Sharpen Your Digital Fluency to Win the Job

This post, Sharpen Your Digital Fluency to Win the Job, 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

Whether you are a raving fan of Facebook – or a hater – it doesn’t really matter.

Part of the appeal of hiring someone in their 20’s is that the hiring manager (often someone in their 40’s or 50’s) believes that you are a Digital Native and that you will help them decipher Instagram from Pinterest and everything in between.

I meet marketing students all the time who say, “I’m not really that into social media.” Well here’s my advice… Get into it. Fast.

If you are interested in branding or marketing, you need to be fluent in Social Media. Not as someone posting vacation pics and snaps of wild karaoke nights – but as someone who understands and appreciates the power of social media to connect with people, create dialogue and build brands.

The latest “hot” social channel may fluctuate or evolve over time (personally I think there is a whole generation of tweens who are going to be more loyal to Instagram then Facebook) but two-way relationships – engagement marketing – are here to stay. And you need to know your Tumblr from your Twitter and how to use it for brands you will be helping to build.

So what’s a budding brander to do? Does this mean you have to become an uber blogger or tweet 24/7? No, but you do need to be able to demonstrate digital fluency:

  • Be prepared in interviews to talk about what brands and branding experts you follow on Twitter.
  • Reach out to experts and agencies through their blogs/twitter accounts. Leave positive, insightful comments. These budding relationships could  help you down the road in your job search.
  • Make sure you have a professional presence on the major social media such as Linkedin and Twitter, and make sure your profiles are up-to-date
  • If you have a Linkedin or Twitter profile, make sure you include a professional, friendly picture. None of those grey portrait outlines or generic blue eggs. They communicate that you are not really committed.
  • And think about starting a blog or a twitter account dedicated to branding, marketing, and/or creativity. No one but your mom may read it at first, but it you post or tweet fairly frequently, it will eventually come up when prospective employers Google your name – and it will show that you are serious about the field.

Want to start increasing your visibility right away? Apply to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist. We’re always looking for great student and guest authors for our blog. Interested? Just send a brief synopsis of your blog idea along with a sample paragraph to Jamie@BrandTwist.com and we will contact you within one week to let you know if your blog idea has been accepted for further development.

BrandTwist does not pay for guest blog content, but we will provide you with a byline that includes your bio and contact details. This is a great platform to reach other people who are passionate about brand. Who knows… maybe your future employer will see your blog post and call you for an interview!

Hone your skills. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding course, will give you the tools you need to develop your branding skills. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“Brand School helped me get clear on my messaging and my brand. Now my clients know exactly what it is I bring to my classes.” – Josh Pais, Actor and Founder of Committed Impulse, creativity workshop

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.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“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

‘Word of Eye’ Is Key to Success in Branding Today

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

Forbes columnist Allen Adamson recently came to BrandTwist founder Julie Cottineau for her input regarding the latest digital technology trends and their impact on brands and marketing. She provided insight on how brands like Virgin America use strong visual branding to get their brand story across; and how it’s important to have brand signatures and images be click, shoot and send worthy. In today’s quick-paced technology based markets, it’s even more critical to utilize what Julie calls ‘Word of Eye’ to remain in the forefront of consumer thinking. ‘Word of Eye’ is not only the current trend, but the wave of the future as well.

Read the full article by Allen Adamson on Forbes.com:  Virgin, Disney, Apple Know ‘Word of Eye’ Is Key to Success in Branding Today

What brands have you seen that successfully leverage “Word of Eye”?

 

Brand School our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you the tools you need to develop your branding word and Word of Eye skills. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“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

Location, Location, Location

One of our recent Facebook posts featured the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, Canada. Our attention was drawn to this independent hotel because of how they set themselves apart by embracing the uniqueness of their location. Their brand is dedicated to offering an immersive and authentic Toronto experience to guests. The Gladstone is a one-of-a-kind hotel with one-of-a-kind rooms, each designed by a different local artist. Every room is detailed on their website with a statement by the local artist.

CELEBRATING LOCAL WITH A TWIST

Then we discovered Provenance Hotels, a chain with five prominent hotels in the U.S. They create a savvy, branded experience that highlights the culture of the city in which each hotel is located. This allows guests to form personal connections with the local community, the featured art and the hotel staff. The picture above is from their Hotel Max, Seattle, WA. Each room’s door is a full black and white photograph of artists and musicians that have a history connecting them to Seattle. Even the “X” created by lighting projected on the wall speaks to the local culture.

Though these two brands are in the same business; by offering their own twist on celebrating their location, they each provide travelers a rare and enriching experience, which cannot be duplicated.

HERE ARE THE LESSONS YOUR BRAND CAN APPLY

Often small brands feel they have to act big to be taken seriously. But small can be an advantage. Don’t be afraid to be local. Celebrating where you come from can make you stand out and be noticed – and help people identify with what you are offering. Locals appreciate the recognition and visitors appreciate getting an authentic taste of a new place. Establishing a connection with the local community also adds to the credibility of your brand.

Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you the tools you need to develop your branding and use it to connect your market with your brand’s unique sense of place. Receive more information about the next semester and free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

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

This post is part of our Brands That Twist series celebrating innovative brands. Read about other breakthrough brands and more ways to grow your business and brand here

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