Twitter's Barnes denies claims Aussie brands are lacking strategy

Twitter's Barnes denies claims Aussie brands are lacking strategy
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Twitter’s global head of brand and agency advocacy has rebuffed claims she believes Australian brands are lacking strategy when it comes to using the social platform.

A report in The Australian newspaper today said Twitter and its travelling advocate, Melissa Barnes, believed local brands were missing strategies to boost their bottom lines by capturing new traffic and taking advantage of user behaviour patterns.

But speaking at Mumbrella 360 this morning Barnes was quick to deny those sentiments.

“The lead of the story – I read it and my heart dropped because that is not at all what we said.

“The point I was trying to make is that we are meeting with brands to help them think through their strategy. It's not that people aren't smart and they’re not strategic.

"People here are super smart they're absolutely thinking about things the right way; they just need other examples of inspiration.”

Barnes is in Australia to spruik Twitter’s ability to help brands design social programs with business impact.

One objective consistently bandied around by marketers when it comes to creating social campaigns is “engagement”. But Barnes insisted this target was, in and of itself, meangingless.

“I hate meeting with brands and asking what their goals are and they say ‘engagement’. Engagement doesn’t mean anything.

“At some point the CEO is going to look at what you’re doing and so you’ve got to figure out a way to show how you are moving the business needle.”

Barnes singled out Oreo as one brand using Twitter to improve the bottom line.

Oreo’s sales have jumped 10% over the last year – something which Barnes and Oreo's owner Modelez believe can be traced back to the brand’s activity on Twitter.

“They tracked Twitter and the impact of the program they did and they are giving Twitter credit for giving them an increase of 10% of sales from last year,” said Barnes.

Oreo’s celebrated Superbowl ‘Dunk in the Dark’ stunt made headlines around the world during February’s competition.

But it was Oreo’s preceding commitment to posting regular Tweets – Tweets which featured cookies which had been carved, bitten and shaped to reflect big issues in the daily news – which made Oreo’s followers perceptive to ‘Dunk in the dark’.

Essentially, Barnes believes the reach and degree of conversation around the Superbowl initiative was made possible by Oreo’s prior, and deep rooted commitment to Twitter.

“It didn’t happen just because of the Superbowl moment. It happened because they’d been working all year long to build a steady conversation,” she said.

She also referred to a recent campaign from Target starring Justin Timberlake as exemplary in bottom-line Twitter strategy. The campaign featured a TVC starring the singer threw to the hashtag #MoreJT, which drove people to Target’s Twitter page.

Arriving at Target’s profile, fans were given the option to pre-order their copy of Timberlake’s upcoming album, thereby driving sales directly.

Much recent industry discussion has focused on the perks and uses of social in driving TV viewership, and Barnes claimed this was, indeed, the case.

The global Twitter advocate said the platform was now driving tune in, with 95% of public conversations about TV now happening on Twitter, and 50% of people Tweeting while they are watching TV.

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