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.

Put Your Brand on the Sunny Side of the Street

The weather. Everyone likes to talk about it and there seems to be an endless supply of breaking weather news with TV and online updates, radio reports and The Weather Channel. But here’s the thing – most of this endless chatter doesn’t give us the info we really need: what’s happening in my exact neighborhood at this precise moment and in the next few minutes.

Dark Sky app for iPhone and iPad tells you exactly that. They put a twist on delivering the weather news. They took on the tedious task of filtering through the volume of information we usually have to sift through, curated it and personalized it for us. Dark Sky took the guess-work out of our weather news searching and made it easier for us to know immediately what is happening, right at this very moment, exactly were we are standing, and what we can expect in the next 30-minutes or so.

Dark Sky didn’t invent weather reporting and they didn’t create the first weather app. They put a twist on how the information is delivered. They gave us what we wanted, where and when we wanted it. Your business can do that too.

I hear from so many entrepreneurs that they fear their idea won’t stand out. “There are so many other weather resources out there.” But often what makes a business or brand stand out is not the product or service itself, but how it is delivered.

Think about the ways your market uses what you offer, then curate and filter it for them. Make your business easy to access and maximize the utility for your customers and your brand will be walking in sunshine.

Creating a better user experience by curating and personalizing is an effective means to deliver a powerful brand promise. It takes innovative thinking and strategic planning to identify what your market is looking for and how to bring those ideas to the forefront. Don’t be left out in the rain. Brand Schoolour highly effective, premier branding program will give you the insight and tools you need to walk on the sunny side of the street. 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 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

Package Your Brand Online (The Right Way)

This guest blog post, Package Your Brand Online (The Right Way), is from Dr. Marina Kostina CEO & Founder Wired@Heart. Marina is an expert at helping entrepreneur’s bring their businesses online. Marina is a co-author an Amazon Bestseller, “The Golden Climate in Distance Learning”, a winner of several prestigious awards. She  also helped build online training programs and products in over 40 countries.She was intstrumental in the creation of my own 8-part Brand School online Branding class. The following post is packed with useful advice and also mentions an invitation to a  FREE online training session: “Multiply Your Impact and Income Online,” which has now completed. If you would like more notice of future events and offers, please join the BrandTwist mailing list. 

Why go online?

You love your clients.

You love connecting and engaging with them.

And you’d love being able to make a difference on a larger scale.

But there is only one of you! And that means that no matter what, your impact (and income) will always be limited.

We live in a very exciting time, as there are literally billions of online businesses nowadays.

However, 95% of online businesses fail and they fail in a matter of months!

These statistics tell us two very important things:

1) Small business owners finally realize that the online environment has tremendous potential for impact, profitability, and building the lifestyle of their dreams.

2) Most online businesses fail, and fail super-fast because they do not know how to bring their brand online in an effective way.

Many “business gurus” promise that designing an info product will solve all your financial frustrations, magically attract lots of clients, and ultimately will help you build a lifestyle of your dreams. I strongly believe that most info products experts are missing the KEY ingredient: building connection and engagement in cyberspace.

How to make your brand shine online the right way:

After 10 years of working online and conducting research on online interactions for my doctorate dissertation, I know one thing for sure: connection and engagement is THE KEY to success in cyberspace! I believe that an engaged client is a happy client. It is a client who will keep on buying your products, develop a sense of identity with your brand, will produce great results that he will gladly share with others, and will become your biggest fan and an advocate for your business!

There are 5 types of connection that businesses need to foster while bringing their brand online:

Strategy # 1: Building Client-Client Connection

The client-client type of engagement is where clients engage with each other, creating an online community. Often, such communities are considered to be a “bonus” to an online product. I argue that developing such communities is a MUST. You can easily create a community of like-minded individuals even with self-paced, downloadable products by providing an opportunity to access an online forum, or maybe creating a private Facebook group where your clients can interact and share their experiences, questions, and success stories.

Strategy # 2: Building Client-Mentor Connection

The secret of engagement is this: you need to find a way of making your trainees feel that they are involved in a learning process that they own, one that they have helped to construct, and that they are working on a piece of work that is relevant to their lives and interests.  They are searching for information and finding in it what is of most interest and relevance for their piece of work, reporting the progress of their work to others, and benefiting from the feedback.  They are giving constructive input that can help fellow participants clarify concepts and arguments in their work, being producers of knowledge rather than consumers of it, and having a hand in their destiny and living creatively as they progress through the program.

Strategy # 3: Building Client-Content Connection

Client-content engagement refers to the client’s accessing the content of the course or a program. You have to consciously and continuously facilitate discussions, and guide your clients toward the program goals. Remember, this is not a mentorship approach in which you tell your clients where to go to find answers; rather, you encourage them to explore the parameters of an issue, raise questions, and go to the program content and other valid sources of information to find their own answers.

Strategy #4: Building Client-Platform Connection

A Learning Management System (LMS), an interactive video, or a downloadable PDF series- are all important in the learning process: it is a part of the learning community, as your clients must engage with the technical platform that delivers your product. As the mentor, your responsibility is to facilitate interaction between the platform and the client. In order to minimize early dropouts because of technology, you should help your clients with navigation tools by creating a short video or a detailed PDF cheat sheet that explains how to interact with the platform, download a product or post a comment in a discussion forum. You can also develop problem solving queries in which you can invite clients’ comments on the culture of online learning, its strengths and its limitations, and ask for suggestions on how their current learning experience might be improved.

Strategy #5: Building Client-Learning Process Connection

Clients need to feel that the learning process respects their needs and that they are trusted to have a say in what they learn and how: they need to feel that they have agency and that you are fostering their autonomy. Explain to the clients the basics of the online interactions, where each participant creates a new identity and information might be miscommunicated more easily than in face-to-face interactions. Delayed response and technology might create a sense of isolation. When the clients are aware of the challenges of the online environment and have the tools to deal with these challenges, they will less likely become frustrated with the program and will not lose their motivation.

In conclusion, if you want to multiply your impact and income, you MUST bring your brand online! Imagine not having to worry about attracting new clients. Imagine creating a referral powerhouse where your satisfied clients spread the word about you! (Remember, people would more likely buy a product recommended by their friends).

I know that the process might sound scary for many of you.

I created a FREE training session: “Multiply Your Impact and Income Online”. 

In this training you will discover 3 simple steps to:

  1. Big Idea: Finding your product’s main idea that will instantly connect with your clients
  2. Design: Weaving connection and engagement into the design of your product
  3. Delivery: Building connection and engagement during delivery of your product

Sound interesting? You will find more information here:

I cannot wait to see you!

 

Stand Out in the Real World

Like most of us, I’m spending so much time on the computer, mobile and other virtual devices that I find myself beginning to to think communicating is now a 100% virtual experience, especially for business. But the reality is that the real world has not ceased to be important – far from it. In fact, most of the time it takes a real, tangible connection to ensure a brand makes an impact or an entrepreneur is remembered. Yes, even in a growing virtual and e-mail world, an actual business or greeting card can go a long way.

Online printing has been around for a long time. It has provided everyone with the ability to quickly have business cards or personalized holiday cards printed at a fraction of what it used to cost. There are thousands of online printers to choose from. What makes moo different?

DESIGNED TO STAND OUT

Moo is passionate about one thing, design. They are dedicated to making distinctive design accessible to everyone. Moo’s tagline encapsulates this promise: great design for everyone. They implemented a twist in their brand by taking an unwavering stand for design quality and in doing so, created a niche where their brand excels. This really helps them stand out from all of the other printing brands that focus only on low price and quick printing. Your business card is a powerful representation of your brand. Why would you skimp?

THINK BEYOND THE HOLIDAY CARD

Think outside the tired, worn out holiday card or business card ideas of the past. What better way to have your brand remembered than to give a holiday card created in your business’ colors? Or, give a set of note cards creatively designed with the colors of the recipient’s logo or tag line? An entrepreneur can make a lasting impression by handing out a mini-smartcard with an unforgettable quote or photo on it. Moo makes this possible and accessible to everyone and above all, permits us to do it with stand-out design.

HOW CAN YOU TOUCH YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH A TWIST?

Put your brand within reach of your customers.  Literally. Print it out, hand it out, or give it as a gift. Making it something tangible, that other people can get their hands on, is an effective way to have you and your business shine, in full color! And if you get them to wear your brand with pride (think t-shirt or re-susable tote) they will also be walking brand ambassadors.

Defining what your brand stands for and then expressing it with impactful touch points is essential to growing your business.  But it takes focus and strategic thinking. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you the insight and tools you need to express your brand in both the real world and in the virtual world. 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

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Baby, You Can Drive My Brand

One of the classic symbols people associate with New York City is the yellow taxicab.  The streets are teeming with them. I’ve lived in the NYC area for over 25 years, and every time I go to Manhattan I delude myself by thinking it will be easy to hail a cab any time I need one. But the reality is that when I need one most, like when it’s raining, freezing or snowing, or it’s rush hour and I’m in a real hurry, I can never get one. This happens time and time again. Why? Because there was no other alternative – until there was UBER.

TAKE A ROUGH ROAD AND MAKE IT SMOOTHER

UBER is a brand that noticed how people struggled with a problem and then put themselves into the driver’s seat to solve their customer’s problem via their brand promise: to alleviate the insecurity and uncertainty in finding a ride by providing a reliable car service that’s available whenever we need it. The real need wasn’t for more cabs, the need was to make the process of getting one, better.

TWIST THE  PROBLEM, ACCELERATE THE BRAND

UBER’s taken an old-school service and reinvented it. UBER has created a hybrid car service by twisting together two traditional ideas: the call ahead private car service and the spontaneity of a yellow cab. But unlike cabs or other car services, they made the process of getting a ride easier by simply embracing today’s technology: You use a computer or mobile app to “call” for a car, right when you want one. No cash is necessary. Receipts are delivered to your cell phone or email and disputing a bill is easier with a record, which speaks volumes for their brand transparency. You know up front approximately what the fare will be and how long of a wait it will be before your ride arrives  With UBER you know what you’re getting, with no surprises and no waiting in the rain.

DRIVE THE LESSON HOME TO YOUR BRAND

Focus on one specific need that your target market has. Put yourself in your market’s shoes (… desperate for a ride in the rain) to discover a solution. You’ll find ideas that will give your service, product or brand the fresh twist it needs to be truly valued and noticed.

Sometimes you need a good road map and clear directions to chart a route.  The road to developing a strong brand can have many detours and steep climbs. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, gives you the tools you need to keep your brand on the high road and use it to make your business hum. Receive more information about the next semester and 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

“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