Twitter Turmoil Poses Risks to the Company’s Brand

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The social media company headlines the early days of Elon Musk ownership

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“This uncertainty and instability, entirely from the creation of Musk, will quickly damage Twitter’s brand and unsustainable users,” said Darren Savage, Omnicom Group’s chief strategy officer. Inc.

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-Proprietary digital marketing agency Tribal Worldwide London.

But the new era at Twitter could also be an opportunity for the company to redefine its brand for the better.

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Sixty-four percent of Twitter users said that Mr Musk would have a positive impact on the product, according to a survey of 1,212 adults who used the platform by polling firm Harris Insights & Analytics between October 28 and 30.

Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said the platform has received an incredible amount of publicity since the acquisition of Mr. “And in many ways, this is great news for Twitter, because now people are thinking about Twitter for the first time in a very long time,” he said.

But it is not clear what exactly Twitter will be like under Mr Musk’s leadership, Mr Calkins said.

Twitter did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr Musk has indicated he wants Twitter to be less restrictive about what users can share, and a link to a conspiracy theory about an attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in his first weekend as owner posted. He later deleted the tweet, saying more broadly that he would set up a special council to deal with questions of content moderation.

Advertising executives said Twitter is likely to prove it can prevent advertisers from appearing “safe” near content they may find, while assuring those advertisers that they are willing to fund such a platform. We are not helping anything that allows racist or hateful content to flourish, advertising executives said.

Tony Box, senior vice president of social media at media agency Assembly, part of ad holding company Stagwell, said, “Advertisers are thinking about how their dollars spent on the platform can be treated as a direct endorsement of Elon’s personal views. could.” Inc.

“And Musk’s own personal tweets are being questioned with respect to brand safety and immediacy, so it could be very damaging if not addressed quickly.”

Howard Belk, co-CEO of Omnicom Group brand consultancy Siegel + Gail, said events on Twitter are changing the way people see it. “The recent turmoil at the company has had a catastrophic effect on Twitter, with users and advertisers raising questions about whether Twitter is a safe media channel for desired consumers, or merely a play for Musk and the evil of domestic and all-around Actors are a misinformation tool for the world,” he said.

Mr Belk said Twitter will now need to work on communicating with users in an effort to pacify users or potentially risk losing them.

Prior to Mr Musk, Twitter faced a series of controversies that shocked some advertisers and users.

Twitter’s monetized average daily active users rose to 237.8 million in the second quarter of this year, up from 229 million in the first quarter and 206 million a year ago.

The company’s marketing team has over the years developed ad campaigns that position Twitter as a go-to place for people who wanted to know what was happening in the world and bring their most authentic selves to the Internet. . Ads are intended to promote the active user base of the Platform by copying or reproducing often-irrelevant copywriting displayed by users on the Platform. It ran an ad during the Oscars in 2018.

But news coverage and Mr Musk’s tweets could play a big part in Twitter’s perception as the company’s advertising spend is relatively modest, and has been declining recently.

According to estimates by research firm Kantar Media, the company spent $1.4 million to advertise itself in the US from January to August this year, down from $2.2 million in the same period a year ago. Those figures include media such as TV, radio, outdoor advertising, magazines and the Internet, but do not include social media.

By comparison, ads promoting the hot social-media platform TikTok in the US totaled $51.6 million from January to August, up from $32.7 million in the same months of 2021.

“The brand drives strong engagement and relevance with its core users and has gained a significant presence in the culture,” said Andrew Miller, executive strategy director of Interbrand, a brand consulting firm owned by Omnicom that annually ranks companies’ brand values. does.

But it is a potential inflection point for Twitter, Mr Miller said. “When brands undergo business transformation, either in this case acquisition, merger, or going private, one of the most important near-term objectives concerns the user and customer base to minimize the crash through the transition. have to calm down.”

Twitter’s brand would benefit if its new owner took a step back from micromanaging day-to-day operations and avoided unhelpful tweets, including a new Friday about a “huge drop in revenue” from advertisers’ cuts, says Aaron Quitken. , said founder and chairman of Stagwell public relations firm KWT Global.

“I think the brand is irreparably damaged, really, unless Musk can find someone else to run Twitter,” Mr Quitken said. “People used to say Twitter was like a town square. It’s actually becoming a gladiator arena.”

Write to Patrick Coffee at [email protected], Megan Graham at [email protected] and Katie Deighton at [email protected]

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