Add a Fresh Twist

This post is part of our series, “Thirteen Tips For Stronger Branding.” See the rest of the series HERE.


Fresh ideas come from looking at old problems from new perspectives. If you are only looking at and thinking about what your competition is doing, chances are you will stay in the same rut and not come up with anything new or exciting. You need to look at old challenges from new angles.

A few years back I was at an airport and saw a 747 with McDonald’s golden arches on the tail fin. I started to imagine what this McDonald’s airline would be like. I imagined it would be a good value, family friendly and most importantly it would have flexible options in terms of how I bought my ticket and any upgrades – allowing me to supersize my experience to a seat with more leg room or special menu options. As it turns out, this airline was just a figment of my imagination. It was the reflection of the neon sign in the food court on the window, and there happened to be a plane parked behind the window on the tarmac. So while it was just imaginary, it led to the very real practice of TWISTING brands in different categories to come up with new ideas. (That’s actually why I named my company BrandTwist.)

Consumers don’t live in a one-category world. For example, they make note of great customer service experiences across airlines, retail stores, dry cleaners, fast food, fine dining, taxi cabs, doctor’s offices, personal trainers…you name it. So as marketers we should constantly be looking at the larger brandscape for inspiration. A great way to leverage lateral thinking for your own brand is to imagine what a beloved brand (in a different category) would do if it took over your business. How would this brand use its brand DNA to innovate in your market?  Twist an inspirational brand (ex. Virgin, Zappos, Starbucks, Apple) with yours and see the impact it can have in creating fresh ideas for your business today.

Check out tip #13 in the series, Commit to Continual Learning.


…After all, that’s what it’s designed to do.

Julie Cottineau, the former VP of Brand for Richard Branson’s Virgin, and entrepreneur and a branding expert responsible for countless small business and personal branding makeovers, has created Brand School, the highly effective, premier program to help you grow your business and perfect your brand at the same time.

Receive more information about the next semester and free brand-building tools and tips when you join the BrandTwist mailing list.

“Brand School was engaging and helpful to me in learning more about myself and my business. Results came amazingly quick. Now, my brand name speaks my message immediately and I’ve expanded my reach.” – Lynn Stull, Owner Arts2Thrive 

Try to Get Fired

This post is part of our series, “Thirteen Tips For Stronger Branding.” See the rest of the series HERE.


Often, we are our own worst enemies. We come up with a fresh idea, then immediately censor it. “What if my boss doesn’t like it?” “What if it fails and I get fired?” This kind of thinking blocks innovation and is actually hindering your productivity and growth, whether you know it or not.

To snap out of the mindset you’re currently in, I encourage you to try this exercise. Start brainstorming new ideas, and make the objective of your brainstorming to think specifically of ones that would get you fired. I’m not talking about spreading company gossip on your Facebook page or throwing up on the CEO at your holiday party (Yikes. Did anyone actually do that?). I’m also definitely not encouraging you to actually get fired; work experience and a 401K is sometimes too valuable to just give up.

I’m talking about creating an idea that deliberately takes you out of your habitual comfort zone. By thinking in this way, going to the extreme opposite of what’s expected, you actually ladder up your thinking. You might just come up with a nugget of an idea that’s pitch-worthy, even brilliant and highly-marketable. Read more on this creative-thinking technique here. 

Check out tip #6 in the series, Fail Harder.



For more actionable strategies, sign up for Brand School, the premier program that  teaches you how to grow your business by growing a stronger brand. From bull’s eye targeting to strategic social media and more – Brand School shares current best practices from Virgin and the world’s best brands  and teaches you how to apply these lessons to your business for greater impact from day one. To receive up to date news of the next semester and special offers for BrandTwist social media friends, sign up for the BrandTwist newsletter 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