How brands have changed marketing through Twitter

By Gordon Macmillan

Today as we celebrate our tenth birthday, we’re taking time to highlight how brands have changed marketing through their use of Twitter. Brands have discovered a new way of connecting with consumers as they’ve pioneered real-time marketing, which they’ve seamlessly connected to their wider advertising activity. It has been wonderful to see brands flourish, to see the creativity they have brought to the platform and the places they’ve taken us.

Thank you.

Love, Twitter.

  1. From customer service to serving customers

    Brands have always found great ways to express themselves. On Twitter, brands have connected with consumers in new and more direct ways than ever before as they have developed techniques and authenticity for customer service and their tone of voice.

    It is a development that, Laura Di Simone (@MsDeVenoge), AMV BBDO, head of social, says helped brands evolve: “Twitter has given the individual more power to challenge businesses to both improve and evolve their offering. From customer service to product development — the consumer has more influence than ever before.”

    There have been some wonderful examples of this. Think of Dutch airline @KLM and its #happytohelp campaign. Or how brands have stepped beyond what one might expect from them and entertained customers through their interactions as @O2 did as it showed off its ability to talk Jamaican patois.



    These are examples of how brands have really changed their interactions with customers. A major change for brands according to Ben Poole, chief digital officer, MEC: “Twitter has transformed customer service and radically altered customer expectations of companies.”

    Thank you for reinventing customer service and putting people first.
  2. Real-time marketing

    If Twitter has provided a platform for real-time marketing then it is brands that have led the way. Think of the moment Oreo sent its “Dunk in the dark” Tweet. We have seen brands tell stories in new ways whether it is @UbisoftUK asking fans to create their own adventure or @British_Airways with its ingenious #RaceThePlane that unfolded in real time.



    It provides immediate feedback on what’s worked, says Claudine Collins (@claudinecollins), Managing Director UK, at MediaCom.

    “Twitter has brought real time to the fore and means that marketers and brands can see immediately if something has worked or not. That kind of immediate feedback means we can make real-time decisions to improve, change or stop or marketing activity whilst something is still running rather than retrospectively changing our approach.”

    Thank you for creating a live connection to culture.
  3. Speed of culture

    Often this activity is happening at extraordinary speed. Think about the pace that brands now react be it to moments that involve them or wider culture. Think of @Pepsi at the Super Bowl with its war room, or Jaffa Cakes and the new £1 coin.



    These are moments that show brands communicating at the speed of culture. It is the one thing above others that James Whatley (@Whatleydude), Digital Director, at Ogilvy, points to when he thinks about Twitter.

    “If I had to point at the one thing that Twitter’s 10 years of existence has changed in marketing it would be the sheer speed of it all. From briefs, creative, approvals, all the way through to publishing - the entire process of just getting something out the door has been sped up exponentially. Done correctly, this is a GOOD THING. And brands can (and do) finally communicate at the speed of culture.”

    Thank you for the speed you bring to the platform.
  4. Creating cultural movements

    Twitter provides an audience, but it is the job of brands to find ways to connect with that audience.There have been some wonderful examples of brands doing this in powerful ways that have been forces for social change and positivity.

    Think of @PaddyPower and other brands involved in the #RainbowLaces campaign. A campaign to tackle homophobia inside of football. Or @WWF using emojis to highlight the plight of endangered species.



    Jerry Dakin (@jdaykin), Global digital partner, Carat, says: “Twitter has fundamentally shifted the speed of culture and the extent to which trends and content can travel around the globe, and in doing so created both new creative opportunities and challenges.”

    Thank you for creating movements for social good.
  5. Live video

    Video has grown phenomenally on Twitter. And we’ve seen it used in exciting ways. The arrival of live video, however, has added a new dimension, which transports people to moments as they unfold.

    Dakin says it is live moments and video, (think of @Doritos during this year’s Super Bowl or @Target and Gwen Stefani at the Grammys on Periscope) this that brings consumers closer:

    “With Moments and Periscope integration they’ve already begun showing that Twitter isn’t unique because of a character limit, it’s unique because nothing else brings you closer to live culture and the passions that matter to you.”



    Thank you for taking people to the heart of the action.
  6. The hashtag and new forms of visual expression

    Hashtags have inspired new ways of thinking and new forms of visual expression. They have become movements. Candace Kuss (@CandaceKuss), Director of Social Media, Hill & Knowlton Strategies, says they are at the top of the agenda in meetings.

    “In agencies and client marketing meetings everywhere, the first question around a new campaign is “What’s the hashtag?” More functional than a traditional tag line, they can express a motivating idea, a mood, a movement or a rallying cry. Symbolic of online communication and connection, hashtags have migrated onto billboards, print ads and almost half the TV ads in the Super Bowl. While they are now found on multiple platforms, there is no doubt that hashtags are synonymous with Twitter.”

    We have seen great examples of this. Look to @Pampers_UK and #everybaby as it joined the birth of the royal baby conversation. Or Coca-Cola as it became the first brand to launch a custom emoji on Twitter and extend its #ShareaCoke marketing into digital conversations.





    Thank you for bringing people closer.
  7. Personalised content

    Brands now not only successfully get closer to consumers, they have been able to make some of what they do more personal. @Burberry is a brand that has been very creative in how it has achieved this. We saw that at #LFW last year with #Tweetcam.



    According to Henry Arkell (@henry_arkell), Head of Social Advertising, Manning Gottlieb OMD, this makes for a more receptive consumer:

    “Twitter provides a more effective way to execute a successful campaign than mainstream media channels. The highly personalised environment of the Twitter timeline, combined with a detailed interest-graph, enables us to identify the right person — then reach them via an environment where they are highly receptive to consume messaging.”

    Thank you for taking the time to make it personal.
  8. New digital creators

    A clear trend over the last 18 months has been the rise of the content creators. Brands are embracing this trend. Whether it is @EE at Glastonbury or @Tesco with its Valentine’s Day Vines.

    It is says Stephen Tive Pirrie (@Tive), Strategy Director at R/GA London, giving a peek into the future. “Combine video innovations with acquisitions like creator community, Niche, and we get a clearer window into the future: brands pushing harder on generating value-adding creative content with, or learning from, native creators to find increasing cultural relevance amongst their audiences.”

    Thank you for introducing a new wave of creativity.