Land the Job: Bring Your Experience Off the Page!

This post, Land the Job: Bring Your Experience Off the Page! is another in our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. Julie Cottineau gives her top tips and shares insights from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

One of the most important challenges to landing a job in branding is knowing how to make sure you stand out. Chances are there are more than a few candidates vying for the same internship or full time job that you’ve got your eye on.

Having been on the hiring side many times, I can tell you that after a while the stream of candidates becomes a blur. One thing that helps a candidate stand out is to have a presentation of his or her experience. I call this a “visual resume.” By that I simply mean: a well-designed, clean PDF that brings some of the examples in your resume to life. For example:

  • Spent a summer as an intern at a local agency? Put a screen grab of that agency’s logo and some of the key projects/brands you were involved with on a page. Make sure you don’t show anything that the Agency or their clients would consider confidential (when in doubt ask).

Help your prospective employer visualize your experience.

  • Ran the marketing for one of your school’s events? Show pictures from the day and include stats about how many people you reached etc.

Unless you’ve worked on mega brands like Coke and Nike, it’s going to take your interviewer a few minutes to really understand what you are talking about and determine if the experience is relevant to what he or she is looking for. Help them make the leap more quickly by brining the examples to life. To that end, make sure you are taking pictures at any school events, and scanning the covers and key pages of any relevant projects (like a marketing class project where you had to come up with ideas for a new brand).

Another effective thing that you can do which shows your interest in the job is do an informal customer experience audit before the interview and bring your findings with you.

When I was interviewing to be the VP of Brand at Virgin, I did my own desktop audit of the Virgin brand – I looked at the websites of each of the individual brands in the Virgin family and I did an informal survey about what the brand stood for among people in what I perceived to be their target market. I presented these “findings” along with some initial suggestions on how to address the brand’s challenges as part of my interview. I didn’t present it as in-depth research, just a conversation starter. But it did show that I wasn’t just saying I was interested in working there; I was proving it through a bit of extra research. And the rest is history…

Think about putting in a little extra work prior to your interview and be prepared to share a point of view. You don’t have to be “right” in your learning, just as long as you can demonstrate a solid thought process. It will also help you gauge how open your potential employer is to suggestions. Receive more tips and techniques on how to do this in our post HERE.

Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, gives you the tools and techniques you need to keep your brand shining through and standing out. 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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“Brand School had great examples of real companies. I was able to dig even deeper, think of things in a new way, and get new ideas for my brand.It was well worth the fee.” – Brenda Dillion Cavette, Founder Fashionista Tea

13 Tips For Stronger Branding

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

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You might have been thinking about whether you’ve been bringing your A-game to your branding – let’s face it: creating and maintaining a strong brand can be complicated, but I’m here to show you how to make your branding seamless — and help you understand why doing so is MORE than worth the time you put into it. Start here for 13 tips (yes, 13!) you can apply right now to make your brand and your business stronger.

 TIP #1: LOOK THROUGH YOUR CUSTOMER’S EYES

It’s extremely important to continually look at your brand through your customer’s eyes. After all, brands are relationships, and like every successful romantic relationship, there must be two mutually interested parties. Start 2013 with your first customer experience audit. Map out all the touch points on your customer’s journey. Many companies focus just on when their consumer uses a product or service. I want you to think about the entire process.

Think about the moment your consumer starts to interact with your product up until they set it down, until they leave your business’ environment. Enlist help of friends, interns, and neutral third parties, like that kid in a coffee shop playing on his iPhone 5. Ask all of those people to interact with your brand and report back to you on where they felt engaged and well guided and also moments when they felt abandoned or confused. Make sure to photograph or record the experience so that you have documentation and can reference it whenever you think about engaging with your consumer.

Check out tip #2 in the series, Focus on Usefulness, Not Innovation.

BRANDSCHOOL: WHAT THE FUSS IS ALL ABOUT

Like what you’re reading? For more actionable strategies, consider BrandSchool. BrandSchool is the 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 other world-leaders in branding and shows you how to apply these lessons to your business for greater impact from day one. Learn more about Brand School HERE

“I received huge value from Brand School. You can’t put a price on that experience. I loved the integrated learning experience and that we walked out of the series with a working brand strategy.” – Rachel Watkins, Brand Development for Large Businesses 


10 Ways to Say Thank You to Your Clients this Holiday

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?

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Here’s 10 easy and effective ways to show your gratitude. They don’t have to cost a lot of money. Mostly it takes an investment in a small amount of time. But isn’t that worth it for people who have demonstrated that they are also invested in your success?

  1. Like their fan page on face book, follow their business on twitter, repin something from their Pinterest page
  2. Offer to do a testimonial (written or video) for their website
  3. Add a positive review of their product on line
  4. Introduce them to 5 of your friends or clients that could use their services
  5. Give them a free “tune up” session  (ex. free hour of coaching)
  6. Send a donation in their name to a charity they would like
  7. Do a free diagnostic of their website/marketing and suggest improvements
  8. Offer to write a guest blog post for their site
  9. Invite them as your guest to a relevant industry conference
  10. Share with them your best kept secret suppliers who do great work at low cost

I am sure there are many more. We’d love to hear from you on how you say thanks.

What’s you twist?

We’re regularly posting free, actionable branding advice like this on the BrandTwist newsletter. To receive all the latest updates, tips and tools, sign up HERE. And to for even more about creating a stronger brand and business, check out Brand School, the premier program that gives you all the knowledge and hands-on experience you’ll need to build a more profitable brand.

“I received huge value from Brand School. You can’t put a price on that experience. I loved the integrated learning experience and  that we walked out of the series with a working brand strategy.” – Rachel W., Brand School Participant

Does Size Really Matter?

Excellent time participating in the She Says panel Thursday night hosted in the beautiful bar/auditorium at JWT.

Topic was the “New Decade. New Agency”.

We got into an interesting discussion, at times fairly heated debate, about the benefits of small vs. large agencies.

As is often the case when you get a bunch of women together, the conversation was around whether size really matters. Only this time it was a slightly more PG version.

Helping Creatives Become Better Presenters

Is a killer idea poorly presented still a killer idea?

Maybe, but it probably has less of a chance of getting sold through.

In my experience, many of the qualities that make creative people great creatives, don’t always make them effective presenters.

I am of course generalizing, but sometimes creative types seem more comfortable interacting with their macs then they do with actual human beings across a conference table.Especially when the conference room is quite full.

Or since they don’t want to be too “salesy” (which is understandable) they come across as lacking  conviction or passion for their ideas.

That’s why I was intrigued when a former Interbrand colleague, Darrell Hayden, emailed me and told me he had created a methodology designed specifically to help designers and other creative people hone and improve their presentation skills.

It’s called Speaking of Creative. Check out his website and you can see Darrell in action with some of his students.