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Be organised, keep your brief tight...and don’t forget about Niche: how to be creative, according to Twitter

Helen Lawrence, head of creative agency development at Twitter, advocates the lost art of organisation on social media, while the brand itself gears up to become the home of instant breaking news.

Earlier this week, the platform’s chief marketing officer Leslie Berlan unveiled its new ‘See What’s Happening’ campaign, showcasing Twitter’s dedication to breaking news, sports and live events. However for agencies and brands with a campaign agenda in mind, Lawrence believes forward planning is key.

“There’s an amazing section in analytics that’s got an events calendar,” she said. “You can look through the whole year and see right away [what’s] coming up…so from a creative point of view it means you can really prepare for stuff. You can be a lot more proactive.”

Lawrence explained that especially when using Periscope, the platform’s live streaming app, brands should be careful to dive straight into a broadcast: “[Like] a live theatre production, you want to have a script and back-up plans…you want to react to what's going on live, but equally you've got to be super organized.”

The brand has recently made some changes to Periscope, now allowing full video embedding throughout the web, autoplay without sound and the creation of shortform ‘trailers’. The developments no doubt come as part of its plan to tackle the threat of Facebook Live, which itself recently extended its live stream period to four hours, and entered international consciousness following the live streaming of Philando Castile’s killing.

Creative influence

Lawrence works with brands and their agency teams for a living, guiding them through the first brief to the final ad execution. The marketer believes it’s Twitter’s hefty data set that still pulls in strategists and creatives

“Twitter is a huge platform that collects human thought,” she said. “That's where we go to say 'I’m tired, I'm hungry, I'm watching this…' and that can give you such amazing insights. For instance, there's some really interesting data about what people eat over the course of the week: at the start of the week we all talk about being really healthy – but by about Wednesday or Thursday the conversation shifts to burgers and burritos.”

Looking ahead, Lawrence predicts the company is starting to look more about the causalities - the “whys” - behind its data, but pure creativity is still important to the platform, particularly when competing – again – with Facebook and its artistic Instagram offering. The answer for Twitter is to offer up specialist and influential creatives that can be brought on board campaigns via its Niche platform. Bought for an undisclosed sum in 2015, the 'provider of software, community and monetisation services for the growing creative community' connects brands with some 31,200 talent and influencers – such as “people in front of camera, behind camera and stop motion animators,” explained Lawrence.

Sky recently signed to Niche to promote its Go service in May, joining a roster of brands including Unilever and Amazon.

Lawrence’s advice to brands working with talent either within or without Niche is to be direct with their goals. “If you are an influencer or a creator you don't necessarily want a brand to come to you and say: ‘Do anything. [Here’s a] completely blank canvas’.

“They really want to work with a brand that's got an idea…so we've been doing a lot of on what a good brief looks like for a creative. It is something that's inspiring and that's quite specific. I think that's a fascinating space for creative agencies…it's a really collaborative process.”

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