Samsung, Toyota, AB InBev on using Twitter to tap into culture

The marketing leaders share how to build brand love and purchase intent using tweets.

After the Samsung Note 7 exploding phone crisis in 2016, the company was understandably concerned about its brand perception, making it cautious when communicating with consumers. But then, the electronics giant decided that in order to connect with its community, it had to "speak to them as people," said Kathleen Braine, senior marketing manager at Samsung.

"We had to drive brand love by talking to people about what they love," said Braine on the "Broadcasting to break through: Brands in the driver's seat" panel Tuesday during New York Advertising Week.

When it launched its GS8 after the Note 7 debacle, Samsung asked fans on Twitter to post the first picture they take with their phone. In typical social media fashion, the first tweet was about "dick pics," said Braine, adding that Samsung decided to respond in a relevant, non-corporate way.

"We put out a microscope emoji as a response," she said. The post ended up earning half a million PR impressions. Samsung also targeted the people who said they’d be switching to Samsung after the emoji post with top-of-funnel brand messaging. Braine said it led to a lift in purchase intent.

Spencer Gordon, senior director of digital at Anheuser Busch who was also on the panel, said that the company has mainly been driven in the past by sponsorships and sports and TV, and while it’s not straying away from that approach, it’s complementing it with other efforts. So far, the brand has seen success in surrounding its brands with key moments in sports, culture, entertainment and everyday life, said Gordon.

Take, for example, the company’s Bud Light "Dilly Dilly" initiative, which blew up pop culture earlier this year. After NFL Eagles player Lane Johnson said that he’d buy the whole city of Philadelphia a beer if the team won the Super Bowl, Bud Light decided to jump onboard. The brand promised on Twiter to buy the community a beer if the Eagles won the big game – perhaps not expecting the team to get as far as it did. Philadelphia fans began tweeting "Philly Philly" instead of "Dilly Dilly" and the Eagles even named a play in the Super Bowl after the slogan.

Once the Eagles won, Gordon said Bud Light worked with the team and the city to bring the effort to life with a tour bus and the Bud Knight mascot. Following the effort, Bud Light saw a 30 percent jump in Miller Light’s number one market, "and it all started from a tweet," said Gordon.

At Toyota Motor North America, Twitter is often used as a way to enhance reveals and live events, said Media Manager Pam Park. At CES this year, the automaker unveiled its electric, flexible e-Palette concept car, which included a live stream of the actual announcement. Park said the stream received more views than it would have for Super Bowl - eight million to be exact. I remember sitting there in the audience and just watching the numbers go up," she said.

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