Sweeten Your Brand’s Impact with a Meaningful Cause

Can a product brand have a higher purpose and not seem like it’s just jumping on the “cause” band wagon? Well, we believe that sweetriot has made the cut with grace and impact.

sweetriot makes chocolate candy. Sounds simple enough, but they have taken their brand to another level altogether. They are a mission-based business that wants to “create a more just and celebrated multicultural world for our next generation”. They embrace this idea throughout their company and in every area of brand expression.

How do they succeed in clearly defining their brand promise to make their product and purpose stand out?

Their name says it all. sweetriot immediately implies they are making their voice heard, that they welcome others into the process, and they do it while creating a sweeter place, literally and figuratively. In their own words: “A sweetriot is a joyful celebration of culture, diversity, and understanding — it is the opposite of a civil riot, which is dangerous, violent, and oppressing.”

They are consistent and creative with their use of verbal identity. CEO, Sarah E Endline, calls herself the “Chief Rioter.” Customers are asked to “Join the riot.”  Their chocolate treats are called “peaces.” Their copy reinforces their dedication to fair-trade and social causes that better the communities from where their materials are sourced.Their tagline is “Fixing the world one ‘peace’ at a time. Sweet for the world & sweet for you.”

Their mission is integrated as a part of every aspect of their business – it is not an add-on. It is integral to their products, partnerships and people. They walk the talk.

Their logo helps tell their story. Their logo is a thumbprint and also the globe. Immediately we know sweetriot is aware that they are leaving their personal mark on the world and it serves as a reminder to us that we are, too (everyone has a thumbprint and everyone lives on Earth).  Based in NYC, USA, sweetriot’s brand colors of red, white and blue reflect their company’s origin.

Their packaging is social and unique. sweetriot supports the emerging artists community by featuring works that embrace sweetriot’s culture on the candy wrappers. Works of art to be featured are selected by votes from website visitors.

sweetriot put a creative twist on their brand by directly involving their market and community and by consistently reminding their customers that when they purchase a sweetriot product they are doing more than simply satisfying a chocolate craving.

If executed with authenticity and care, your customers may respond with loyalty and enthusiasm when they realize that by connecting with your product they are in turn contributing to a larger community. Identifying associations that resonate on a meaningful level with your target market takes strategic thinking. Incorporating your promise into your brand identity takes planning. At Brand School, the highly effective, premier branding program, we deliver the tools and steps you need to sweeten your brand and its connection to your market. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

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.

“I’ve taken quite a few courses on branding and marketing overall. However, what attracted me to Brand School was Julie’s experience with branding from a corporate level.” – Barbara Wanzo, Non-profit Homeowner Services.

Brand. Smash. Rebuild. Repeat

In this post, Brand. Smash. Rebuild. Repeat, Reid Mueller explains that creating a good brand requires knowledge of your company’s identity and your customer’s needs or wants, and illustrates how you can do what 4 big brands have done by re-builing their brands to thrive. This is part of our guest blogger series. Read more about Reid in his bio, below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

BT-Smash-3-RebuildGuestBlogPost

My brother and I were blessed to grow up in a home with Star Wars, Lego and a 2nd floor balcony – the Holy Trinity of childhood. We spent countless hours building Lego spaceships and drop-testing from the balcony. When they broke, we figured out where and how we could make them stronger. When they didn’t break on the carpet, we dropped from the other side onto the tile. They always broke. Engineers test products in the same way to ensure they work. As marketers, we should do this for our brands using the following process.

BUILD THE BRAND BASED ON WHAT YOU WANT YOUR COMPANY TO BE.

Unfortunately, branding a company is harder than branding a cow (even so, I’ll be the first to say that I wouldn’t approach a cow with a smoldering iron for fear of getting a hoof to the head). A brand is more than a name, title or words on a page. Much like a Lego spaceship, a brand is the sum of your company’s products, culture, logo, user-experience, story—viewed through the lens of a customer’s perception. Creating a good brand requires knowledge of your company’s identity and your customer’s needs or wants (it doesn’t matter how well you build a green light-saber; Darth Vader will always buy the red one). This requires strategic development through market research business objectives and long-term planning. Now it’s time to put the pieces together and test the brand.

 THROW IT AGAINST A BRICK WALL AS HARD AS YOU CAN. 

According to Martin Lindstrom, CEO of Buyology Inc., the idea of a “smashable” brand dates back to 1915 when Coca-Cola requested a bottle designed to be identifiable even when thrown against a wall. As we can all attest, they found what they were looking for. So how do you smash your brand? Remove your logo from one of products, ads or website. When you look again, can you still recognize it as your brand? Can someone else? Is your brand as recognizable as the following “broken brands”?

PICK UP THE PIECES. WHAT’S IMPORTANT? WHAT’S MEMORABLE? THROW AWAY EVERYTHING ELSE.

As you can see in the examples above, the smallest elements of your brand are the most critical. No doubt Apple wouldn’t be what it is today if Steve Jobs had not sat in on a calligraphy class when he wasn’t in college. Now the Apple brand is weaved into the font of every word they print. Ask yourself what pieces work. Do you have brand elements that don’t align with your business objectives or your target markets? Look at Harley-Davidson. What if you replaced the “bar and shield” logo with the “Twitter” bird? Would it be successful in Comic Sans Am?

REPEAT UNTIL YOU HAVE AN INTEGRATED BRAND (OR YOU THROW YOUR SHOULDER OUT).

Branding, like anything else, requires endless revision. However, a strong brand paradoxically requires consistency as well. For this reason we hesitate to partake in brand-breaking. We see our brand as the Waterford vase from our grandparents as a wedding gift that goes up on the shelf and never gets touched; that way it never breaks. The problem is that we live in an interactive society where that vase will be removed from the shelf, thrown around like a football, maybe dropped off the balcony for a “science project” about gravity. You cannot be afraid to have your brand touched, because customers will take it down and break it apart whether you like it or not.

This post by Reid Mueller is part of our guest blogger series. Reid is currently working towards a Master’s of Science in Marketing Communications from the University of Kansas.  This post appears as part of BrandTwist’s participation in  “Blogapalooza” a platform from the University to help students seeking Master’s Degrees in Integrated Marketing Communications gain valuable experience and exposure in blogging. We hope you enjoyed Reid’s post as much as we did. 

If you are interested in being a BrandTwist guest blogger, please email jamie@herculiz.com for details. 

Click here for more about Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program to help you build your brand to grow your business.

March Madness – Instant Replay

This webinar series replay offer has expired. Sign up to receive our email to stay up-to-date on more  free webinars, replays and additional tools and tips to grow your business and your brand.

Due to an overwhelming number of requests from webinar attendees who wanted replays, Brand School is making available – for a limited time – a rebroadcast of BrandTwist founder Julie Cottineau’s webinar series, Brands That Twist. This live, interactive series originally aired earlier in March, 2013.

If you missed out on the live broadcasts, you now have another opportunity to receive the tips and tools that will help you begin building a stronger brand.

In this series on brand building, Julie gives you clear and actionable steps that you can start using right away to help boost your business, build a stronger brand, and make a bigger impact in your market. You’ll receive a taste of what Brand School covers in more depth.

In addition, you can receive a $100 discount off the tuition of the April 2013 online session of Brand School which starts April 15th, when you enroll by March 31st.

Both the rebroadcast of the Brands That Twist webinar series and the $100 discount off Brand School offer EXPIRE SUNDAY, MARCH 31, 2013 at MIDNIGHT.

To learn more about Brand School please visit: BrandSchoolOnline.com.

Enjoy the webinars!

Note: The “free seat at Brand School give away contest” Julie refers to in these rebroadcasts is over.

TWST YOUR WORDS: Leverage Verbal Identity to Shine

Tools and techniques to help you to use words: names, taglines, packaging copy and tone of voice to help your brand make some noise and be heard.

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THINK DIFFERENT: Innovation With a Twist

Boost your business with innovative and creative ways to look at old problems from new angles that will ignite new ideas and gain loyal brand fans.

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SMALL BRANDS – BIG IMPACT: Lessons From Brands That Twist

See how small brands are innovating, creating big ideas and standing out in their markets. Take away actionable steps to help your brand shine.

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Click here for more about Brand School, our highly effective, premier program to help you build your brand to grow your business.

Hop to It… For Better Branding

What’s the next best thing? Sometimes it isn’t a “thing” at all, but how useful a thing is, or in the case of TaskRabbit, it is how useful people can fill the needs of people in need.

TaskRabbit is all about getting the job done, and right up front, their name says it all.  Immediately we know the company is there to take on our request, do it quickly and as their tagline promises help us go From To-Do, to Done.

They put a twist on their business by branding their identity throughout every aspect of the user experience. Their expert service providers are referred to as “TaskRabbits,” while those seeking to hire sign in as “TaskPosters.” Brand credibility and recognition are further enhanced when TaskRabbits wear identifiable branded shirts or jackets while on the job, and a job can be doing just about anything, anywhere.

FOCUS YOUR BRAND ON USEFULNESS, NOT INNOVATION

The entire premise and focus of TaskRabbit is to fill needs. Usefulness was the driver in the development of the business. The TaskRabbit brand identity was then built around that purpose.

This is a great strategy. Too often brands get caught up inwardly gazing innovation. They focus on what they can make (faster, stronger, smaller) but they don’t actually stop to think “hey, does anyone really need this new and improved widget?” Instead of focusing on what you can provide, try thinking about what your target needs. Build that solution into your branding and reiterate it as part of your brand promise. Then you will have people lining up at your door.

Clearly defining and communicating usefulness reinforces your brand’s impact in the market. But finding these brand-building needs takes focus and a strategic approach to identifying how your product or service can make people’s lives better and compel them to choose your brand over another. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you the insight and tools you need to get the job done. Receive more information about the next session of Brand School and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

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

“Julie’s active participation in Brand School and  feedback was amazing and helped a LOT. I received great value from this program.” – Leslie Hughes, PUNCHmedia

Sweeten Your Brand with Innovation

Valentine’s Day has just passed. Searching to find a sweet little something to give as a gift online became a bit of a chore, revealing little more than those tried-and-true V-Day staples: chocolates, sparkling wines, roses and perfumes — that was until I came across a unique twist on an otherwise everyday item, honey.

Bee Raw Honey. This brand incorporates several solid branding concepts and executes them very well:

Niche: one item, well- mastered.

Name: we instantly know exactly what it is and by using the word “raw,” we know what makes it unique.

Location: proudly promoting and supporting the importance of local artisanal sources.

BUT WHAT MAKES THEM TRULY STAND OUT IS THEIR PACKAGING TWIST

They took a plain pantry staple and presented it in a way that elevates the way we think about it. We now can enjoy honey with a culinary perspective we never even considered before.

Like an elegant wine tasting experience, Bee Raw Honey offers us the opportunity to sample several flavors of honey by packaging smaller “sample tasting flights” together in a unique wooden stand. They’ve made it even easier for us to experience their product in a new and innovative way by providing food pairing ideas, menu suggestions, and recipes.

Your brand doesn’t need to be a food-related business to benefit from Bee Raw Honey’s sweet branding success.

HERE ARE THE LESSONS YOUR BRAND CAN APPLY

Think outside the box, or create a better box, literally. The way your promise is delivered does matter. Packaging may be the first physically tangible contact your market has with you; use it as an opportunity to make a lasting impression.

Give your market something new to do. Tell your market how to use your product in a new, innovative way and make it accessible.

Find innovative ways to present who and what your brand is all about. We know that executing on this concept may not  always be as easy as it sounds. We understand the challenges in creating a strong, clear and reinvigorated brand. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you the tools you need to develop your brand and use it to make your business buzz. Receive more information about the next semester and also receive free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Editor’s note: This is an entry in our blog series called “Brands That Twist”. We are celebrating entrepreneurial brands and highlighting lessons that your brand can use right away to grow your business. We hope you enjoy and we’d love to hear your suggestions for future brands to feature. Just let us know in the comments section of this post. Happy Branding!

“I learned a lot from Brand School.  It inspired me to think outside the box. I have a much deeper understanding of how to effectively build a brand.” – Mike Sass, Entrepreneur