Necessity is the Mother of Brand Invention

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” That expression is as true today as it was when Plato first wrote it, circa 450 BC.

Here is another catchy term, “evergreen topic.” Meaning, a subject  that will always be of great interest to people. One of the biggest evergreen topics is health. If there is such a thing as a health bandwagon, it sure seems like EVERYONE is on it. Now, let’s take all of the above and create a little equation: Necessity + Invention + Evergreen = Brad’s Raw Chips.

Brad’s Raw Chips are a gluten-free, organic, vegan, kosher snack food. Founded by Brad Gruno, who had no experience what-so-ever with baking, cooking or nutritional health products. In fact, he had worked in the telecommunications industry for over 20 years, was 40 pounds overweight with high cholesterol, and was depressed… you get the picture. When Brad decided to get on a healthier track by following a raw diet, he found what he missed most was the flavorful, spicy taste and crunch of snack foods. Out of sheer desperation he began to “play” with kale. He made a kale “chip” and shared samples with friends and family and ta-da… Brad’s Raw Chips were born. Now, he’s expanded the line with other veggies, crackers, and even a snack biscuit for dogs.

It was Brad’s personal quest which led him to focus on a single product that made him stand apart from the thousands of snack foods lining the market shelves. Sharing his story and mastering one specific, singular niche, actually ended up enabling product development and market expansion.

Don’t be put off by taking a look at your own life. What you might want or need may be just the thing to fill a gap in the marketplace, too.

Your target market may have a lot more in common with you and your story than you think. When you share your story you add a deeper dimension to the user experience. You open the way for your customer to identify with you and feel a genuine connection with your brand.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but identifying your specific niche and honing your brand’s story takes strategic cultivation. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you actionable steps and strategies that you can use to grow an evergreen brand.  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 was starting my business from scratch and was all over the place when started the course. Brand School really helped me focus. I came out of it with a foundation for my brand that I know will work. Without Brand School, it never would have happened.” – Nicole Lesser, 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’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.

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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One of a Kind Gifts, On Demand

Here’s an interesting article in the New York Times: On the Web, Workshops That Help Shoppers Create One-of-a-Kind Gifts.

Sites like Zazzle.com, Blurb.com and Blue Nile can help you create everything from personalized stamps with your family’s photo, to a recipe book with pictures and handwritten recipes, to a custom designed diamond ring.

Unlike past customizable products (t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads), advances in manufacturing have significantly increased the quality, range and degree of customization of products.