Sharpen Your Digital Fluency to Win the Job

This post, Sharpen Your Digital Fluency to Win the Job, is another in our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. Julie Cottineau gives her top tips and shares insights from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

Whether you are a raving fan of Facebook – or a hater – it doesn’t really matter.

Part of the appeal of hiring someone in their 20’s is that the hiring manager (often someone in their 40’s or 50’s) believes that you are a Digital Native and that you will help them decipher Instagram from Pinterest and everything in between.

I meet marketing students all the time who say, “I’m not really that into social media.” Well here’s my advice… Get into it. Fast.

If you are interested in branding or marketing, you need to be fluent in Social Media. Not as someone posting vacation pics and snaps of wild karaoke nights – but as someone who understands and appreciates the power of social media to connect with people, create dialogue and build brands.

The latest “hot” social channel may fluctuate or evolve over time (personally I think there is a whole generation of tweens who are going to be more loyal to Instagram then Facebook) but two-way relationships – engagement marketing – are here to stay. And you need to know your Tumblr from your Twitter and how to use it for brands you will be helping to build.

So what’s a budding brander to do? Does this mean you have to become an uber blogger or tweet 24/7? No, but you do need to be able to demonstrate digital fluency:

  • Be prepared in interviews to talk about what brands and branding experts you follow on Twitter.
  • Reach out to experts and agencies through their blogs/twitter accounts. Leave positive, insightful comments. These budding relationships could  help you down the road in your job search.
  • Make sure you have a professional presence on the major social media such as Linkedin and Twitter, and make sure your profiles are up-to-date
  • If you have a Linkedin or Twitter profile, make sure you include a professional, friendly picture. None of those grey portrait outlines or generic blue eggs. They communicate that you are not really committed.
  • And think about starting a blog or a twitter account dedicated to branding, marketing, and/or creativity. No one but your mom may read it at first, but it you post or tweet fairly frequently, it will eventually come up when prospective employers Google your name – and it will show that you are serious about the field.

Want to start increasing your visibility right away? Apply to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist. We’re always looking for great student and guest authors for our blog. Interested? Just send a brief synopsis of your blog idea along with a sample paragraph to and we will contact you within one week to let you know if your blog idea has been accepted for further development.

BrandTwist does not pay for guest blog content, but we will provide you with a byline that includes your bio and contact details. This is a great platform to reach other people who are passionate about brand. Who knows… maybe your future employer will see your blog post and call you for an interview!

Hone your skills. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding course, will give you the tools you need to develop your branding skills. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“Brand School helped me get clear on my messaging and my brand. Now my clients know exactly what it is I bring to my classes.” – Josh Pais, Actor and Founder of Committed Impulse, creativity workshop

Land the Job: Bring Your Experience Off the Page!

This post, Land the Job: Bring Your Experience Off the Page! is another in our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. Julie Cottineau gives her top tips and shares insights from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

One of the most important challenges to landing a job in branding is knowing how to make sure you stand out. Chances are there are more than a few candidates vying for the same internship or full time job that you’ve got your eye on.

Having been on the hiring side many times, I can tell you that after a while the stream of candidates becomes a blur. One thing that helps a candidate stand out is to have a presentation of his or her experience. I call this a “visual resume.” By that I simply mean: a well-designed, clean PDF that brings some of the examples in your resume to life. For example:

  • Spent a summer as an intern at a local agency? Put a screen grab of that agency’s logo and some of the key projects/brands you were involved with on a page. Make sure you don’t show anything that the Agency or their clients would consider confidential (when in doubt ask).

Help your prospective employer visualize your experience.

  • Ran the marketing for one of your school’s events? Show pictures from the day and include stats about how many people you reached etc.

Unless you’ve worked on mega brands like Coke and Nike, it’s going to take your interviewer a few minutes to really understand what you are talking about and determine if the experience is relevant to what he or she is looking for. Help them make the leap more quickly by brining the examples to life. To that end, make sure you are taking pictures at any school events, and scanning the covers and key pages of any relevant projects (like a marketing class project where you had to come up with ideas for a new brand).

Another effective thing that you can do which shows your interest in the job is do an informal customer experience audit before the interview and bring your findings with you.

When I was interviewing to be the VP of Brand at Virgin, I did my own desktop audit of the Virgin brand – I looked at the websites of each of the individual brands in the Virgin family and I did an informal survey about what the brand stood for among people in what I perceived to be their target market. I presented these “findings” along with some initial suggestions on how to address the brand’s challenges as part of my interview. I didn’t present it as in-depth research, just a conversation starter. But it did show that I wasn’t just saying I was interested in working there; I was proving it through a bit of extra research. And the rest is history…

Think about putting in a little extra work prior to your interview and be prepared to share a point of view. You don’t have to be “right” in your learning, just as long as you can demonstrate a solid thought process. It will also help you gauge how open your potential employer is to suggestions. Receive more tips and techniques on how to do this in our post HERE.

Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, gives you the tools and techniques you need to keep your brand shining through and standing out. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“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

Student Entrepreneurs Rock!

Great day yesterday at Columbia Business School talking innovation with the students in Professor Toubia’s marketing class.

Some interesting student generated ideas about new places the Virgin brand could go. Everywhere from condoms to senior living facilities for today’s hip, active Boomers. Definitely a lot to think about.

Pleased to see so many students taking control of their own futures and planning to start businesses of their own. The upside of this terrible economy..more entrepreneurs. My preview yesterday of the passion and intelligence of this group makes me confident they will succeed.

Lots of questions during and after the lectures on how to create a brand that’s as strong as your business idea. Exactly the content we will be covering in our  Brand in a Box: Branding for Entrepreneurs class on July 15th in NYC.

As promised, here’s the updated link to the event.

We’ve been able to reduce the price to $250 thanks to a corporate sponsor.

We’d love to have students join (men and women welcome) and have decided to give a special offer of two tickets for the price of one for students only. If you are a student, choose 2 tickets and enter the discount code student to access this offer.

That’s my POV what’s your twist?

Are you a student (or young) entrepreneur? What are the biggest challenges you are facing? We’d love to hear from you.