Your Brand Needs a Gift Guide

This post, Your Brand Needs a Gift Guide, by Company B founder Bonnie Rothman Morris explains how creating a gift guide for your business is a way to explore what your brand really stands for. It’s a great idea and a nice twist on how to reinforce your brand values. This is another in our guest blogger seriesRead more about Bonnie in her bio below. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information. 

Present

Seth Godin just came out with his holiday gift guide. I trust his opinions, so I enjoyed clicking through his curated group of quirky products looking for ideas. My favorites? Brooklyn-built headphones and a Bob Dylan collection to match. I don’t have a giftee for either, but never mind, what I really loved was how well those products align with Seth’s brand. They’re insider-y and should make you feel smart and thoughtful when you give them. Like Seth.

Any brand can create a gift guide, and it’s a worthy exercise, whether you choose to share your picks on a company blog, with the media, with your customers … or not. The exercise of building a curated lists of gifts your brand could give to someone you care about can help you tap into what you really want to mean to your customers.

Here’s why: gift giving is an art. And every gift tells a story (or it should!). The best gift-givers make the recipient feel special and appreciated by you. The best gift-givers also give gifts that are memorable. What brand doesn’t want their customers to feel that way about them?

Here are some questions to ask to get you started.

  • What are my brand’s core values? How do they translate into my brand’s personality? List them.
  • If my personality is accessible and friendly, for example, what categories of products can my brand legitimately recommend? Think broadly. A food brand can venture into style; a tech brand may legitimately recommend food.
  • If your brand is clever, make sure the gifts are, too. If you’re mainstream, stick with something that’s delightful but relatable. Useful? Twist it up and make it completely useless but fun. If your brand is hip, well, it goes without saying what you need to do. If it’s not hip and you, the gift-giver, are, think about something campy. You get the idea.
  • Play the Amazon game: If my customers like X (i.e., me) they might also like Y. This springs the doors wide open.
  • Most importantly, what do I want my customers to remember about me after receiving this gift?

Once you create your gift guide, there is so much you can do with it. You can make a Vine. (Stop motion animation of the gifts going into a big box). Share it on Facebook or your website. Write a blog post, like Seth, with links. Or, better, buy a bunch of the stuff and send it to your customers. If you’ve done your job right, they’ll remember the gift and, even better, remember your brand and what it stands for.

Okay. We’re putting our money where our mouths are here at Company B. To see Company B’s gift guide, click HERE.

About guest blogger Bonnie Rothman Morris:

Bonnie Rothman Morris became an official storyteller at 6, when she won a short-story writing contest sponsored by the public library in her hometown. She founded Company B in 2008 to deliver Public Relations, Social Media and Branded Content. Today, she tells smart stories for consumer brands that captivate and engage. She’s also famous for giving great gifts. Tweet @bonniemorris.

Six Brand-tastic Ideas for Father’s Day

It can be challenging to come up with a gift idea that will be an exciting, original home run  for dad on Father’s Day. We’ve got you covered! Check out these brands that offer curated collections, variety and unique gifts that keep on giving.

Make some noise! With fewer and fewer record stores and an immense sea of online options it’s hard to hone in on which music to sample next. What could be a more perfect gift for a music-loving dad than a subscription to receive a weekly or monthly delivery of the newest independent music releases? Rough Trade will deliver selections from their exclusive  private collection of recordings right to your dad’s email. It doesn’t get much easier than that to stay on top of the latest grooves. Read more about what we think makes Rough Trade a successful brand in the sea of sounds here.

 

Take the high road. Even if dad loves to drive, there are times when he’d really rather not. Navigating a strange city is no easy task. Driving home after a long night out on the town is no fun. We all have experienced how difficult it can be to try to hail a cab in the rain. Give your dad the gift of an easy ride with Uber. Uber provides a reliable car service that’s available whenever your dad needs it at the touch of a cell phone. Sign yourself and Dad up and then you can give a gift certificate directly to his account. See more on what makes the Uber brand stand out from other car services and taxi’s here.

 

 Help your dad be the host with the most. There’s something special about serving and enjoying a great glass of wine. But which wine to choose? With Virgin Wines every wine is a delicious decision. They offer boutique-quality, handcrafted wine from all over the world, delivered right to dad’s doorstep (without the high price tag). You can select wine by the bottle, the case, gift collections and the “Explorers Club” where each month they send a case of 15 individual expertly selected wines. Here’s to dad, cheers!

 

What’s good for the goose… We recommended this as a gift for mom on Mother’s Day and thankfully, Birchbox has awesome selections for guys, too! It’s challenging for busy guys to get into stores to sample new products. So why not make it easier for dad and bring those samples directly to his door? Birchbox does just that. Birchbox bundles several samples of cosmetics, skin care items and lifestyle products and accessories all into a handsome Birchbox and delivers it directly to dad’s doorstep.  Read more about what we feel drives the success of the Birchbox brand here.

 

Give an experience dad won’t forget.  You’ve been hearing about “it” for years, you know that thing that dad has “always wanted to do,” like, drive a race car, pilot a plane, fly in a fighter jet, rafting the river rapids or hot air ballooning over the countryside. Cloud 9 Living has over 1,800 unique experiential gifts in 43 regions across the United States. Select “that one” dad’s been talking about or give him the option of selecting his own with an open-ended gift certificate. The world is waiting!

 

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

Think Inside the Box for Better Branding

Birchbox was built on a single observation: It’s difficult for many people (like new parents) to get out and into stores to sample new products. So why not bring those samples directly to their homes? Birchbox does just that.

PACKAGE THE GAP AND DELIVER

Similar to what Rough Trade did with music, Birchbox took the “Product of the Month Club” concept and put a twist on it.  Instead of one monthly product, Birchbox delivers several samples of cosmetic, skin care, bath, beauty and lifestyle products all bundled into a beautiful Birchbox and sent direct to their subscribers door. They offer subscriptions for both men’s and women’s products, and each is branded with its own unique colors, look and feel.

ENGAGE YOUR MARKET; EXPAND ON WHAT YOUR BRAND OFFERS

But beyond delivering a new box of samples each month, Birchbox delivers brand value to their customers by giving them a total lifestyle website, where they can access user reviews of the latest products, have the opportunity to purchase additional goods and receive tips on grooming, fashion and beauty through their online magazines and blog.

Birchbox, like Brad’s Raw Foods, created a unique promise by filling a gap. Birchbox addresses people’s need for shopping convenience and their desire to feel connected, as their tagline expresses, Discover Beauty Better™        

CURATE AND CONQUER

Think about ways your brand may be able to address an unmet need and make it easier for consumers to say “yes” to giving you a try. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will provide the tools to create fresh ideas and help your business build trial and customer loyalty. Get information about priority registration for Brand School’s next session and receive our 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. Check out  other breakthrough brands and learn more ways to grow YOUR business here.

“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

A Curated Brand Can be Music to Your Ears

What goes around comes around. No matter which technology is used to deliver it, from the hand-cranked Victrola machine to micro-chips embedded into eyeglasses, people want to hear their music.

Along with the introduction of the personal computer came the ability for people to produce their own music directly from their desktops. This was a real boon to musicians, but it introduced a whole new problem: with so much music out there on the web and bricks-and-mortar music stores rapidly disappearing, how do we actually FIND new, independent music?

In the not-so-distant past, we could go to our neighborhood music store and sample the newest releases. We could subscribe to the Record of the Month Club and receive our choices delivered via the mail, right to our door.

Well, guess what? What is old is new again! Enter: Rough Trade, “Independent purveyors of great music since 1976.” Specializing in collecting independent releases, they have two (soon to be three) actual record stores and an online presence. They put a twist on the old “Record of the Month Club” subscription concept. They incorporated new technologies to deliver to your email “Tracks of the week” as mp3’s and their “Album of the Month” delivered in either mp3 or CD formats.

But what really sets them apart is the exclusivity of access to a private collection and that they have removed the effort and work by curating for us. We receive their own personally selected favorites chosen from their archives of tens-of-thousands of recordings, delivered on schedule.

While the concept of a “month club” is an old idea, there is nothing old about what Rough Trade delivers and how the deliver it. Even their visual branding has a bright, fresh feel while still remaining true to the rugged, individualistic counter-culture music scene look.

The Rough Trade brand has several things going for it:

  • Focused niche
  • Exclusive access to a private collection
  • Reinventing the Month Club delivery system using new technologies
  • Removing the work and effort for us by curating and selecting
  • Consistent visual branding

Don’t hesitate to take a look backward. Consider your delivery system and ask if there might be a tried-and-true method that you could put a twist on to get your product or service into the homes, on the screens, or in the headphones of your target market.  How can you simply for your end user?  Is there something you can do to make their choices more effortless?

You don’t need to be a DJ to put a spin, or a twist, on your brand. New technologies are emerging all the time and you need to be able to evaluate which methods will provide the longest play for your business. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, gives you the strategies and tools you need to spin your brand to the top of the charts. 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 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

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