How Twitter Can Help Activate Your Brand Purpose

November 27, 2018

By Chuck Kapelke


Marketers have a variety of ways to bring a brand purpose to life, but social media channels like Twitter can be particularly powerful, as they allow for continual reinforcement of a narrative, not to mention sharing, which is essential for spawning a movement around a brand. While Twitter is generally considered an external marketing tool, it can also be used to get a company's employees fired up.

Consider the example of REI's "#OptOutside" campaign, through which the outdoor sporting gear company gave its employees a paid day off on "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving) so they could spend time in nature, instead of in shopping malls. While #OptOutside was meant to inspire consumers as much as employees, the message was a reflection of REI's brand purpose, and the company used interactive tools to build momentum, including sending people a playful, nature-related GIF if they used the #OptOutside hashtag.

As part of its "#OptOutside" campaign, REI offered employees a paid day off on Black Friday to spend time in nature. REI/YouTube

"It mapped to their brand belief that a life well lived is a life spent outdoors," says Stacy Minero, head of content creation at Twitter. "It flowed from an internal rallying cry. It was almost cheering people on and making the whole experience fun and rallying people behind the movement."

Twitter can also be useful for senior leaders who want to show the world, including their employees, that they are walking the talk. Minero points to the example of T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere, who embodies the company's brand purpose of being the "Un-Carrier," which includes being "customer crazed." On his Twitter account, Legere describes himself as the "Magenta-wearing, customer-loving @TMobile USA CEO focused on ending wireless pain points and scaring our competitors!" And his Twitter feed shows him continually bringing the purpose to life, whether by challenging competitors to improve their poor service or visiting stores and celebrating employees for their customer obsession.

Customer obsession is a key part of T-Mobile's brand purpose of being the "Un-Carrier." T-Mobile/YouTube

"He's known to be very disruptive," Minero says. "He's swiping at the competition, but it's also an employee engagement tool, as he's on the front line in stores across the country, making people feel like they're the challenger taking on the behemoth. Everybody in the company could see how important it is to be customer-centric."

Minero recommends that brands use Twitter to showcase authentic manifestations of their purpose, not to tout their good deeds in a way that might appear to be self-serving.

"Focus more on what you do before you focus in on what you say," she says. "Make it easy to understand what your purpose is and how that maps back to your principles and products, and make it easy for people to engage and share. By inviting people to participate through interactive formats, you can move them from feeling to doing, and you can galvanize people by celebrating those who pledge their support … Purpose has to come from some deep-seated belief from the company that is then translated out to the consumer. Think about human-centric stories that will have emotional resonance. Show consumers why they should care, and invite them to take part."

Writer Chuck Kapelke is a frequent contributor to ANA Newsstand and the Marketing Maestros blog.



Heads Up

A Center with Purpose

The ANA recently launched the Center for Brand Purpose, which seeks to be the marketing industry's go-to source for education, guidance, and leadership on purposeful marketing. It will do so by providing the content, tools, events, and development programs necessary to maximize marketers' understanding of purposeful marketing and its significance to driving brand growth. Learn more.
— C.K.


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