and Burgers events, and I’m glad I did. We ended up having one on the table during our chat. The same thing happened at Stanford. After the class, Tyra went live on Facebook with some students and held the book while sharing how she enjoyed it.

Remember this is all about being visual, what can you put in front of your audience’s eyes that will help them remember who you are? It doesn’t have to be a book, it can be a “report” of findings with your logo loud and proud on the cover.

Let’s talk repeat

One of the most important parts of Brand School is knowing your core brand message, and that’s because knowing that allows us to build everything else. I don’t think you’ll be surprised to know that for me it always comes back to the TWIST.

Julie Cottineau looks for the brand TWIST in a burger

That’s why during my time at Business and Burgers I asked about the TWIST in the burger. I also complimented the hosts on their own unique TWISTS – revving up business content with engaging cooking tips and, fun to eat, delicious (messy) burgers! It allowed me to have another place in the conversation to talk TWISTS. Even better was a way for me to talk about my core message, without just talking about me. It allowed me to highlight that you can find the TWIST in anything.

You’ll also notice in the videos from Entrepreneur TV and Tyra Banks we use the word TWIST a lot because it’s all about repeating that brand message in new and creative ways so that you can connect with the people listening.

It’s important to remember though, my ability to repeat came from doing the research, and visually representing the BrandTWIST brand.

What tips to do you have to help your brand shine during important events? Share them here at our BrandTwist blog.

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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.

TWIST Your Elevator Pitch to Stand Out

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I finally established my full-time career coaching practice but my “elevator pitch” was far from stellar. There were dozens of other coaches saturating the landscape: life coaches, career coaches, purpose coaches, coaches for coaches… so how would I stand out? It was time to hone my elevator pitch, add a TWIST that would distinguish me from other coaches and be more compelling. When faced with skepticism or confused stares, how could I succinctly explain to people what I did for a living, and powerfully demonstrate my value in a less-than-two minute pitch?

And then, I happened to notice a TV commercial for a local gym. Actually, it hit me like a ton of bricks (or maybe a dumbbell): I’m like a fitness trainer, but for your job search and career development. What would it look like if I TWISTED my career coaching business with a gym instructor?

  • A fitness trainer guides you but you do the heavy lifting. I provide the guidance and outline the career roadmap, but my clients have to take the action themselves to achieve their professional goals.
  • A fitness trainer helps you to be fitter and more attractive. I help my clients polish their professional skills and appear more attractive to current bosses and prospective employers alike.
  • A fitness trainer boosts your confidence. I empower my clients to impress their colleagues at the next big meeting, or crush that important company-wide presentation, or ace their next job interview.
  • A fitness trainer helps you increase your speed and agility. I help my clients achieve their professional goals more efficiently, with less time spent on excuses and more time spent on action; I provide critical support and guidance to accelerate career progress and overcome past hurdles.
  • A fitness trainer is a waste of money if you’re not ready to hustle. I only work with clients who want to improve on their weaknesses and are willing to put in the work on a regular basis. Whether they want to level-up in their current company or switch careers entirely, the path to success often requires weeks or months of effort. It doesn’t happen overnight.

So, much like a fitness instructor, I provide a strategic mix of support and heavy-duty accountability, with a kick in the rear when it’s needed most. Now my elevator pitch has the TWIST to help my business get remembered, “Take a gym instructor and TWIST it with business goals and you have a career coach.”

About the author:

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David Wiacek is a NY-based, globally-minded career coach and copywriter. He helps squash his clients’ fears and brings back wonder into their professional lives. He also crafts catchy copy for businesses—both in print and online. Check out his work at davidthefixer.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.

Toys With A Life Saving Twist

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Organ donation can be an uncomfortable topic and for some countries, like Japan, it is a particularly sensitive area and rarely discussed. This gap in awareness means that many do not receive life-saving donations – and children, in particular suffer from a shortage of donors more than most of the population. Second Life Toys is an organization in Japan that’s using a clever and endearing TWIST to raise awareness about organ donation for children.

They take donations of loved but no longer needed, injured, used plush toys and perform “transplants”, making them whole again. This campaign not only raises awareness in general, but also helps children gain a better understanding about transplants in a way that they can instantly relate to, with the comfort of new-found toy friend.

When you become a “donor” and donate your own unwanted stuffed toys you’ll receive a letter of thanks from the “recipient” telling you how your donation has helped them.

Second Life Toys took a painful, taboo topic and TWISTED with a beautifully simple idea – re-furbish donated toys to explain and promote organ donation – to make a big impact and lessen the information gap.

Is there an information gap preventing your customer from understanding what your business or non profit has to offer? What beautifully simple item could you TWIST with that would make your customer feel more at ease?

Twist angle white

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.

Five Tips For An Effective Social Media Strategy

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When designing a social media strategy it is important to know what your goal is and who you are trying to reach. Read through these five tips to ensure that your strategy is a success:

KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. 

Before running a social media campaign it is vital for a business or organization to thoroughly understand their target demographic and keep in mind that they are selling emotion to their audience. A company that sells family cars wants to sell the image of being safe, reliable and secure so those emotions need to be conveyed within their social media campaign.

A company that runs an excellent social media campaign is Innocent Drinks and this is because (you guessed it) they know their target audience.

This UK company uses fresh fruit and natural ingredients in their juice/smoothie range and donates ten percent of their profits to charity. They regularly tweet pictures of wildlife and nature because they understand that their consumers are heath-conscious and eco-conscious people.

Another company that understands their target audience is Red Bull. Red Bull provides a boost of energy and caffeine that increases the heart rate, yet a cursory glance at their Facebook/Twitter pages tells us little about their actual products. Instead they post images of skateboarding, surfing, skydiving, snowboarding, wakeboarding and the other types of extreme sports they sponsor. This is to appeal to the athletes and adrenalin junkies who want a drink that can match their lifestyle.

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HOW TO MANAGE UPDATES? 

An effective social media campaign should involve regular updates throughout the day. “Content is King” but what that content is depends on the business itself. As a general rule, it is important for a business to keep up with news related to their niche. If the Grammy’s were approaching and a record company failed to tweet about it, they would not only look unprofessional but would be missing out on a huge opportunity to spark discussion. These trends aren’t just focused on current affairs and events but also on factors such as seasonal changes. During a recent heat wave in the UK, Innocent took to Twitter to give tips on how to turn their juices into delicious lolls (aka: ice pops). This is the perfect update as it is a friendly piece of advice that advertises the product and sparks discussion from those enjoying the weather.

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INTERACTION – FINDING YOUR BUSINESS VOICE. 

When customers respond to an update or ask a question then it is important for any company to reply as it strengthens the bond between company and consumer.

These interactions should always be polite in tone but the nature of the comments depends on the character of the business. Lets refer back to Innocent Drinks – on all of their products they write quirky jokes and random facts and they uphold this tongue-in-cheek attitude on their social media profiles. A specific online presence gives the company a human side that consumers can trust, thus a solid relationship is built. This online persona should stay the same across each social media platform.

Red Bull repliess to users on their Facebook and Twitter profiles and they often provide  links to extreme sports videos that their fans may be interested in.

It can even be beneficial to provide the occasional link to other websites. This helps to build company trust, and nothing is more tiresome than constant self-promotion. Providing these links may also lead to companies linking back to you in return.

CONSISTENCY, PRESENTATION AND PROOFREADING.

One thing that customers trust is consistency. A brand cannot suddenly change its image by using a drastically different font or speaking with a new tone of voice. Color is another factor to take into account; for example a page for Coca Cola shouldn’t contain more green than it does the colors they are known for, their logo colors of red and white.

Companies must be consistent in keeping track of what they have already posted; nothing screams “unprofessional” like reposting the same content too frequently or radically outdated content.

All content should contain immaculate spelling and grammar. Slang language is fine provided the character of the brand is informal but an unfortunate spelling or image mishap could cause great offence to an audience. A simple word could become a swear word or an innocent image could become not so innocent if there is something inappropriate happening in the background. Numerous companies have fallen into these traps and learned the importance of hiring a keen-eyed editor to scrutinise every image before publication. In cases where oversights have been made, an immediate apology is always the best option. Multiple companies have tried to deny mistakes and it has always backfired.

BE CAREFUL WHO YOU EMPLOY.

It is vital to employ the right people to take care of your social media campaign. A quick search on the Internet would bring up plenty of examples of employees who thought they were logged in to their personal social media accounts and ended up slandering the company in the company’s own account. This has taught companies to do thorough background checks on who they employ, taking time to call that person’s past employers and ensure that they are highly professional. And remember, who you employ speaks for your business. Your employees are the ultimate brand representative, so be sure they are a brand “fit”, understand your brand promise and are open to learning how you expect them to deliver on it.

Learning how to define your brand promise and your target customer are vital to defining your brand. In Brand School, the premier learning program for small businesses, non profits, and entrepreneurs, we cover how to do that and more. Find out how your business may benefit from Brand School HERE.

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See more entries in our social media blog series HERE.

About the author:

This article was written by Kimberley Thompson, copywriter at Gloc Media. Kimberley loves to write, travel, sing and spends her hours at the voice over recording studio.  On Twitter she’s KimThompsonUK.

If you would like to be a BrandTwist guest blogger, please contact Jamie@herculiz.com