#REACH2014 – Creativity in 140 Characters: Guy Yalif ’94

(By ALIISA LEE)

The familiar clean white and baby-blue color scheme of Twitter filled McDonnel’s screen as attendees filled into Guy Yalif’s talk on Saturday morning. Through the course of his session, Yalif themes and anecdotes about just how much can be accomplished through 140 characters. Yalif shared how twitter interactions themselves are the platform’s great creative canvas. That woman’s picture of the clouds parting into a heart Coca Cola retweeted? No marketer could have planned that! Twitter opens conversations across location and connections that people simply couldn’t have otherwise.

Other advice included sharing the scenes behind your content to humanize the brand, because really, who doesn’t want to see the storyboard room for your favorite TV shows? Given the immediate nature of tweeting, the importance of being in the moment for twitter showed itself in the most retweeted post of 2014, Ellen Degeneres at the Oscars. 2013’s top tweet occurred at the reelection of Barack Obama; “Four more years” the post before read, including a picture of him embracing Michelle Obama. Though Yalif revealed the picture had been taken months ago, he emphasized its timing was key. Yalif continued with further most effective uses for Twitter, such as asking for participation in return for goodies, sharing new perspective (Sunnybrook’s open heart surgeries?) and educating people in fun ways (Lowe’s “Fix in Six” take on the Vine format). Yalif expressed the importance of making a point in a memorable way and shared Jean Claude Van-Damme’s Epic Split. The audience loved it, and certainly won’t forget it.

“Twitter is a bridge, not an island,” remarked Yalif, describing how it is used to complement and reinfornce other media. What if when a TV commercial ended, it continued elsewhere? Since ⅔ of TV viewers have their phone out while watching, Yalif revealed the constant commentary that goes with it, and just how to capitalize on it. Yalif concluded with how Twitter can be used to drive leads, sell products, give a voice to your brand, and quite simply, create amazing moments.

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