Let’s Go Twitter: 5 Questions With CMO Leslie Berland


Let's Go Twitter

Every day, Twitter throws the world’s biggest party. There’s no velvet rope, and everyone’s invited. You’ll meet presidents, pop stars and even the Pope. You’ll find some of the brightest, funniest and most engaging people on the planet—and therein lies the rub. Some people, once in the door after signing up, need some pointers on what to do next—who to follow, where to find them and how to discover interesting conversations on topics near and dear—or new and intriguing—to their hearts.

Twitter feels their pain. After refreshing the brand identity in 2016, in June it sought to clarify the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of Twitter with #SeeEverySide, a campaign to highlight the diverse voices and perspectives on what’s happening, as it happens.

The next phase in Twitter’s brand transformation is the “how” part of the customer journey, which launches today with a new campaign that addresses the needs of some first-time users with a light touch.


It features droll-but-engaging British comedian Romesh Ranganathan as that congenial host at a party who steers you towards the kitchen (where the best conversations and beer/nibbles can be found), introduces you to like-minded souls and makes sure you have a drink in your hand and friends to enjoy it with before he’s off to greet the next wave of newcomers at the front door.

The first spot demystifies Twitter by showing how easy it is to sign up by phone. The message: “Don’t worry. It’s just Twitter. Choose your interests. Find people to follow. That’s it.” Easy-peasy, even if your interests are as arcane as geode-collecting.

The second spot is the “OK, now what?” piece of Twitter—finding topics you care about and interesting people who are also engaged in them. Or as Twitter says, “Let’s go explore together. Finding the things you love has never been easier.”

The tagline reads, “Let’s explore. Let’s discover. Let’s go Twitter,” treating the brand name as a verb and a call to action in an approachable, relax-and-enjoy manner.

Let's Go Twitter ad campaign who to follow December 2017

As the amiable guide helping the neophyte Twitter user, Ranganathan is well-known to fans of British comedy for his deadpan sense of humor as an actor, comic and panelist on TV shows in the U.K., where he also tours (with a U.S. show in Los Angeles on December 21st) and hosts a podcast. He’s also a former math teacher and freestyle rapper, not to mention a vegan and an Arsenal supporter—a range of interests you may see him weigh in on in his own Twitter feed.

Twitter Chief Marketing Officer Leslie BerlandCurious to find out more about how this campaign fits into Twitter’s brand goals and evolution, we spoke with Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Berland (right) for more insights.

Leslie, how does this phase and these new spots fit into the brand refresh that’s already underway at Twitter?

About a year and a half ago, two years ago, is when we were really focused on Twitter’s identity and who we are, who we were at the time, and who we are in the world. We did some research and studies, both for people who use Twitter every day and love the platform and people who didn’t use Twitter.

It’s also about us owning what basically is what we’ve always been, which is Twitter being what’s happening and what people are talking about right now all around the world. That was very anchoring and grounding for us as a company. And it is where our product strategy is focused—showing what’s happening, what matters, news and information as it unfolds. So that was really the ‘what is Twitter.’ And then we looked at the why, we really dove into why Twitter is different from other platforms and other services.

What we heard from people that use Twitter and love Twitter was the common thread and theme of seeing different perspectives and hearing lots of different voices. So we created a layer on top of this with ‘Twitter being what’s happening’ and showed that you get to see every perspective and hear every voice. So that happened in June and July.

Let's Go Twitter ad

Where we are now is really diving into the how, both demystifying Twitter and addressing this sort of intimidation factor of people who feel intimidated by it. They might feel like Twitter is too hard to use, so we’re showing that in fact Twitter is not hard to use and showing them how easy it is.

So that’s really what we’re tackling here. We identified the need to really demystify Twitter, and we want to do that in a comedic way and in a funny way, but also in a way that can really demo the product and show the product in a very tangible way.

In terms of subscriber acquisition and retention, is the period right after someone signs up the time when they’re most likely to churn if they’re not feeling engaged quickly? 

We’re trying to get people to both sign up and when they do, really hook them in and help guide them to what matters to them. We’re looking at the people who haven’t yet signed up for Twitter and then once they’ve signed up, guiding them through a journey of how to tap into the things that matter to them, that they’re most interested in and that are happening—or that just happened, or potentially will happen. So this is Romesh’s role, serving as that guide.

Is this going to be rolling out in English-speaking markets globally? In addition to using a British comedian, there are American actors and even a shout-out to Canada with the CBC’s Twitter logo for its 2018 Olympics coverage, so it certainly feels global.

We are going to be rolling this out in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada. We are a global platform, we are an open platform. People often say that you know Twitter is the platform where you can follow and engage with people you don’t know but wish you did, or that you wouldn’t necessarily ever get the opportunity to meet or one day hope to.

I think that’s the most interesting piece of what we’re trying to bring to life here. There are a lot of different people and lots of different interests both globally and locally, a diversity of perspectives, interests and passion points. So we definitely want to bring that to the forefront as well.

Even once you steer folks to the most engaging people and conversations, as you noted, they may still feel a little intimidated—that they don’t want to barge in, or have permission or a voice to become part of a conversation. Do you see the engagement piece of the user journey as the next phase of the campaign?

That is one of the perceptions, especially of people who don’t use Twitter a lot, of feeling the pressure to tweet. But there was a whole group of people (in Twitter’s research) who actually said, ‘I check Twitter every single day, but I don’t really use it because I’m not tweeting.’ And we said, ‘You are using it, and you’re actually someone who is very active on the platform.’

What you’ll notice (in these new spots) is we didn’t start with talking about tweeting. There is a lot you get from Twitter by seeing what’s happening and following interesting people and topics of conversation. That is why we started here.

As for where we go next, we always like to put work out in the world and then listen, learn, watch and see the response. We know that there’s a lot more that we can bring to life about how to use Twitter and how to get the most out of Twitter. This is certainly not the end of the chapter.

To your point about getting real-time news and information as it’s happening, one piece that’s coming up is Monday’s launch of TicToc, the real-time news service powered by Bloomberg. Was the timing of this campaign influenced by that launch?

Breaking news and what’s happening now fits squarely into who we are, so we’re excited with the new approach and know that the content is going to be amazing and timely and relevant in real time. So this is a natural partnership for us and we’re really excited about it.

As for timing, we wanted to build upon our marketing and framework, and also we know at the holiday time, people are getting new phones or they’re signing up for new services. So all of this came together in terms of timing.

Get more insights in our Q&A series.