Julie Cottineau

Posts by Julie Cottineau

Fall TWISTing Tips

Four Tips to TWIST and Grow Your Brand this Fall

This is my favorite time of year, crisp sunny days, changing leaves, crackling fires and football. It’s also a time when many of us experience a slowing down in our brand building- sort of a seductive pre-winter lull into laziness. The early excitement of “back to school” and “back to business” after the mellower days of summer, can often give way to a “hey, it’s almost the holidays, not much is going to happen” business building hibernation.

But Fall is the perfect time to flex your branding muscles – and develop some new and exciting TWISTS for your business.

Here are four of my favorite tips to keep your profits growing, as the leaves begin to fall. You can take some brand building tips from favorite Fall activities like Football, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Apple Picking.

  1. Build your Fantasy Brand Team

If you are an avid sports fan like I am you may have experienced the excitement of creating an ideal fantasy football team. You get to assemble your own dream squad by picking the best players from across the whole league to “field” as a newly invented team. Well why not create a fantasy brand squad? Reach out to the “star players” in areas that complement your own expertise. Explore new ways to collaborate and support one another. You can be the quarterback calling the plays – moving the chains through teamwork.

2. Carve out time for Creativity

I admit Halloween has gotten a bit crazed and often too commercial. All the candy fueled hoopla and rush to find the perfect costume often gives me a “whopper” of a headache. But if you can manage past all that, there’s also a positive side. Halloween is a terrific time for kids (of all ages) to tap into our creativity and get inspired by all the magical, mystical things around us. It’s also a time for trying out new personas through dressing up and letting our hair down for at least one night of the year. Take it a step further an imagine what your brand would dress up as if they could choose a Halloween costume? What’s their alter ego? What elements of their personality would they like permission to explore more? For example, if your brand is about helping women achieve healthier skin, imagine how they would take that to the next level if they could dress up as the “Wonder Woman” of skincare. What products and messages would you take to the next level if your brand were a superhero?

3. Show Clients you are Thankful

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and it’s a great time to start to say thank you to your clients and customers. Whether you are a life coach, marketing consultant, personal trainer or a candle maker. Your business only survives (and thrives) because there are people out there who are willing to choose your brand out of all the many options available. Why not take a minute to say thanks? Here are 10 ways to say thank you to your clients this holiday.

4. Create Crisp Experiences

I love apple picking. It’s a Columbus Day ritual in my house. Get the kids into the car and drive an hour to a farm where we pay money to do the labor of picking our own apples. I know I can get the same apples (minus the car ride, and the surcharge) at my neighborhood supermarket. But that’s not the point. The point of apple picking is the experience. It’s being out in the sunshine with other families, sampling the cinnamon donuts and hot apple cider for sale at the farm, maybe even picking a pumpkin or taking a tour on the hayride. The strongest brands aren’t selling products, they are selling experiences. And often these experiences have become rituals. To be an effective brander, you also need to get out from behind your desk and immerse yourself in innovative brand experiences. We recommend Brand Safaris as a great way to do this and to see why every touch point in your brand experience matters. Think about how you can create some rituals around your product or service that will enhance your customer’s experience. Maybe it’s a simple as creating your own annual fall event (virtual or IRL) where you invite your customers and prospects to participate a bit deeper in your process: give their opinion, create a new product or service, or come out and network in the crisp autumn air.

If you’ve enjoyed any of these TWISTING tips, you can find even more ways to strengthen your brand in our best-selling book “TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands”.  

I’d love to hear how fall inspires you to TWIST.

Skin care meets Technology, what a TWIST!

This entry welcomes a guest blogger, 2018 summer intern Alexa Reith. 

Going through the teenage years is hard enough but having to deal with acne makes it 100 times worse. It is a known fact that at least 85% of teenagers struggle with acne. It is also a known fact that no teenager wants acne!

There are many products on the market that promise amazing results, but unfortunately most don’t deliver. The skin care aisle is full of a variety of acne treatments: Cleansers, toners, spot treatments, face masks, and moisturizers, just to name a few. While some may be focused on teens, most of them are general, not designed for a person’s particular skin type. All these products leave teens asking the same question: Which product will work for me…and can I afford it?

I found a simple answer to this question and uncovered an interesting TWIST in the process. The product is: Curology.

Curology is a both an affordable acne treatment AND it’s specially designed for your skin. The company TWISTs personalized skin care with technology. You sign up on the website, curology.com, and send in a picture of your face. Curology then creates a specially designed formula designed to work on your skin, and the cream is shipped to your house in a branded bottle. In another fantastic brand TWIST, it comes in a personalized package that reminds you that this isn’t your generic acne treatment.

To top off the experience, Curology makes dermatologists available online in case a customer has any questions. Skin care meets Technology, what a TWIST!

One of my friends, Gloria, used this product for six months and now her skin is crystal clear! She said that one of her favorite things about the product is that “It is specially designed for your skin which makes it more likely to work.”

This is Gloria’s skin before (left) and after (right). As you can see Curology worked wonders for her.








At $30 every two months, this is a treatment that even a cash strapped teen can afford. By TWISTing a tailored experience with technology and personalized branding, Curology shines in a crowded market!

Alexa Reith is a senior in High School in Westchester NY, and served as BrandTwist’s summer intern in 2018.  She plans on majoring in marketing in college. She enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and spending time with family and friends! 

Top 5 Freedom Brands

Independence Day in the U.S.A. is a time to salute our founding fathers and mothers and take a moment to celebrate the birth of our great country…and of course consume way too many hot dogs and too much coleslaw and beer.

[sc:optinbox]But while enjoying these important festivities, I think there is something else we should salute.


Not just Brands in general, but Brands that give us freedom. Products and services that allow us to do more, roam freely and achieve a certain level of independence and control over our lives.

Here are  my top 5 “Freedom Brands”, I’d love to hear yours.

(Cue the fireworks please)…

#1)  iPhone

#2)  Netflix

#3)  Google

#4)  Kindle

#5)  Spanx

#1)  iPhone: Like many of my BrandTwist readers, I also have a love/hate relationship with my  iPhone. However, I have to give credit where credit is due. No other brand in my life has given me such a degree of flexibility and freedom.

Being an Entrepreneur Can Be Lonely – But It Doesn’t Have to Be

woman working

Solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and small business owners end up spending a lot of time alone, immersed in running their business, working from home or by themselves in an office – and it can be lonely and draining. A highly effective way to break out of the solitary rut is to spend some time at the latest trend in workspace innovation – shared workspaces.

I urge you to check out venues like the Stamford Innovation Center. You’ll be able to interact, exchange ideas with others, and soak up inspiration in beautiful environments that will support you and keep you and your business in the brand-building zone.

Many of these workspace venues offer educational workshops that allow you to interact with like-minded business owners determined to take their brands to the next level. At each workshop participants share their enthusiasm, creative ideas and positive feedback.

To learn more about the effectiveness of in-person workshops, please check out this article, Twist Up Your Space – Wake Up Your Brand.

And, if you’re in the Greater New York City area, please JOIN US at one of our workshops. These interactive workshops will get you ready to launch into high gear with practical advice and tools you can start using that very day. We’ll show you how to:

▪   Create an achievable plan to grow your brand

▪   Reach your most valuable customers

▪   Generate fresh ideas – with a twist!

▪   Connect with like-minded entrepreneurs for powerful results

Sign up for our mailing list to receive word of upcoming Workshops, Brand School Master Class and a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session.




Five Brand-Marvelous Ideas for Mother’s Day

It can be challenging to come up with a gift idea that is thoughtful, meaningful, fun and unique for mom on Mother’s Day. We’re here to help! Check out these brands we love, and that mom will love receiving.

Box up a bundle of goodies with a Birchbox  It’s difficult for active mothers to get into stores to sample new products. So why not make it easier for her and bring those samples directly to mom’s door? Birchbox does just that. Birchbox bundles several samples of cosmetics, skin care items, bath, beauty and lifestyle products all into a beautiful Birchbox and delivers it directly to mom’s doorstep. (and they have a line for men too… Father’s Day is right around the corner! Check out the men’s Birchbox in our Father’s Day post ) Read more about what we feel drives the success of the Birchbox brand here.


Hire a rabbit to take on a task with Taskrabbit – A mom’s life is busy, busy, and… did we say busy? There’s always some task that she doesn’t have time to complete. She would really appreciate a helping hand. TaskRabbit is all about getting the job done.  This company has experts in just about every field who are ready to take on mom’s request, and as their tagline promises, to help mom go “From To-Do, to Done.” Interested in how Taskrabbit built a succesful brand? Read more here.


Ch-ch-ch-changes through chocolate! Chocolate is always a welcomed gift, but when it’s fun, meaningful and connects you to the world, it’s even better.  Each sweetriot chocolate candy purchase supports sustainable cocoa farming, native and local farmers, and the emerging artists community by featuring works that embrace sweetriot’s culture on the candy wrappers. A sweetriot gift purchase does more than simply satisfying mom’s chocolate craving. Want to know more about the secret to sweetriot’s sweet branding success? Read about it here.


Take mom on a fabulous get-away –  Treat mom to a fabulous weekend away full of local flavor by celebrating at a unique hotel. Discover a new city together – and build memories that will last a long time. The  Provenance Hotels are a great boutique collection that offer wonderful decor and  authentic local touches in some very cool US cities. How can your brand cash in on the trend to hyper local? Read more here.


Support mom in growing her business. Is your mother an entrepreneur, small business owner, artist, performer, or freelance contractor? Here’s a way to help her take her business and brand to the top! Brand School is our highly effective, premier branding program that will give her the tools and insight she needs to grow a stronger personal, career or business brand. To get more information about the next session and a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session, please click HERE.