Marketing Your Brand Throughout the Holidays

Marketing Your Brand Throughout the Holidays, from Alice Jenkins, gives 4 ways your business can make the most of the holiday season (or any season!) to make your brand stand out. This is another in our guest blogger seriesRead more about Alice in her bio below. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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Amidst the chaos that is the holiday season it can be tough to make your brand stand out among the rest. This doesn’t always require innovative creativity or a hefty marketing budget. For the businesses that don’t exactly have a million-dollar budget to air commercials, take up billboard space, and buy every piece of ad-space on the internet, the key to marketing your brand is variety. Here are four cost-effective ways to market your brand this holiday season that will both show good character and expose your brand to the masses:

1. Parades

If there is any kind of parade coming through your town you must be a part of it. Make it a point to get the employees together and build a float that plays off of your particular line of business. Holiday parades receive a relatively large amount of media coverage by their community and if you were to win an award for your float you could receive even more coverage.

2. Branded Item Giveaways

The holiday season is a time of giving. Let your customers know you appreciate their business by giving away a free branded gift with every purchase. For a business the most effective gifts for marketing are the ones that are directly useful during the holiday season. Branded ornaments to hang from the tree, branded pens to sign cards or gift tags with, probably the most underutilized promotional item of the winter; hand warmers. Read more about effective use of SWAG here.

3. Social Media/Website

Customize your webpage with a winter or holiday-themed background. Add mistletoe here, a few snowflakes there; remember your website is an extension of your place of business. Imagine if someone walked into your store and saw nothing to evoke holiday cheer. Constantly update your social media page and let your followers know the most recent deals, hours of business, and any other happenings.

4. Charity

So many businesses fail to see how well a charity fundraiser at their place of business can market their brand and attract new customers. Offer discounts to those who donate a certain amount of food or money to a philanthropy organization. It will establish great public relations for your brand and potentially lure new customers to your establishment.

Parades and social media may seem be the meat of the marketing plate here but don’t neglect the value of good public relations through charity and showing appreciation to your loyal customers with giveaways.

About guest blogger Alice Jenkins: 

Alice Jenkins is a marketing writer for the custom pens supplier, Pensxpress. She enjoys helping small businesses come up with new and innovative methods to get their brand out there amidst the holiday cheer. On Twitter she’s @alicejenkins37.

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Stand Out in a Bag Full of SWAG

Creative twists on how to make SWAG unique and our business get noticed. This entry, Stand Out in a Bag Full of SWAG, from Julie Hartwell, is another in our guest blogger seriesRead more about Julie in her bio below. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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Everyone loves free stuff. This idea was reinforced recently when I took my 11 year old nephew to the local county fair. There were carnival rides, games, sheep, pigs, and chickens. My nephew was politely interested in all these things but made it increasingly clear to me that he wanted to make sure we went to the Expo Center. It was full of businesses getting their brand out there. What did he want from this building? In a word: S.W.A.G. (Stuff We All Get). He couldn’t get enough branded business pens.

Often it doesn’t even matter who it’s from or what it is. If someone is giving you something with more utility than a brochure, you’ll most likely accept it and be happy. In this respect, pens are great, but you want to do more. Your SWAG needs to stand out as much as you want your business to.

A Case Study of a Successful SWAG Campaign:

Everyone expects to get T-shirts and beverage koozies from companies at promotional events. So is it any surprise that, when people receive average SWAG, it’s not at all exciting?

An analytics startup called Spinnakr realized this, and wanted to do things differently. When Twitter users tweeted about “Shades of Fame”, they would receive their own pair of branded shades in the mail soon after. This is what Spinnakr did right:

  1. It required a commitment on behalf of the potential customer to get the SWAG. It’s always better when you have to work for it right?
  2. Spinnakr used the SWAG to get recognition through social media. If you’re going to give away something for free, make sure you get a return on your investment.
  3. The SWAG was something their target consumers wanted. No one wants another refrigerator magnet. How about a pair of turquoise hipster shades? Umm, yes please!

Create your own SWAG

You’ve made the decision to create your own SWAG, and to do it differently. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make it useful! SWAG does no one any good if it is useless and forgotten.
  • Be mindful of the industry you are promoting. A cloud storage promoter probably wouldn’t give away branded thumb drives.
  • Be like Spinnakr: make the consumer work for it. You’d be surprised at what people will do for free stuff.
  • Go small for a big return. No one wants to carry a spare tire around with them. It will also help your bottom line; small is cheap.
  • Make sure your SWAG is in line with the ethics of your business. PETA wouldn’t give away leather bound notebooks.
  • Make your brand visible. Even branded underwear will get seen by one person if the brand is prominently displayed.
  • Turn your SWAG into SWAGGER! Be confident in your SWAG. Give yourself an outgoing brand personality. Enthusiasm is infectious, and will really transfer through to the consumer.

About guest blogger Julie Hartwell:

Julie Hartwell is a marketing consultant and fashionista who loves a good campaign almost as much as she loves free stuff. On Twitter she’s @JulieHartwell23.

See if your business qualifies for a BRAND HEALTH CHECK STRATEGY SESSION with Brand School founder Julie Cottineau:

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Lessons That I Learned From Virgin

To see more of our articles for  Women Business Owners Today (WBOT) click HERE.

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So excited to be on the cover of Women Business Owners Today e-zine! This edition focuses on everything from investing in you and your business, to how to manage your online reputation and engage your customers, to the the etiquette of the handshake. I’m deeply honored to be the featured cover story and in the company of so many gifted women offering amazing insight and helpful tips for business & entrepreneurs in this e-zine. I really enjoyed the interview and sharing my journey from working as V.P. of Brand for Virgin to becoming an entrepreneur and creating my own brand consultancy, BrandTwist and Brand School.

Learn how to rock your brand and business with a little inspiration from Richard Branson. Check out this edition of Women Business Owners Today e-zine and my cover story, “Lessons That I Learned from Virgin,” HERE.

Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, delivers the tools and steps you need to strengthen your brand and your connection to your customers. Get our free brand-building tips and receive access to updates about Brand School’s exclusive programs when you sign up for our newsletter at BrandSchoolOnline.com.

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Dutch Bros. Coffee: Brewers of Brand Personality

The Dutch Bros. brand has built a solid and enthusiastic customer base and gives takeaways that any business can start using to build up their following.  Read about guest blogger Chris Garrett in his bio below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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Founded in 1992 in Oregon, Dutch Bros. Coffee Company has become a giant in its market out West. As a simple drive-thru coffee stand, you wouldn’t expect a fervent following of their brand. But drive for 5 minutes in downtown Boise, Idaho and you’ll see a rash of Dutch Bros. bumper stickers gracing our cars. Out here, we love our Dutch Bros.- and here’s why.

WHAT’S THEIR ANGLE?

BRANDING SURFACES 

As a drive-thru, Dutch Bros. doesn’t have the opportunity to use in-house branding like custom wall murals, floor runners, or signage that most other enterprises rely on. Instead, they have embraced the philosophy that everything is a branding surface, especially their customers. With an online store full of desirable merchandise bearing their logos and catchphrases, often geared towards the ski and cycling cultures popular in the West, Dutch Bros. hasn’t had any trouble finding space on which to advertise.

MULTIPLE SIMULTANEOUS CAMPAIGNS

Dutch Bros. has utilized a branding tactic of running more than one phrase and logo at one time. Normally, this could be a mistake, as too many marketing campaigns at once tend to muddy the message and make a brand less recognizable instead of more. Dutch Bros. makes it work by being trendy and using phrases and logos that are anything but generic.

The popular Dutch Mafia logo doesn’t even mention coffee- it’s a shady-looking fellow holding a steaming cup. But everyone around here knows that it’s Dutch Bros. coffee in the cup and everyone around here seems to enjoy putting this somewhat sneaky logo on their cars, bags, and clothing.  Along with “Dutch Love” and the new “Rebel” line of energy drinks, the Dutch Mafia campaign has become something of an in-joke for people who know where to get the best coffee in town.

POSITIVE MESSAGE

When you pull through a Dutch Bros. drive-thru, you can bet that you’ll be greeted enthusiastically by a chipper employee. The overtly friendly attitude at every single Dutch Bros. location is a hallmark of their quality of service- it reflects the positivity and friendliness expressed in the Dutch Creed. The owners advocate optimism, good will, and affability- all communicated through their employees.

The abundance of positivity and the playful nature of their campaigns has garnered a rarely seen level of brand loyalty, particularly among the Millennial crowd who appreciates personality. The fact that Dutch Bros. is a Western company lends a feeling of community, despite their decidedly non-local spread from Arizona to Idaho. Their locations are locally owned and the main company engages in multimillion dollar contributions to charitable causes. It’s hard not to root for them.

WHY DOES THIS WORK?

The reason these approaches have proved so effective for Dutch Bros. is that they have sought out support from their community with genuine love and a quirky sense of humor, both important for reaching younger consumers.  The feeling of easy humor and friendliness spans from their mission statement to their campaign designs to their employees to the kinds of swag they offer. They know their general audience and are making the most of the model they’ve embraced.

 HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM DUTCH BROS. COFFEE COMPANY?

The most concrete tool to take from the Dutch Bros. toolbox is the use of swag. The online store, full of higher-quality branded wares, is an extraordinary thing to pull off. What some companies would be giving away as promotional swag, Dutch Bros. is able to sell for profit. From the old-fashioned windmill on their cups to the new Rebel energy drink line they’ve released, it’s all presented artfully on swag you’d actually want to own. Expand your brand in your merchandise by investing in some cool offerings that appeal to the younger generations.

The most important lesson is cohesion.  People are able to think of the Dutch Bros. brand as if there’s one guy in charge of it all, and he’s a pretty cool guy. Some brands suffer from multiple personalities, dissociating themselves from their campaigns or stretching themselves into too many directions. By following Dutch Bros.’ example, you can learn to present multiple ideas across multiple mediums without losing track of your message.

About guest blogger Chris Garrett:

Chris Garrett is a writer, designer, and branding consultant. He, like everyone else in Boise, loves Dutch Bros. On Twitter he’s @GiantGarrettArt.

Finding the Right Job Fit: Large vs. Small

Julie Cottineau gives her top tips from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin in this post, “Finding the Right Job Fit: Large vs. Small” from our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

A question I often get from job-seekers is, “What are the trade-offs of working for a big vs. small company or agency?”

“Does size really matter?”

When deciding between a boutique ad agency, a global one, a major mass-marketer client or a small start up, there are definite pros and cons of each you should consider.

For example, if you have wanderlust, like I did a few years out of college, the bigger the better. I was fortunate enough to spend 3 of my 10-year tenure at Grey Global in the Paris office. This was an amazing, life-changing experience (I met my husband, who is French, while living there). Grey had a fairly established program of sending people around the globe. So while I did have to press to be one of the lucky ones chosen for an international assignment, the program was already well-oiled and very much in place.

I’ve also worked at small agencies when I was first starting out and have found several benefits in the boutique model as well.

These include: 1) access to senior mentors, 2) fewer layers often means more responsibility for juniors and, 3) participation in new business.

On our pitches the entire agency got involved instead of just a small select new business team, and I learned a ton.

But my wisest piece of advice to help alleviate some of the worry over the debate of small vs. large is to prioritize these two more important factors: 1) What account am I working on, and 2) Who am I working for?

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These two factors are more important then the number of employees listed in the directory. A dynamic brand- one that you are really passionate about, even at a relatively small, up and coming Agency or a start up, can teach you a lot and you will invest more time and energy into it – and this will shine through in interviews and your resume as your move on after a while to look for your next opportunity.

Also the right boss – someone who will invest in you, share their wisdom, give you tools, feedback and responsibility- in my opinion trumps any factors of big vs. small. It also doesn’t hurt if he/she also has had experience with both big and small Agencies – so you can benefit from both sides of the coin.

Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, gives you the strategies and tools you need to create a  personal and professional brand that’s a fit in any sized company. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

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“It was great pulling everything together from touch points, to pillars. I would recommend Brand School to any small biz owner or entrepreneur.” – Sarah W., Entrepreneur