See What’s Happening: Twitter’s New Tagline and Refresh Targets New Users

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Twitter brand refresh July 2016

Twitter on Monday revealed a new tagline—”See What’s Happening”—and visual refresh that highlights “the diversity and expressiveness in all its color and vibrancy.” The site also revealed research showing 90% brand awareness. So why release a new brand campaign?

Education, for a start, as it needs to attract users in order to make money from advertising and live streaming deals, for example, yet new users are often faced with the “I’ve signed up—now what?” experience after downloading the app—and are at risk of churning and disengaging from the brand.

As Leslie Berland, in her first major branding move as Chief Marketing Officer since joining Twitter from American Express, tells Adweek, “There is work underway both to refine the product itself and make it more intuitive, and there’s work underway that we’re putting together [in the marketing group] to educate people how to use Twitter and how to get the most out of Twitter,” she said.

“But defining for people the intent and the expectation when they arrive at Twitter is quite critical. When we surveyed people, many of them had come to visit Twitter and were looking for friends and family members, and to share photos and things like that, which is a disconnect. [The new campaign] is brand-related, but for us, it’s about clarity in what you’re there to do.”

Among those things to do—stay on top of breaking news and current events via tweets and real-time coverage from around the world via livestreaming, with Twitter securing deals with television companies and sports leagues.  The goal of Twitter’s brand refresh: compete with TV and other social rivals such as Snapchat and Instagram and become even more top of mind as a source for news, entertainment and politics – from “big events to everyday interests.”

Twitter new tagline 2016

“While Twitter has struggled to grow fast enough to please Wall Street in the last few quarters, broadcasters and advertisers are hopeful that a new set of products could help Twitter get back on course (if only as a hedge against the growing clout of Facebook and Snapchat),” Adweek notes.

So the new ads ask questions like, “What’s happening? What’s everyone talking about? What’s trending?” Twitter’s primary ad features clips from Game of Thrones and NBA Games to showcase how it’s a go-to place for chatting about entertainment and sports.

But as TechCrunch points out, “Oddly, it doesn’t make mention of Twitter’s plans to actually live-stream sports content, despite deals with the NFL for Thursday Night Football, the MLB and the NHL. (Perhaps that would confuse the matter even further – after all, is Twitter trying to be a place to watch news break, or watch live video?)”

Twitter brand refresh summer 2016

The brand refresh extends to its visual identity. As Adweek further notes, “Twitter is livening up its color palette and using its iconic bird mascot in more abstract ways as a design element—for example, as a frame around images of dynamic shots of the world. More visual diversity is meant to celebrate the existing user base’s expressiveness and vibrancy.”

“That blue bird is recognized all over the world and is extremely powerful,” Berland said. “I think what we haven’t done enough of is breaking out of those blues and whites and grays to really show both the diversity and the voices and the personality that come to life on Twitter every single day.”

The distinction between brand and product is not as sharply divided at Twitter, she added. “The product is the brand, and the brand is the product,” she said. “We see this very holistically.”

The ad campaign reinforces the idea that Twitter isn’t really a Facebook-like social network where you connect with friends and family, nor a place where you have to show up and tweet every day.
The reveal comes as the platform gets ready to report its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday tp investors, who will want to hear about Twitter’s plans for growth. As WWD reports, “ts monthly user growth has recently stalled around 320 million, well behind Facebook’s 1.65 billion users and lagging Instagram’s 400 million.”

Twitter’s identity crisis hasn’t been as severe as Yahoo, which just cut a $4.83 billion deal to sell its core business to Verizon. Twitter has been gradually introducing updates that signify efforts to make its service easier to use, share and to grow its user base.

Read more in Berland’s blog post below—and as she writes, stay tuned for more.


A few months ago, we set out to understand more deeply the perceptions of Twitter around the world. As we dove into this research, some interesting trends emerged.

First, ninety percent of people globally recognize the Twitter brand. Ninety percent! That’s a testament to all the people, companies, news outlets and public figures who use Twitter and make it as powerful and far-reaching as it is today. We heard loud and clear that those who use Twitter do so because they know exactly what Twitter is for and why it’s important in their lives. The majority of people who use Twitter the most told us it’s the best and fastest way to see what’s happening.

But what about the people who know the brand but don’t use Twitter? We asked lots of questions and two key themes emerged. First, most didn’t know or simply misunderstood what Twitter was for – many thought of Twitter primarily as a social network, a place to find and connect with friends and family members. Second, they thought if they wanted to use Twitter, they were “supposed to Tweet every day” and didn’t think they would have that much to say. We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do!

Starting today, we’re taking steps to express what we’re for and what we’ve always been. Twitter is where you go to see what’s happening everywhere in the world right now. From breaking news and entertainment to sports and politics – from big events to everyday interests with all the live commentary that makes Twitter unique. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be rolling out marketing including videos and digital ads that center around seeing what’s happening on Twitter. Here are two examples:

We’re also introducing a new look and feel in our marketing that reflects the people around the world who make Twitter what it is, highlighting the diversity and expressiveness in all its color and vibrancy. Everything that happens on Twitter is about them and we look forward to continuing to tell our story and theirs.

Much more to come. This is just the beginning!

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