Faaez Samadi
Jun 20, 2017

Twitter CMO: Brand identity and simplicity key for advertisers

Leslie Berland said the platform’s new look and feel is designed with both users and brands in mind.

Leslie Berland
Leslie Berland

A clear brand identity and a simple digital product are the two most common requests from advertisers looking for opportunities with Twitter, said the company’s global CMO.

Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific at Cannes Lions 2017, Leslie Berland, Twitter’s first global CMO, said the brand has geared itself even more to attracting new users and more advertisers with its facelift, revealed last week.

Having attracted criticism in the past for being too cluttered and confusing, Berland said Twitter’s new user interface is “more delightful, lighter and simpler to use”.

“It shows the speed of Twitter, which is unique to us as we’re about what’s happening right now,” she said.

As with any significant brand revamp or development, the re-design was heavily based on research with both user and advertisers. For the latter, Berland said she hears two “very important things” from them.

“One is the identity piece, to be very clear on what Twitter is and why it’s different,” she said That starts with ‘What’s Happening’, which has very much resonated, because on Twitter you can inject into a moment and really be a part of it.

“From a product perspective, it’s simplifying it. Making it easier to use and more intuitive is something I know is very important to them [advertisers],” she said.  

While the redesign is new, Twitter’s journey to clarify its brand identity began when Berland joined almost 18 months ago. She restructured the marketing and communications functions so they were all under her roof, to ensure they were all “focused on the top priorities, doing fewer things bigger and better”.

From this, the ‘What’s Happening’ platform was launched, together with an ongoing marketing campaign that saw two new adverts launched at Cannes yesterday, in the US and Japan.

“It was a very important foundation to build, on top of which everything else about the brand was built,” she explained. “Our product strategy is rooted in this too—news and information, learning about what’s happening in the world.”

Berland also formed Twitter Studio last year, an in-house team of creatives, producers, directors, content strategists and social-media marketers. While Studio is not in the public eye as much as other areas of Twitter, Berland said the team was instrumental in bringing ‘What’s Happening’ to life, together with two US agencies, Hustle and Laundry Service.

Looking ahead, Berland noted Twitter’s significant growth in Asia-Pacific. “We know it’s competitive and we’re up for that challenge,” she said.

“Our brand positioning and particularly what we’re doing with live [video] is enabling us to tap into that opportunity. Continuing the strategy of ‘global but local’ ensures we stay relevant.”

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