With millions of conversations and thousands of communities starting at Twitter, the app might mean different things for various people. That's where Ryan Brown, Twitter's Head of Content Strategy and Creative Innovation, comes in. Throughout his 8 years at Twitter, Ryan has been part of the team tasked with using content to bring Twitter's narrative to life. Here, Ryan delves into what the democratization of content means for Twitter and sheds light on some of Twitter's marketing approach.
How did you get to where you are today?
I got to where I am today through hard work and a little luck, but mostly hard work. I juggled about three tech internships at the same time during my college years… Funny enough, Twitter was one of my dream companies to work for dating back to 2010, but I just couldn’t land an internship there, despite my best efforts! I decided to join the great team behind a startup called Posterous… As fate would have it, Twitter acquired us in 2012.
I’ve been at Twitter for more than 8 years and I’ve been lucky enough to have a unique and rewarding journey. As a young fledgling “Tweep,” I helped shape our business marketing initiatives, which helped set the tone of my career trajectory in leading content initiatives across events, social and consumer campaigns.
Joining the executive team in leading the design and strategy of our IPO narrative in 2013 was one of my favorite memories. It would lead me to be involved in many of the company’s top initiatives over the years.
With the Pandemic, how are you adapting your content strategies?
For a moment, brands of all kinds have paused and reflected on what to do. They listened to what people were saying and got really thoughtful and creative about how to get their messages out there. That's a trend I've been really loving, watching as marketers navigate the new constraints and uncertainties of the pandemic to uncover more human-centric strategies. It's a true reset to what we expect from brands and I think it'll really elevate the work we're all doing.
We recently launched two activations that helped offer some levity and entertainment to people on Twitter. First, our amazing partnerships team coordinated an #NBATwitter Watch Party for the basketball lovers to come together and enjoy the long-anticipated premiere of the ESPN documentary "The Last Dance."
And then our social team noticed conversation around people needing haircuts. So, our @Twitter account decided to play barber and hairstylist for the day, generating a ton of engagement and positive sentiment.
What’s been your role in how Twitter’s marketing strategy has evolved over the years?
Under the leadership of our CMO Leslie Berland, we’ve hit our stride in highlighting the unique aspects of Twitter. Twitter is the best service to find out what’s happening, and what's happening are so many pockets of conversations and communities that are weird, silly, and real.
My role has always been to be a creative and strategic resource to help bring to life what Twitter means in really compelling ways through content. My work over the years, particularly the projects that were nimble experiments, have helped shape and evolve where the brand is today.
With the democratization of content creation on the rise, how are you thinking about that at Twitter?
We’ve seen success in boiling recent campaigns down to two simple elements: Tweets and voices from the platform. We've become more self-aware through campaigns like Me on Twitter vs Me on Instagram by bringing those Tweets to IRL. We've also dubbed super user Chrissy Teigen as the unofficial official Mayor of Twitter and made Lil Nas X Twitter CEO for a day. These videos were successful in capturing the essence of what makes Twitter so great for our biggest voices...
Additionally, we’ve done a lot of work around highlighting communities unique to Twitter. Take #NBATwitter, for example. We recognized how incredible this community was, so we launched a campaign where those impactful voices defined what #NBATwitter is and what makes it so unique. The wide range of answers gives you a sense of the breadth of conversations that happens on and off the court year-round.
What is one skill that you think is currently underdeveloped in Marketing?
One of the most underdeveloped skills in marketing is being nimble, … developing the fast-twitch marketing muscle memory and domain expertise to shorten the overall time it takes to get a message to your target audience. … The future of marketing will see more marketers who possess critical domain expertise while knowing how to outwork other traditional means of process and media.
What’s currently happening in marketing that most excites you?
Marketers are just like athletes in my mind. You need to keep improving your game while keeping an eye on the competition to know what the marketing playing field is like. … This will naturally create more innovative uses of platforms and tools but what's most exciting to me is the opportunity to redefine the way in which marketing teams will need to operate nimbly moving forward.
What’s some advice you live by?
"If you're afraid to fail, then you're probably going to fail.” - Kobe Bryant
I believe you need to recognize and channel your inner “Mamba Mentality” in your professional pursuits, no matter what job you have.
What’s something that most people don't know about you?
I’m a history nerd!