25 Oct

How the social media explosion turned us all into brands.

Social Media platforms added a new dimension to our worlds – a kind of 5th dimension where people can now read your thoughts.

If ever you have dreamt of becoming a celebrity it has just become 100% easier. You do not have to book a theatre, commit to a new career or be an entrepreneur.  All you need is a Twitter / Facebook account and great ideas.

What is a brand?
A brand is essentially a promise. A promise of value you will receive when visiting or buying or embracing that brand. Woolworths promises you quality, BMW promises excellence, Levi’s promises individuality and quality and Reach for a Dream that you can help people make their dreams come true.


You are a brand

So how can people be brands if they’re not selling anything?
But they ARE! Everyone stands for something.


Let’s take a well-known example from our bosom. Nelson Mandela was selling South Africans the concept of a better world, a rainbow nation. Because he was seen to be consistent in his promise and how he acted on it, his personal brand has remained strong and is likely to stand the test of history.

If you think that you are not a brand, reconsider. You might be an obscure brand or one who hasn’t realised its potential, but that’s a different matter.

We all want to be perceived in a certain way, be it as a professional, a good parent, an outdoorsy person or whichever way you would like to portray yourself.

Of course, you don’t HAVE to bother about your personal brand. It is mostly invented for you in the minds of others, anyway. But why not seize the opportunity and the tools that are now widely available to make your brand work for you?

What do you look for in a brand?

A promise kept, consistency and trust.

Trust doesn’t mean that you want to put your life in this ‘persona’s’ hands. It means that you can trust that they will deliver what they promise, whether it is to make you cool, laugh or feel nostalgic. And that they will do so consistently.

Look at Stephen Fry (@stephenfry). He is consistently funny, but also consistently intelligent and entertaining. Can you imagine what would happen if he suddenly turns into a bore, spouting uninformed opinions? Who would follow him? Who would believe his ‘brand’. Without an audience your brand is powerless.

So, whether you are a person or a product, here are five questions to help you get to grips with the essence of your brand and how you present it.


  1. What does your brand promise?
  2. What do you need to do to always be delivering on that promise?
  3. What visual representation would best help others understand my promise?
  4. How should I communicate to ensure others really understand my brand promise.
  5. Who else has a similar promise, and what makes my promise different to theirs?
07 Aug

Pinterest lessons from the Tangled Tree launch campaign

Maya Angelou quote for Tangled Tree Wines

When Van Loveren Family Vineyards approached YehBaby Digital Creatives with the challenge of coming up with an exclusively social media launch for their new Tangled Tree range, of course we immediately wanted to include Pinterest.

This was not only because we’d been looking to road test the current ‘it girl’ of social media platforms. The prettiest of online visual platforms also seemed like a natural fit for a brand this beautiful and that offers such amazing visual opportunities.

We ran the #TangledTreeTreasures campaign across Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. It consisted of:

The Tangled Tree Treasures competition gift pack.

Some of the contents of gift packs sent to selected bloggers and twitterati and offered as prizes in the #TangledTreeTreasures competition

  • a month-long competition in association with Miglio Designer Jewellery,
  • the involvement of a select list of established and upcoming bloggers and social media influencers in the food, wine and environment spheres, and
  • a product sponsorship of the fabulous SA Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba held in Cape Town on 24 June.

Not surprisingly 80% of the 974 competition entries came through Facebook and the most valuable connections for the brand were made through Twitter. However, it was our Pinterest test drive that yielded the most valuable lessons and interesting observations.

On the plus side:

  1. The timelessness of the Pinterest site is refreshing when compared with the up-to-the-second actuality of Twitter and the timeline-driven Facebook.
  2. There is something egalitarian to the virality mechanism, which is refreshingly different to the other big platforms. You repin primarily based on the quality of the content, not who said it or who shared it. There is much less secondary credibility to derive from showing you know who to follow!
  3. It works great with Twitter when the microblogger is used as a virality engine and to make the content searchable with hashtags.
  4. It complements Facebook very well by providing a visual store that is better presented and more accessible than the Facebook pictures gallery.
  5. No surprise: it works great as a source of visual inspiration (or content to repurpose).

And on the downside …

  1. DO NOT rely on Pinterest’s search function. Looking for #TangledTreeTreasures entries proved pretty much fruitless and we ended up relying on the tweets of the pins to find them.
  2. Pinterest seems like pioneering territory in that it is truly borderless. This is part of the charm for users, but a pain for marketers. There is no easy way to focus effort in a specific geographical market.
  3. The site can seem quite unstable. Case in point: the Tangled Tree profile disappeared for three nerve-wracking days, apparently the victim of a database cleanup that confused the brand’s profile with that of a hippy called Tangled Tree.
  4. It is very hard to create a community when collaboration on shared boards is on a strict ‘invitation only’ basis.
  5. The invite only culture and the lack of analytics bedevils measurability. How does one measure engagement or reach on a platform that seems built like a leafy suburb where one only sees the neighbours by appointment?

That said, perhaps this is the great thing about Pinterest: you cannot be spammed. The only way to influence is to inspire. Lets see what this beauty has in store for the future.