Middle School Marketing Recap: Is Twitter the Ultimate Emotional Branding Tool?

Anjali McKenzie, Former UX Researcher

Article Category: #Strategy

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This week’s MSM kicked off with a great question from Matt Smith of SmithGifford: is Twitter the ultimate form of emotional branding?

Some went on to argue that from a rational standpoint, Twitter might not make much sense since it doesn’t directly generate ROI, however emotionally it was huge. With Twitter, consumers feel more connected to a brand. Plus, aside from a resource cost, there is no other cost, so why not be on Twitter?

On the other hand, some argued that there IS a tangible ROI. Take Dell for example, who claims that Twitter has helped to bring in $3MM in sales thus far.

As always, however, with good comes bad. In the case of Twitter it’s risk. One negative @reply about your brand and you could be destroyed. Well, maybe not destroyed, but it could certainly sting a little.

The final conclusion was that, regardless of ROI, cost, or risk, the key benefit of Twitter was the consumer-to-company relationships and emotional branding it adds. Consumers want to peak “behind the scenes” and enjoy access to individuals of companies. They want to be able to communicate with that brand whether it’s to give props or complain. 

Of course this doesn’t just mean that all brands should hop on Twitter bandwagon. The only way consumers will actually feel that emotional connection via Twitter is if a company uses Twitter correctly. This isn’t always easy, as consumers are becoming more attuned to marketing speak and insincerity. Some examples of good uses of Twitter that the group mentioned:

  • Comcast: Twitter is their shining light in what is otherwise a black hole of customer service.
  • Zappos:  CEO Tony Hsieh takes a more personal spin on tweeting, sharing quotes, thoughts and images.
  • AAA:  Uses Twitter to post facts and stats about traffic, driving, and travel/motorist safety.

In the end, all agreed that Twitter is an emotional form of branding. And, there is a place for it in company’s marketing strategy.

What do you think about Twitter and emotional branding? How does your brand utilize Twitter? Let us know in a comment.

Thanks to everyone who made it out to this month’s MSN, hopefully we’ll see you all again (and more) next month!

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