There’s now less than a month to go until we head down to London for the 2016 Guardian Changing Media Summit! Every week we have brought you a new addition from 10-1 of our top talks from last year alongside our own commentary and opinion. With less than 4 weeks left we take a look at number #4 on our list of top 10 talks from 2015!



John’s take on this talk


“It’s always interesting to see the different ways that a platform such as Twitter can be used, and the different functions it can provide – depending on who is using it and for what reason. While initially this might seem like a talk that would not be of immediate interest to those of us in marketing/communications/advertising/corporate industries, I believe that by taking a side glance at the platforms that we use every day it is possible to breath new life into the way in which we think and work.


By considering Twitter in relation to, in this case a political campaign – and how particular political parties or supporters can and have used platforms such as Twitter – we can learn a great deal about both where advertising and branding differs and also intersects with business and advertising.”


John Thomas, Head of Creative Services


Why Twitter is perfect for political campaigning and how this is relevant to brands


As Adam Sharp explains in this talk, the four cornerstones of Twitter – the fact that it’s public, it’s real time, it’s conversational and it’s distributed – make it perfect for political campaigning.


Rather than having to impersonally broadcast their election spiel, politicians and political parties have the opportunity to involve themselves in conversations that are happening in real-time. As Sharp explains, this has the effect of “bringing conversation out of the coffee shops and dining rooms – out to where we can listen to them and get an instant appreciation for what the electorate is talking about and reacting to”.


While this can be said of an election campaign it can also be said of the relationship that is now possible to be had between a brand and a customer, or between a charity and a follower, or any number of other relationships that it is now possible to have online.


While Sharp perhaps emphasises a little strongly the universality of Twitter as a medium of which to gauge the general public feeling during an election, and perhaps suggests a closer proximity than is strictly true of the relationship between twitter user and political candidate, it is certainly true that platforms such as Twitter provide an entirely different and much more interactive way of experiencing an election campaign. Something which is of course also true of the relationship between customers and brands.


The opportunities are clearly there – as they are for any organisation looking to make an impact on Twitter. Whether or not this increases trust, or makes the candidates who use social media seem any less “out of touch” with the electorate, however, may be a more contentious issue (as Ed Balls knows all too well).


While there are of course some major differences between a political campaign and an advertising campaign, there is much that we can learn from looking at a platform such as Twitter from a slightly different perspective to the norm. Just as a political candidate has the opportunity to involve the electorate in a conversation, and – superficially at least – draw them a little closer to what we might conceive to be a “one on one” communication with that candidate (than is possible through broadcasting), so is the case for brands attempting to communicate on a more personal level with their followers.


While we might say that brands have proven themselves to be more adept at this communication, it is still interesting to consider the advantages and pit-falls that a platform like Twitter has from the perspective of different bodies, organisations and groups – even if that insight is to avoid doing an Ed Balls.


If you would like to know more about how you can improve your social media performance then why not get in touch today. Our media planning and buying team are social media experts and love to work with clients to come up with new and exciting campaigns on their behalf.


By Team HS