Commit to Continual Learning

It’s my final tip in the 13 Tips for Stronger Branding blog series! On behalf of BrandTwist, thank you so much for reading through the posts, and following me on Twitter and Facebook as I posted about all of them. Now, for the final tip…

TIP #13: COMMIT TO CONTINUAL LEARNING 

Branding is as much an art as a science. Even the most skilled brand professionals can benefit from continual learning and challenging themselves mentally. After all, trends in social media and technology are all constantly evolving. Why shouldn’t we? Whether you are just starting out on your branding journey, or have a well-established brand, everyone can use a boost in today’s hyper competitive markets.

Participate in webinars, take classes provided by industry education leaders like General Assembly or Skillshare. Even attending meet ups or networking events organized through your company or in fields you’re curious about are key to your professional development. The growth you do doesn’t need to break the bank, and online learning can be an efficient and effective way to brush up on your d branding skills. You don’t need to spend a fortune on travel or take extra-long breaks at the office. Commit to one hour a day – probably the length of that TV show on Bravo you record on your DVR at home. Take that hour on your lunch break; multitask if you have to. After all, the great entrepreneurs do it. You could be one of them.

IT’S TIME TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL – BRAND SCHOOL

For more actionable strategies, sign up for Brand School, the highly effective, premier program that  teaches you how to grow your business  by building a stronger brand. From bull’s eye targeting to strategic social media and more, Brand School shares current best practices from Virgin and the world’s best brands and shows you how to apply that knowledge to your own business for greater impact from day one.

Learn more HERE.

“Through Julie’s feedback I learned critical information about my demographic audience, what I was trying to say with my story, and what I stood for.” – Lynn Stull, Owner Arts2Thrive

Add a Fresh Twist

This post is part of our series, “Thirteen Tips For Stronger Branding.” See the rest of the series HERE.

 TIP #12: INNOVATE NEW BRAND IDEAS BY ADDING A FRESH TWIST

Fresh ideas come from looking at old problems from new perspectives. If you are only looking at and thinking about what your competition is doing, chances are you will stay in the same rut and not come up with anything new or exciting. You need to look at old challenges from new angles.

A few years back I was at an airport and saw a 747 with McDonald’s golden arches on the tail fin. I started to imagine what this McDonald’s airline would be like. I imagined it would be a good value, family friendly and most importantly it would have flexible options in terms of how I bought my ticket and any upgrades – allowing me to supersize my experience to a seat with more leg room or special menu options. As it turns out, this airline was just a figment of my imagination. It was the reflection of the neon sign in the food court on the window, and there happened to be a plane parked behind the window on the tarmac. So while it was just imaginary, it led to the very real practice of TWISTING brands in different categories to come up with new ideas. (That’s actually why I named my company BrandTwist.)

Consumers don’t live in a one-category world. For example, they make note of great customer service experiences across airlines, retail stores, dry cleaners, fast food, fine dining, taxi cabs, doctor’s offices, personal trainers…you name it. So as marketers we should constantly be looking at the larger brandscape for inspiration. A great way to leverage lateral thinking for your own brand is to imagine what a beloved brand (in a different category) would do if it took over your business. How would this brand use its brand DNA to innovate in your market?  Twist an inspirational brand (ex. Virgin, Zappos, Starbucks, Apple) with yours and see the impact it can have in creating fresh ideas for your business today.

Check out tip #13 in the series, Commit to Continual Learning.

BRAND SCHOOL CAN HELP YOU ADD THE TWIST YOU NEED

…After all, that’s what it’s designed to do.

Julie Cottineau, the former VP of Brand for Richard Branson’s Virgin, and entrepreneur and a branding expert responsible for countless small business and personal branding makeovers, has created Brand School, the highly effective, premier program to help you grow your business and perfect your brand at the same time.

Receive more information about the next semester and free brand-building tools and tips when you join the BrandTwist mailing list.

“Brand School was engaging and helpful to me in learning more about myself and my business. Results came amazingly quick. Now, my brand name speaks my message immediately and I’ve expanded my reach.” – Lynn Stull, Owner Arts2Thrive 

Engage in the Conversation

This post is part of our series, “Thirteen Tips For Stronger Branding.” See the rest of the series HERE.

en·gage 
v.
 en·gageden·gag·ingen·gag·es
1. To involve oneself or become occupied; participate: engage in conversation.

It’s not enough to talk to a few loyal fans and followers on social media. You must really engage: it’s the only way to get ahead. Read on for another tip that will help you engage better.

TIP #11: ENGAGE IN THE CONVERSATION

Stop observing and start participating. Curious about Pinterest? Create a page and start pinning. Set up a Twitter account, follow those you can learn from, comment on and Retweet other users’ content. Start small; the important thing is that you get in on the conversation. You don’t have to start your own blog, but you should comment on blogs that you read and find relevant. This simple act can help drive traffic back to your site – and may even lead to valuable and enriching professional relationships.

What simple tips have you used to grow your business? Let me know in the comment section or on Facebook.

Check out tip #12 in the series, Innovate New Brand Ideas by Adding a Fresh Twist.

ENGAGE BETTER WITH A STRONGER BRAND THROUGH BRAND SCHOOL

Brand building is one of the single most important things you can do to grow your business but it takes expertise, energy and investment. Julie Cottineau, the Applegate Network’s Small Business Branding Expert and the former VP of Brand for Richard Branson’s Virgin is here to show you how.

Brand School is the premier program for business owners and entrepreneurs who what to grow their business. Brand School takes best practices of beloved brands such as Virgin, Apple, and Zappos and teaches you how to apply their success to your business to build a stronger brand to drive business results. Brand School gives you engaging videos, interactive exercises and exclusive access to a private community of other entrepreneurs. Learn more about Brand School HERE.

“Julie was so generous and gave us so much depth.  I learned my core message and how to package and brand it so I could stand out from the crowd.” – Dr. Marina Kostina, Distance Learning Specialist, CEO of  wired@heart 

Hone Your Elevator Pitch

This post is part of our series, “Thirteen Tips For Stronger Branding.” See the rest of the series HERE.

TIP # 10: HONE YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH 

No matter what category your brand competes in, it’s becoming harder to stand out, since your potential customers are bombarded with so much information every day. That’s why it’s so important to have a really tight elevator pitch. It helps people “get” what you stand for right away and then quickly decide whether they want to learn more about your brand. Write down your pitch in no more than 250 words and continue to practice and perfect it. Start with one headline promise that highlights what your brand enables, not what you offer – and three support points. Rotate and freshen these points depending on your target audience, but be prepared to tell your story in 3 elevator flights, not 10 or even 30. Learn more about honing your elevator pitch here.

Check out tip #11 in the series, Engage In The Conversation.
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MAKE YOUR PITCH EVEN BETTER WITH BRAND SCHOOL 

Brand building doesn’t mean just designing a pretty logo and creating a cool name. It means choosing a bull’s eye target and defining your unique brand promise to connect with your consumers on an emotional level. Bottom line: you need to pay attention to your brand and perfecting your elevator pitch is a huge part of that.

Brand School’s premier branding program will help you zero-in on your brand.  Brand School takes best practices of beloved brands such as Virgin, Apple, and Zappos and brings them to life in engaging videos, interactive exercises and access to an exclusive private community of fellow entrepreneurs. Learn more about Brand School and find out about our special discounts just for social media friends when you sign up for our newsletter.

“I highly recommend tis class to anybody, to both those who have been in business for a long time, and those just starting out because it will put your business on a different level.” – Dr. Marina Kostina, Distance Learning Specialist, CEO of  wired@heart

Make Your Brand Personal

This post is part of our series, “Thirteen Tips For Stronger Branding.” See the rest of the series HERE.

TIP #9: MAKE YOUR BRAND PERSONAL 

Most successful entrepreneurs – think Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, or the founder of TOMS shoes, Blake Mycoskie – started their businesses because they were trying to find solutions to issues that were personally meaningful to them. I’m going to tell you something that may strike a cord with some of you. If you’re not working at that something that really matters to you, then stop doing it. Seriously, just stop.

There will be a limit to how much you can solve issues for your customers, if you just don’t care that much. Conversely, if you have something that really bugs you as a consumer, think about creating a business or product that can solve this issue. This is a key sign that it’s time to turn your pet peeve into a business. Read more about how to make your hobby your business here.

Successful entrepreneurs also spend time managing their personal brands and leveraging them to support their professional credibility. Richard Branson’s daring stunts (like crossing the Atlantic in a hot air balloon) help re-inforce the image of Virgin as a challenger brand. Like professional brand building, your personal brand needs management. Figure out what you want to achieve for yourself and your business and then create a plan for how to get there. Do you want to have more exposure? Boost your credibility? Gain more confidence to speak in front of larger audiences? Feel more comfortable charging more for your services? All of this takes deliberate effort. Perform a careful analysis on the brand of YOU. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and create a plan on how to continue to build your assets, close any credibility gaps and personally support your business.

Check out tip #10 in the series, Hone Your Elevator Pitch.

PERSONALIZE YOUR BUSINESS WITH BRANDTWIST

Brand School is the premier program that teaches you how to grow your business by growing a stronger brand. Brand School takes best practices of beloved brands such as Virgin, Apple, and Zappo’s and brings them to life in engaging videos, interactive  exercises and exclusive access to a private community of other entrepreneurs. Learn more about Brand School and receive updates when you sign up for our newsletter HERE

“Motivational! I’ve given recommendations to several clients about Brand School.” –  Liz Osting, Founder Herculiz Design