The Twitter dilemma: How to embrace without touching ~ Brand Mix

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Twitter dilemma: How to embrace without touching

Back a long, long time ago when I was at school, we had a teacher who stood in as school nurse for a while. He had no medical training and, whatever our ailment, he prescribed a Strepsil throat lozenge. He had a big tub of them so it was very efficient and great as long as we weren't actually that sick.

I was reminded of that story when I received this tweet from Nescafé after my post about its latest advertising campaign:

NescafeUSA @martinjbishop We liked your blog post! Have you gotten a chance to try the Nescafe stick packs yet?

A response that just didn't connect back to what I had been writing about (which was whether Nescafe's advertising response to the launch of Starbucks VIA instant coffee was a good idea or not).

If you take a look at @nescafeusa, you can see what's going on. There's only a narrow range of tweet types:

1) Approval (or RTs) for anyone who mentions Nescafe positively
2) Suggestion to try Nescafe stick packs for anyone who mentions VIA
3) Occasional chipper "morning everyone" tweets

This, I think, shows the dilemma that Twitter poses for companies like Nestle that have traditionally had a very cautious relationship with the outside world (media and consumers). They want to join this new social media thing but they worry about how to engage safely and how to keep control. Better not give the probably-relatively-junior member of the brand team "in charge" too much leeway, they think, else he/she says something that will get us into trouble. And we can't expect our senior marketers to take on this job. They've got enough on their plate already and they're not that interested.

So they end up with this rather bland, occasionally ill-fitting, half effort where the toe has barely touched the water. Contrast this with the beyond-expectations response I got a few weeks ago from Irritrol, a much smaller company that hasn't even decided what to do with Twitter yet but who is already using the medium more effectively.

1 comment:

Denise Lee Yohn said...

shame on @nescafe -- and any other brand which fails to see twitter as a touchpoint through which the brand must be interpreted and reinforced appropriately, just like any other toucpoint

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