Today’s guest post is by Jon Gatrell of Spatially Relevant


I’m always appreciative to meet good folks and develop relationships with folks online and this post is by way of one of those relationships. Kyle was kind enough to reciprocate with an opportunity to do a guest post in a response to my offer which started as part of my examining my Twitter network. Yup, Kyle and I met virtually by way of Twitter, so I think I have to make a confession based on the recent content around here. I use an Auto-DM capability which isn’t high on Kyle’s respectometer, but I do this for two reasons:

  • I’m fairly confident folks just click and add with no additional context, so I want to engage them in some fashion so they can potentially start a conversation. Net-Net – It works.
  • I travel a good deal, do a fairly large amount of tweeting from my phone, so I’m not always able to engage “in person” for a while and Auto-DM’s help validate that I’m “there”, if not in person.

The important point is I’m not trying to sell anything, just provide a snapshot into my views and to provide access to me while providing an introductory insight into my personality. In the end, I agree that it is about emotion, which is why Twitter is such an interesting topic for many.

Twitter is essentially an ecosystem with continuous growth and increasing capabilities which are core to the platform, but also market driven by the users. Twitter more so than any other online community does generate emotional responses from some and I think the graphics help do this while reinforcing the brand. That little bird is just something we all want to be free, open and happy. Right?

The Bird is the Brand

Brand is the culmination of many things, but it is often considered what is conjured up in your mind when you think about a brand. For Twitter, at least for me, it is the bird. I suspect I’m not alone and that this imagery is intentional. When you think of twitter there are probably 3 images you think of and probably in this order, depending on when you started using twitter:

  • The Bird
  • The Whale
  • The Robot – I think the robot is gone, so here is what it looked like

While I cite three different images, the common theme in all of these images is a bird. Twitter has from the beginning focused on delivering a simplified user interface and a single visual. The bird has become so integrated that the developer community has embrace iterations of the bird. Magpie (arrgh), Tweetlater, Twitterfeed, Twittad and Qwitter all have integrated a bird into their core visuals and UI. You go to these sites and the first thing you know is they do something for Twitter, you don’t even need to read a thing. Each of these platforms and their use of birds are riding the brand tails of Twitter and the promise of Twitter.

At some point in time, Ev and folks made a conscious decision: Develop a single creative which can represent the community and integrate it throughout the user/community experience. This isn’t an accident. Creative represents a key brand element that if contemplated as part of the original brand roll out and subsequent activities can drive increased visibility of the brand and develop a promise visually. While I don’t know what the official brand promise is for Twitter, I will take a guess based on what I think of:

  • Quick, easy and simple – “Effortless enagement, like a bird in flight”
  • We try real hard – “look our birds are trying to pick up a whale”We are different – “I know that teal/weird blue is odd, but the bird looks better in this color and we respect our bird”
  • We are everywhere – web, SMS, mobile apps. “No matter where you go you can see/hear a bird”
  • We are open and free – API and dev community. “When was the last time a caged bird sang?”

Brand and creative go hand and hand, so as you look to develop a brand, you also need to put together a strategic creative roadmap/plan.

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