A Sipping Selfie TWIST

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 Selfies are how Millennials share their lives – and normally this is a “commercial free” zone – but how can brands add just the right meaningful and useful TWIST to become a part of their story?

Here’s an innovative selfie TWIST from Coca-Cola Israel for the Coca-Cola Summer Love campaign, Israel’s largest outdoor brand event. Coca-Cola noticed that their consumers were taking a lot of photos, but not photos that included their product. So they came up with a selfie picture- taking bottle. The drinker tips the bottle up to 70-degree angle it snaps a photo, that shows the bottle and consumer taking a sip. These photos can be shared on Coca-Cola’s Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Users can tag themselves and friends to spread the news of the event.

Look for TWISTS that bring customers deeper into the experience of your brand and inspire them to share and help keep your product, service or business on the social radar.

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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.

A Tasty Tiffany Eye-Worthy TWIST

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Tech-savvy Generation Z’s and Millennials’ use social media to communicate and spread the word about what excites them, what they enjoy and brands they love. If a brand wants to get noticed, providing an “eye-worthy” TWIST is key to making it into Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Restaurants have learned this as gastronomy is becoming a favorite way for GenZ’s and Millenial’s to spend their money. Some restaurants have redesigned interiors and services to be more “Instagram-friendly”.  Some offer discounts in return for social media reviews or limited-time specials, like this eye-catching TWIST: The Peninsula Bangkok hotel TWISTED with Tiffany’s to create a Tiffany Afternoon Tea that includes handcrafted, jeweled, sweet delicacies inspired by the Tiffany brand’s jewelry and iconic blue box.

Says Wanda Pogue, chief strategy officer at Saatchi & Saatchi New York, in Luxury Daily, “… From a ‘grammed brunch with friends to a Cronut that they waited an hour in line for, they get a great story to share and an emotional payoff that is as big, if not bigger than what traditional luxury goods provide  — but without the big financial investment.”

Are you offering your customer’s “word of eye” enticements to help spread the word about your brand or business?

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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.

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.

4 Unconventional Ways to Build Buzz Around Your Brand

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With everyone sharing, tweeting and updating as much as they can, how can your business stand out? How can you draw your customer in and build buzz around your brand?

Advertising streams and social channels are loaded with quality content, information, inspiring quotes and the newest tips to make life better, but consider that consumers are looking for even more than that. Customers want to be actively connected with your business and be a part of what makes your brand unique.  We’ve taken a look at four surprising ways that some clever brands have twisted their social media campaigns and gone beyond the usual hashtags to cut through the static, draw in brand followers and make a memorable impression in a crowded market.

Read on to find our four unconventional tips.

1. GIVE RECOGNITION TO YOUR FANS 

If you’ve got people discussing your brand, give them some props! Go beyond re-blogging, retweeting, liking, commenting, and following back. One of the beautiful things about social media is that it allows you to reward followers with recognition – and they, in turn, will reward you with circulating your kindness throughout their social communities. Consider what Taco Bell’s doing: sending a gift package to fans that reach out to them. This strategy can be especially effective when marketing to teens and other very enthusiastic users of social media. Depending on your budget, it can be as grand as tickets to a concert or show or as simple as a photo, badge, sticker or certificate.

2. GET WEIRD 

One reliable way to get noticed is by behaving in a way followers would not expect from you. Get a little weird! It’s important not to go off brand on this, so it’s vital to think about where your brand fits, and whether or not it could stand a little weirdness added to it. If your brand sells a sweet soda or drink, sure, be funny! If you’re a health insurance company, this approach may not be on par with your business’ tone of voice.

If you’re wondering where to start with this approach, start with asking: where do people want to be amused? This can be a lot of fun! You could be inspired by Old Spice and transform yourself into a super character who answers questions from his adoring fans. The point is to add a little whimsy to your brand to entertain and delight your followers.

3. CROWDSOURCE A DECISION 

One great way to engage your fans and build buzz is to let them in on a decision. Ask them how to solve or fix a problem, to name a new product or service, or even something as small and inconsequential as a color scheme.

Take the Lego brand, for example. It has had a long-standing tradition of innovation, as well as sharing that innovation with their fans, young and old. And as Lego began to become more aware of the amount of adult fans they have attracted over the years, they believed it would be engaging to implement some of these fans’ ideas into their target market of children. Then, in 2005, the Lego Ambassador Program was created, which has allowed the company and its fans to continue connecting with each other, also creating a win-win situation for both Lego and their customers.

Open to new ideas, technologies and potential business partnerships, the Lego Group’s program gave a new meaning to the term “user-generated content”, meaning that not everything needs to be created internally. Because they paid attention to fans, the brand has discovered and implemented new ways to reach new markets without having to sustain long-term fixed costs. And as for the fans, working together with one of the most well-known brands of their childhood gives them the opportunity to influence Lego’s business decisions.

Your followers will be thrilled to participate in the decision-making process and love feeling like they have a say in what happens with their favorite brand. At the end of the process, don’t forget to loop back to #1 and give them recognition for all their hard work!

4. SPOTLIGHT EMPLOYEES

As you may already know, your employees are going to be your business’s greatest assets. Just like your customers, when employees’ needs are met it helps to keep a business running successfully. And if they’re happy enough, you can turn your loyal employees into valuable brand advocates. Considering the fact that regular employees have more credibility than CEOs themselves, many consumers are more likely to trust personal recommendations than they are ads. With this in mind, it’s vital to ensure that your employees are representing your brand in the most positive way.

According to Duncan Gilman, Dean of Students at Spalsh Media U, it doesn’t necessarily have to take a lot to get an employee excited about doing social media for your brand. In fact, he actually managed to create a “spy game” out of it. The objective of the game is to discover five online mentions of the brand, and the first person to find the five wins. In addition to highlighting the importance of social media listening, it also gives your employees a deeper understanding of the brand’s online reputation.

Using these mentions, a brand can re-share and repurpose the content circulating it across their own channels. Brands benefit when their employees start the initial wave on social media, and having your employees take the time to explore the brand in a fun and engaging way to do it is one of the best ways for consumers to become familiar with you. Furthermore, social engagement helps to build pride among team members. If they are proud of what their brand stands for, they will be more inclined to share. And, it’s always a good idea to consider putting an employee social media policy in place.

Simply put, if your employees are performing well and are keeping customers happy, then it’s important to recognize them for their achievements. Keeping motivation high within your team is essential and even the smallest rewards can go a long way.

UNCONVENTIONAL BRINGS INNOVATION 

In the crowded world of social media, everyone is competing for limited views. There are only so many words that a user will read every day, but by trying these TWISTS, your brand can navigate the waters of social media anonymity and build some real buzz! Happy tweeting!

From Social Media to Intellectual Property Law to Taglines and Photographic Content, see what our expert team of Brand School Faculty Advisors can do for your business and brand. Learn about our next semester and see if your business qualifies for our one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session HERE.

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See more entries in our social media blog series HERE.

About the Author:

Dave Landry is an online journalist, personal finance counselor, and entrepreneur in Southern California. When he is not sharing his advice on debt management, he enjoys writing about social media marketing, the impact of business globalization on the global economy, business communications, and technology.

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

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