Twist Book Testimonials


“TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands”

Available on Amazon.

I am truly blessed to have finally realized my childhood dream of writing a book!. A huge thanks to all the friends, family, Brand School students and faculty for their inspiration and helping me me get this far. To all who generously share their well-wishes and support, your endorsement means so much and I am full of gratitude and appreciation.  Thank you!


“Every brand should be doing the TWIST.” – Raul Leal, ECO of Virgin Hotels

“This book is a gift to small business owners, packed with information and strategies for potent branding, and full of obvious experience, wisdom and from-the-ground knowledge.” – Sarah Hinawi, executive director, Prupl Center of Learning and Social Innovaiton

“This book encourages entrepreneurs and brand owners across all types of businesses to think outside the limits of their category and take risks, and gives them the tools to make them stand out from their competitors.” – Laura Winston, attorney, Kim Winston LLP

“Julie’s rich experiences as the vice president of brand for Virgin has been brought to life in TWIST — a wakeup call and a road map for building brands that break through and get noticed.” – Raul Leal, CEO Virgin Hotels

“Just pre-ordered what I expect to be an excellent book on the art of branding from BrandTwist’s Julie Cottineau. I’m not a huge reader of business books, but not only is Julie knowledgeable and passionate about the power of brand and how to build one, she’s also an entertaining speaker and I’m sure her voice will pop off the page.” – Matthew Rosenberg, Chief Marketing Officer at ChoiceStream

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Getting Back to Basics for Your Business: The ABCs of Branding


Today’s business environment, fueled by continued innovation and advances in technology – is constantly changing and evolving. But the more things change, the more the basics of branding stay the same. Whether you are just starting out on your branding journey, or have a well-established business, everyone can use a refresher to get ahead in today’s competitive markets.

At Brand School we are big believers in starting with and sticking to the basics, and once you have them down, revisiting them from time to time to keep your branding goals fresh. By following the ABCs of Branding you can build a stronger, more profitable business:


The biggest mistake that businesses make is they try to reach every body and they end up connecting with nobody. It may sound counter-intuitive, but the narrower your target – the wider your success. Zero-in on a specific type of person and delve deep to know what makes them tick, what keeps them up at night, what’s missing that your product or service can help address?


“I’m not a businessman / I’m a business, man!” – Jay-Z

Jay-Z got it right. That’s what personal branding is all about. It’s not only your commercial brand that delivers a message to the marketplace; YOU do, too!   A personal brand is how you tell your story, what makes you unique and it supports your business brand. The more memorable your personal brand is, the more memorable your business may become, too. For example: Richard Branson’s personal brand of having fun and challenging the status quo supports the Virgin promise to shake things up.


Great brands don’t just help to get things done – they help people feel differently about themselves. Your Brand Promise needs to be more than about functional benefits. You need to really connect emotionally. Starbucks isn’t selling coffee; it’s promising community. Nike is not about running; it’s about achievement. Apple isn’t selling technology; it’s letting our imaginations take flight. Small businesses and entrepreneurs in particular need strong brand promises. Don’t waste your precious dollars with “me-too” marketing. Connect deeper and create loyal fans that will become Brand Ambassadors and help you promote your brand.

In Brand School we give you easy, actionable tools that you can use from day one to boost your brand’s reach. You’ll have access to our team of experts and enjoy the ongoing support and inspiration from an exclusive community of like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs to help you stay on track and bring fresh ideas to market.  Learn more about Brand School and see if your business qualifies for our one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session at





A Twist on a Traditional Car Rental


You finally arrive at your destination airport. You’ve been up since 4:00 am to make the 8-hour flight. Tired, stressed and disoriented, you’re not looking forward to waiting for the shuttle to take you to the car rental lot, standing in line to complete paperwork, haggling over which car model and price, and then lugging your suitcase to the far end of the car lot to hunt for your car.

The good news: the folks at SILVERCAR hear you, loud and clear.

With the tagline, “Car Rental the Way it Should be. No Hassle. No Lines. No paperwork.” SILVERCAR is just the ticket for the harried traveler.

To help travelers have a more stress-free, seamless way to reach their rental car, SILVERCAR took the latest mobile and tech trends (Think UBER app) – and TWISTED it with a luxury car experience (Audi) to come up with a solution that streamlines the car rental experience:

You download the SILVERCAR app on your mobile device and contact SILVERCAR when you arrive at the airport. A “concierge” picks you up and delivers you to the SILVERCAR lot – populated by only silver Audi A4’s – which means you know what car you’re going to get every time. Use your mobile device to unlock your car and away you go – with free onboard wi-fi, GPS, satellite radio, and no transponder fees at tolls, to boot. Now available at 10 major cities and airports across the U.S.

Take a look at the latest tech and experience trends outside of your category and think how you could apply them to help your customer have a more positive and seamless experience.  What uncertainty and hassles can you eliminate that would deliver something better?

Brand School gives you the tools to deliver fresh TWISTS and more of what your customers are looking for. See what Brand School’s team of experts can do for you and see if you qualify for a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session HERE.

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“Brand School allowed me to get to the essence of my brand. I was able to hone and tighten up my brand. Thank you, it’s a great program.” – Jonathan Flaks, President, Jonathan Flaks Coaching Associates

An Older Twist For a New Brand

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“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” Senior vice president of retail and online stores at Apple Inc. and former CEO of Burberry Angela Ahrendts knew that employees are the cornerstones of building a business.

So does Sarah Oliver Handbags founder Sarah Oliver.

Oliver started designing handbags as gifts for friends and family and when stores began to inquiring to sell her pocketbooks she realized she could grow her business. She wanted to keep production in the U.S. but did not have the human resources to do the hand knitting required. Reflecting on dear memories of knitting with her mother and grandmother the idea came to her: why not see if the seniors at the nearby Redwoods Senior Retirement Community would want to sign on as knitters for her handbag company? And right away, an enthusiastic team of senior knitters stepped forward.

Calling themselves The Purlettes, they are the foundation of the business and put a little of themselves into every one of the hand-knit bags they produce for the company. Says Sarah, “When I think of the potential we have to scale and create opportunity for seniors across the country, I just get so excited imagining the possibilities… Every one of our bags tells a story worth telling!”

These hand-crafted bags are more than a stylish accessory, they empower and re-engage seniors in the American economy. By valuing and tapping into an under-utilized and under-appreciated population, Sarah Oliver is building an iconic American brand while delivering a new sense of purpose in senior’s lives.

Your employees are your first brand ambassadors – and a valuable asset. Listen to them; they’re on the front lines and their perspectives can provide invaluable feedback on customer’s experience of your brand. Consider how their unique talents can be an inspiration to innovate fresh ideas for your business.

Brand School gives you easy, actionable tools that you can use right away to boost your brand’s impact. Get access to our team of experts and enjoy support and inspiration from an exclusive community of like-minded business owners, non-profits and entrepreneurs.  Learn more about Brand School and see if your business qualifies for a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session at

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“Working with Brand School is an invaluable experience and a really great use of resources because it opens up so many doors and affects so many areas of  your business.” – Sarah Hinawi, Executive Director, The Purple Crayon Center for Learning and Innovation

A Sweet Twist That Delivers Results

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Many non-profits rely on volunteers – but some actions, like giving blood, require a temporarily unpleasant experience to contribute to long term benefits.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service TWISTED with some out-of-category top celebrity chefs and Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster to promote the message that donating blood, beyond doing a good deed, is a fun, approachable and friendly experience. They focus on the biscuit (cookie) given after donating as a delicious, desirable – even sensuous – reward.

“Giving blood feels good.” “Enjoy the best biscuit after saving three lives.”

A spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down worked for Mary Poppins. What “sugar” can you deliver to your clients and customers to make it easier to say “Yes” to your service or product?

Brand School gives you easy, actionable tools that you can use right away to boost your brand’s impact. Get access to our team of experts and enjoy support and inspiration from an exclusive community of like-minded business owners, non-profits and entrepreneurs.  Learn more about Brand School and see if your business qualifies for a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session at





“Brand School was helped us set structure to our process, define our target and recognize our customer’s motivations. We were able to create timely taglines and better define our branding campaigns.” – Randi Curhan, Development Coordinator for Redwood High School Foundation, Non-profit