Twitter is Not a Strategy

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Techniques from an Expert Marketer

If you are marketing a company, a product, an idea, or even your personal brand, you may feel the pull between the new-media world and the traditional marketing methods you studied in school. When new technologies emerge, it often seems like everything is changing. Whether digital, mobile, or social, we are looking for new ways to connect with our audience.

What if these new ways actually prevented a brand from reaching its potential?

How do you get people to stick around?

How do you engage people in a substantive way, winning them over? 


“Timeless can be new.” -Tom Doctoroff


Tom Doctoroff has more than 20 years of experience shaping hundreds of global brands ranging from Microsoft to Ford to Nestle.  He’s appeared regularly on NBC, CBS, CNBC and other major media outlets. Tom’s new book Twitter is Not a Strategy: Rediscovering the Art of Brand Marketing is all about engagement. Its wisdom spans the two worlds, combining digital and traditional marketing to win and engage consumers.


The Marketing Identity Crisis

Tom, you’re the CEO of J. Walter Thompson in AsiaPacific and for decades have shaped some of the world’s biggest brands. Your new book title, Twitter is Not a Strategy, seems to imply some level of frustration.  Did you write this book with some level of frustration?

I wouldn’t call it frustration exactly.  But, yes, I do think the communications industry is going through something of an identity crisis.  The fundamentals of advertising and branding are too often forsaken as marketers seek technological and algorithmic salvation. The rise of digital has led to marketer anxiety, consumer confusion and too many transactional brands.  But old and new, traditional and digital, broadcast and “lean in” media are complementary.


“Each creative expression of the brand idea should be conceived with a specific behavioral objective in mind.” -Tom Doctoroff


Twitter is Not a Strategy is not meant to be a breakthrough book.  Indeed it might even be “anti-breakthrough.”  It is a call for the entire industry to stand up and reclaim the conceptual high ground of marketing communications.  Carefully crafted strategies and executions—adherence to the ABCs of brand building—will remain our lighthouse.  As brand pioneers, we must explore the shoals of a new digital landscape.  But let’s not become stranded by anxiety and indecision. Timeless can be new.


Traditional versus New Marketing Tension

Your book explains the traditional top down branding approach (message clarity) with a bottom up (consumer empowerment) approach. How do these two approaches need to work together?Twitter is Not a Strategy

To avoid confusing consumers, engagement needs to be both authentic and constructed. Marketers must forge a paradigm that allows freedom within a framework, pulling off the trick of simultaneously permitting consumers to participate with brands while empowering marketers to manage the message and dialog.  Marketers must achieve:  harmony between the clarity of top-down positioning and the dynamism of bottom-up consumer engagement; between long-term brand equity and short-term tactical messaging; and between emotional relevance and results driven by data-driven technology.

Different kinds of media reach us for complementary purposes.  Analog (traditional) media shape our brand preference while most digital media deepens our engagement and leads to brand loyalty.

The former boast broad reach.  They forge perceptions across consumer masses. Film—with its sound, color, movement, and ability to break through clutter—is an indispensable tool to guide consumers amid an explosion of offerings. Even in the United States, despite the proliferation of smartphones and other digital devices, the 30-second broadcast television commercial continues to rule (and increase). Manufacturers spent some $67 billion on network and cable advertising in 2013 – and not for sentimental reasons.

The latter encourage engagement with brands. With more opportunity to trigger behavioral changes – learning more, using more, buying more, advocating more – marketers can increase the probability of purchase and repeat purchase.


Traditional media shape brand preference. Digital leads to loyalty.


As consumers move toward purchase, direct and digital media should dominate. These media provide more opportunity for engagement—that is, direct interaction with a brand idea and its creative expression. Marketers have more opportunity to trigger behavioral change and increase the probability the consumer will buy a product.

Advertising can encourage a limitless range of actions—from clicking through a banner ad and spending more time on a microsite to increasing consumers’ frequency of washing their hair. The arsenal of tools marketers can deploy to encourage certain behavior is broad. Marketers also can use analog media to trigger specific behavior during later phases—for example, by using stunning “product beauty shots” and other point-of-sale material to stimulate trial usage.


Start with the Brand Idea

The impossible is often the untried.” -Jim Goodwin

Jim Goodwin

Procrastinate on Purpose

Learn How to Be A Multiplier

If you’ve tried all of the tips, tricks, tools, apps, checklists, planners and technology gimmicks to improve your productivity, you may wonder why it is that you still haven’t mastered your time.


“Creating the next level of results requires the next level of thinking.” –Rory Vaden


My friend Rory Vaden, cofounder of international company Southwestern Consulting, NYT bestselling author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, says that:

  • Everything you know about time management is wrong.
  • The most productive people in the world do things differently.
  • We need to understand the emotional aspects of time management.
  • We need to learn how to multiply our time.
  • We need to learn how to procrastinate on purpose.

9780399170621His new book, Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time has just been released. A few weeks ago, I sat down with Rory to talk about his extensive research into time management.

If you want to be more productive, more effective, more impactful – and who doesn’t – Rory’s research will propel you along.

3 Types of Procrastination

Learn about the 3 different types of procrastination:

Leadership Lessons from Over 200 Thought Leaders


Voices of Influence

A few years ago, I launched this blog with the idea of sharing insights, ideas, and inspiration.  It is my hope that the lessons and ideas shared here help you in some way whether that is fast-tracking your career or overcoming procrastination.

When I started, I thought it was worth it if I made a real difference to just one person.

I’m happy to report that at least one person has found it life-changing.  That person is me.  I learn far more by sharing these ideas than you can imagine.  What an incredible experience to have the opportunity to learn from so many people.

Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for sharing these posts.  I appreciate all of you and look forward to getting to know you better in the coming months.

Below are some of the leadership interviews and posts with thought leaders from a variety of fields on numerous topics.  I hope you find one you missed and that it positively influences your year ahead.


“The book you don’t read won’t help.” –Jim Rohn



Leadership, Management & Execution


“You will be the same person in 5 years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” -Charlie Jones


Leadership Communication

The Top 14 Posts of 2014

2015 On Athletics All Weather Running Track

Leadership Insights

Every year, people ask me to recap the year’s most popular posts. It’s always a challenge to develop a list. For this list, I am including only some of my original posts. I will separately share the interview list.

Unpredictable Results

Talk to any blogger and you will likely hear the same thing.  It is always a surprise to see what becomes popular.  I may work like crazy on something for hours, post it and it may see very little traffic.  Something else ends up taking off and it was almost a last minute thought.  You just can’t predict.

In putting together a list of popular posts, there are also so many ways to look at the data.  Do you measure purely by the traffic?  If you do it that way, doesn’t that give an unfair advantage to content posted in January?

After looking at the statistics, I decided to pick the top posts by traffic with a weight based on the date.  If a post was dated later in the year, it received a slightly higher weight to equal things out.


The 14 Top Original Posts

In reverse chronological order, here are the top 14 original posts of 2014:

Dec 22, 2014: 50 Things to Drop Before the New Year

“To design your future effectively, you must let go of your past.” –Charles Givens


Nov 25, 2014: How to Live a Life of Thankfulness

“A spirit of thankfulness attracts others to your cause, ideas and goals.” -Skip Prichard


Nov 17, 2014: Assume the Positive

“See the best in people and watch how they fight to prove you right.” -Skip Prichard


Sep 29, 2014: Why Standing Out is More Important than Ever

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” –Dr. Suess


Sep 25, 2014: 11 Leadership Qualities of Nelson Mandela

I am not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying. –Mandela


Aug 18, 2014: Leading With Others in Mind

“Servant leaders give more in value than they receive.” -Skip Prichard


Jul 28, 2014: 4 Ways to Get Appreciated at Work

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”  -William James


Jun 11, 2014: Leading with No

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” -Tony Blair


May 10, 2014: 9 Leadership Lessons from Mom

Leaders create results by letting others shine. -Skip Prichard


Apr 24, 2014: The 3 Most Limiting Words

Only you have the power to determine whether your future mimics your past. -Skip Prichard


Apr 19, 2014: 7 Characteristics Leaders Share With Peeps

“Leaders use failure as a fuel to propel future success.” -Skip Prichard


Apr 16, 2014: Selling to the C-Suite

“Timid salesmen have skinny kids.” –Zig Ziglar


Mar 12, 2014: The Price of Right

The joy of being right is short-lived. The joy of peace lasts a lifetime. -Skip Prichard


Feb 12, 2014: The Outs and Ins of Employee Loyalty

“You give loyalty, you’ll get it back.” -Tommy Lasorda


And the most popular guest post of the year is from March and was written by the very talented Thai Nguyen:

Contentment is the enemy of improvement. -Thai Nguyen


My mission for this blog remains the same:  to have a place to rant about whatever I want!  (Ahem!  Let me try that again.)  It’s all about leadership insights, ideas, and information that will make us all better leaders.  Whether through more productive meetings, healthier living, better use of social media and technology, deeper friendships or strategic vision and execution, I hope you find it a useful resource. I’d love to hear your ideas for future posts or the direction for Leadership Insights.

Thank You

I especially want to thank you for reading and a special thanks for those who have taken the time to comment and share these posts. For years, I would read blogs and never comment. When I started to participate, it was amazing how different of an experience it was. I began to develop relationships and get to know people on a deeper level. Try it – consistent sharing and commenting will likely help others as you share your own experience.

I wish you a happy and successful 2015!