Twitter has become a primary source of information and insights for many of the top names in Canadian industry. In the coming months, we will be sitting down with some of these professionals and asking them about the service, how they use it and why Twitter has become an important tool in the professional lives. Our first Q&A is with Robert Jenkyn, president of Media Experts.
Who or what is your favourite follow on Twitter?
From the professional side, it would be #BellLetsTalk. It’s a Canada-wide cause that has become the number one most used hashtag in Canada. Media Experts has proudly helped drive the media and grow support for mental health initiatives with Bell over a number of years, and we are quite proud of the work that we have done on #BellLetsTalk.
On the personal front, I tend to follow comedians in general and Ricky Gervais specifically. I follow him because I find him funny and provocative. I find his Twitter game to be really interesting. He courts controversy but he doesn’t back down from it, and I think that’s an interesting approach to using Twitter.
Why do you use Twitter?
For me, I use Twitter more as a reader and a listener as opposed to someone who Tweets a lot. Perhaps I haven’t yet found my voice when it comes to Twitter, but I am interested in what happens on the platform.
As a company, we work closely with Twitter. It gets our brand in front of the right audiences at the right time. We find it’s the most real-time platform where we can really break through with impactful messaging on behalf of our clients. It allows brands to interact with consumers on a one-to-one level. I think that, when done right and done effectively, it’s very powerful and very relevant.
Recently, Twitter launched research in partnership with Media Experts and IPG Mediabrands. Why did you partner with Twitter for this research?
We partnered with Twitter because of the nature of how Twitter operates. It always has its finger on the pulse - not just of cultural trends but of how people feel about them and how people engage with them - that’s the key thing. We used the platform because of its one-to-one connectivity as well as its real-time reactions when it comes to culture.
The study showed that Twitter users indexed slightly higher when it came to the importance of culture in brand marketing. If you want to partner with a platform on a cultural study, Twitter is the obvious choice, due to the nature of the platform and how people consume content while on it.
What were some of the interesting insights from this research?
The coolest thing that I found was that of the factors that influence purchase decisions. Aside from price and quality, it was cultural impact that had the largest influence on purchase decisions for Canadians. People were willing to pay more for products when brands were connecting to a cultural moment or a cultural conversation that resonated.
It really supports a lot of what we’ve been doing with our customers over the last several years. We built the business on performance marketing and driving results that matter for our customers. We know that without brand marketing support, particularly around culture and community, the performance media doesn’t work as hard. If we have brand marketing supported by cultural marketing, the overall performance of the campaign is improved. This is because the perception of the brand being showcase is one that’s part of the community, more engaged, and of better quality. This is something that we’ve been impressing upon our brands for the last three years or longer.
Have you shared these findings? What has been the reaction to some of the insights?
We had three events in three cities: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, and in each city the reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to supporting the notion that clients need to focus as much on brand as they do on performance, it has sparked healthy conversations and debates about how they conduct their brand marketing, where they conduct their brand marketing, and how to be as authentic as possible when doing so. They want to walk the walk and be true to the brand as well as to their consumers, and this research provides the proof points to build that strategy. It’s been very positively received and has sparked a lot of great discussions and next-step activity.
When you think of Twitter, the first you word you think of is...
Trending. Provocative. Thought-provoking.
Whether it is political discourse or whether it is a comedian like Ricky Gervais, it often sparks a debate in real time and it’s interesting to see what people say. I don’t always agree with the comments, and I don’t always agree with the responses. But at least the discourse is being made public and it is really challenging how we think and how we behave as a society.