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Being the core component of real time: Twitter’s calling card

Social media has become an interesting sphere for marketers to explore. And yet when a social media brand looks to market itself, the action very rarely plays on competing social media platforms. According to Twitter, the observation may not be completely true. The micro-blogging platform believes that it occupies a very unique space for all marketers – the enabler of the real time component, and that this allows it to work with whatever ecosystem is required, irrespective of the inclusion of other social media players.

Frederique Covington-Corbett, Twitter

Frederique Covington-Corbett, Twitter

“Every social media brand tries to demonstrate its value. In most cases, even in their own initiatives, they use their own platforms because they want to show the efficiency, reach and engagement of that platform. Having said that, one of the things true of Twitter is that we see ourselves friendly to all other social networks,” remarks Frederique Covington-Corbett, International Marketing Director, APAC, MENA and Canada for Twitter.

Ms Covington-Corbett points out that when Twitter is speaking to its advertisers, it looks at the media ecosystem the brand has and aims to complement that. “Within that ecosystem, there would be traditional and other social media platforms. We never tell our advertisers to not use any of the other platforms; we are completely aligned with what is most important to them. Twitter’s differentiation comes in bringing the ‘Live’ component that then complements the other platforms that the advertiser is working with,” she explains.

Twitter takes the same advice that it gives to its advertisers and hence Twitter’s own marketing exercise too has used other social platforms such as YouTube. Another area where Twitter practises what it preaches is in context to ‘owning the moment’.

To practise and to preach
Twitter’s marketing reflects the platform. Essentially what this implies is that Twitter works with a calendar that identifies global and local occasions or developments that are likely to attract consumer interest and engagement. Sometimes these are of global scale like large sporting events and other celebrations and sometimes the events are more local in nature, rooted in the culture of the market ranging from elections to religious observations.

Twitter’s ‘Own the Moment’ calendar, a dynamic application on its website that its advertising partners can also access, is created by spotting moments that matter to audiences – globally and locally. Ms Covington-Corbett comments, “Twitter is all about reflecting the culture. Much like we advise our brand advertisers, we also use this calendar to plot our approach in a market. What is good for people, advertisers, and also for creative and media people, is good for us. We tell agencies to plan for the moment and that is what we do. When you do that, different opportunities open up.”

The lynchpin to the approach however is the tailoring of the plan according to market. “That is one of the most exciting things of being Twitter,” states Ms Covington-Corbett, and explains, “As we do our jobs, we learn about the cultural affinity of every country and by the time we are speaking about the likes of India, UAE, Saudi or Singapore, there is so much of ethnographic work that would have been done. Our marketing effort is very local; there are no global packages dropped by ‘GI Joe’. This also makes it more time consuming because we have to pay attention to details and be sure that we do is respectful and relevant.”

To educate, inspire and thank
One of the examples of how the same activity can differ in the various APAC markets is Twitter’s recently undertaken exercise for the creative fraternity of #LiveCreativity. #LiveCreativity saw Twitter take some of the experience of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and bring it back to the region by including local agencies and marketers into the discussion. While in Singapore, the manifestation was Twitter doing its own event inviting key industry professionals, the chosen approach for Australia was more one-to-one and direct to agencies, taking the content on the road.

Even though the social network does not follow any standard execution, there are three main audiences that Ms Covington-Corbett’s team focusses on – brand marketers, clients and creative agencies. “Our first responsibility is to educate clients, creative people on how they can win awards, and media people on how to make great investments with Twitter. The second is to inspire then and our event #LiveCreativity is a step in that direction. Finally, we have to thank the many brands and users who help drive the activities of the group.”

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.
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