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How To Develop Breakthrough Business Marketing Ideas: Brite '12

Posted by Christine Whittemore on May 9, 2012 9:45:00 AM

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BRITE at Columbia Business School

I'm always on the lookout for innovative business marketing ideas, ones that simplify or solve problems, that breakthrough humdrum routines. Columbia Business School's BRITE '12 Conference did that with Julie Cottineau's presentation titled 5 Strategies for Successful Entrepreneurial Branding.

Julie Cottineau, founder of BrandTwist, was immersed in breakthrough business marketing ideas as vice president, brand, Virgin USA. Her focus at BrandTwist is challenging perspectives to come up with unexpected solutions, juxtaposing two brands - for example - twisting their essence together to generate a fresh take.

As with the framework described during BRITE 09: Innovating During Downturns & Surviving the Worst, I found Julie's 5 successful strategies for entrepreneurial branding and the brand fan inspirational exercise thought-provoking...

Here follow my highlights:

How to take the desire to do things better and funnel that into entrepreneurial success stories?

1. Make it personal. Take something you care intensely about and figure out to to make it reality. The idea for Virgin came about because Richard Branson believed that people deserved better.

2. Take a fresh look. What would a McDonald's plane look like? What about a mashup of Delta and Starbucks? KLM announced social seating for flights. How might more "Apple-ness" be integrated into businesses?

3. Be useful rather than innovative. This places the customer as the center of the thought-process for breakthrough business marketing ideas. Think how useful Zappos, Pinterest, Starbucks, Trader Joe's are to customers. Innovations add value and usefulness. 

4. Live in constant Beta. Never achieve perfection; be constantly innovating, improving, adding usefulness. [I find 'living in beta' takes away the stress associated with a project and turns it into an ongoing learning experience.] 

5. Fail smarter. Learn from every experience so the next iteration is that much better.

Julie Cottineau then took us through a 'brand fan inspirational' exercise:

Step 1: Think of brands you admire intensely [no lukewarm brands here!]; ones that are intensely customer focused [Zappos], anticipate customer behaviors [Amazon], solve old problems in new ways [Apple]. Detail the following:

  • What do you admire about this brand?
  • How does it solve customer problems?
  • What is the customer experience like?
  • What makes the brand effective? Is it people, processes, products?
  • How does the brand take part in the digital world? Does it help the customer experience?
  • How does it behave compared to competitors?

Step 2: Think about your own business.

  • What are customer 'pain points' that you wish to improve?
  • How would you surprise and delight customers?

Step 3: Get inspired!

  • What if your model brand had to solve your problems? How would it approach them? What would it do? What would it change?
  • How would Apple deal with your problems? How would Whole Foods or Trader Joe's? How would a mashup of Citibank and Google reinvent your banking customer experience? What about a combination of Barnes & Noble and Starbucks for a local public library? [Which is the case in Bibliotheek Almere For an Unforgettable Retail Experience].

Pretty interesting, do you think?

You can hear Julie Cottineau speak about 5 Strategies for Successful Entrepreneurial Branding in this 7 minute video.

[Click on Five Strategies for Entrepreneurial BrandingJulie Cottineau, Founder, BrandTwist, former VP of Brand, Virgin USA to link directly to this video on YouTube.]

What are your reactions?

How do you plan to develop breakthrough business marketing ideas for your organization? Which brands inspire you the most and how do you see twisting them?

Topics: brand marketing, innovation

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