Build your brand with your Twitter profile

Most executives on Twitter rely on boring personal profiles that say little about them beyond their titles. And yet your Twitter profile is an opportunity to build your personal brand and humanize your company (even if your account is personal).  Here are three executives who get it right:

1. Clark Kokich

The first few words of Clark’s profile are predictable and necessary – he’s the chairman of Razorfish (where I was once CMO) and director for three different companies. But then Clark drops something different on you: in addition to being a proud dad, he’s a mediocre husband, bad guitarist, and aging Baby Boomer.

Clark (who I know personally) scores points for showing a sense of humor about himself. How many senior executives to do you know who use the words “mediocre husband” and “aging Baby Boomer” in their personal profiles? His profile says, “I’m comfortable enough in my position to exercise some humility and have a little fun.”

2. Rachel Pasqua

Rachel’s profile is short but intriguing.

Like Clark, she starts with the professional – vice president of mobile for my current employer iCrossing. Then she adds something direct (twin mommy) and interesting (“Repairer of the Irreparable.”).

And notice Rachel’s graphic. Technically she departs from a social media best practice by not using a personal picture as Clark does. But her use of the Emily the Strange graphic, along with the cryptic “Repairer of the Irreparable,” piques your curiosity.

I want to ask Rachel what Emily the Strange means to her – is the character a personal inspiration? Maybe she likes the clothing line? Or both? She gives you a clue that she’s a “get it done” type – professionally and personally (you probably have to be if you are VP of mobile and a mother of twins).

Because I work with Rachel (she’s an excellent mobile marketing thought leader), I’m sure I will ask her.

3. Brian Dunn

You have to cut the CEO of Best Buy some slack.

CEOs – especially those who run giant publicly traded companies – have their words and actions watched so closely by investors, employees, lawyers, and business partners that it’s tempting for them to avoid social media completely. (A topic Forrester Research CEO George Colony addressed at a 2010 Forrester Forum.)

Brian might not say a whole lot in his Twitter profile, and I wish his Twitter handle used his name (maybe it was taken already). But he does something Clark and Rachel don’t do: he leads with the personal (“Father. Husband”) before the professional “CEO of Best Buy”).

Like Rachel, he employs a somewhat cryptic statement that makes you want to learn more about him (“Fanatic about the Connected World”). And he links to his Best Buy blog where you can see just how much of a fanatic about the connected world he really is.

Good for Brian. And extra points for using what is obviously not a slick, airbrushed corporate photo. He’s not smiling . . . but he’s authentic.

Authenticity, a sense of humor and humility, and intrigue . . . those are a few of the reasons I’ve singled out Clark, Rachel, and Brian.

Who are some of your favorites?

How Best Buy evolves its brand


How do you keep evolving the brand for a $49 billion retailing giant? At Best Buy, keeping the company brand fresh starts with the vision of CEO Brian Dunn, who addressed 650 Razorfish clients and employees at the 10th Annual Razorfish Client Summit.

At the Client Summit (which I organized), my employer Razorfish challenged marketing executives to succeed by taking ownership of change at a corporate and personal level. The theme of the event was “Evolve.” Brian set the pace for the event by discussing the top five strategies for evolving the Best Buy brand:

  • Meet people where they are. It’s not enough to have a strong message, service, or product. You have to distribute your ideas to where your customers live. Best Buy does so by aggressively using social media, such as the vaunted Twelpforce team of Best Buy employees who provide technical advice to customers on Twitter.  “Too often we rush to try to monetize social media,” Brian said. “Not everything you do is a source of revenue or profit pool.” To be sure, Best Buy is hardly the only big brand using social media; but it’s important when a multi-billion dollar company like Best Buy reinforces its use of social to its peers at an event like the Client Summit.


  • Don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Brian believes in encouraging a fun, irreverent culture inside Best Buy even though some of his counselors have advised him to adopt a more reserved tone befitting a Fortune 100 company. (His reply: “Tweet me.”) Having a little fun inside Best Buy reflects on the company brand, for instance the use of humor to educate Best Buy customers about recycling.

  • Find the core of your story, and shout it from the rooftops. This is a refreshing message at a time when social media pundits have belittled the importance of effective messaging. Yes, it is important for a brand to have a compelling message — it’s how you share it that matters. For instance, Best Buy relies on authentic testimonials to show that the company cares about its customers.

  • Engage your employees. He said, “It’s easy to say, ‘Yep, our employees differentiate us,’ but if you’re not connecting with your employees to listen and learn, then I think it’s just lip service.” Brian puts his money where his mouth is. He has a reputation for visiting Best Buy stores all around the world, hosting town hall meetings and speaking plainly with store employees. And he listens to his people on Facebook and Twitter. But he engages employees in other ways, too, such as pranking employees on April Fool’s Day with a fake employee newsletter story about Keith Richards working part-time at a Best Buy store in its Musical Instruments department.



  • Be relentless with your message. Brian passionately believes in the Best Buy “Connected World” message — or the notion of connecting people through technology to the services they need, the information they crave, the entertainment they desire, and the people they love. Brian shares that message consistently to everyone — analysts, news media, vendor partners, employees, and shareholders.


After the Client Summit, I had a chance to experience what Brian was talking about. I returned home from the Client Summit to discover that the wash machine in our home was broken. So I decided to try a local Best Buy for a replacement — not because Best Buy is a Razorfish client but because I often shop at Best Buy for home entertainment and usually find what I want. I’m happy to report that my experience was positive from the time I stopped by a Best Buy (on Butterfield Road in Downers Grove) on October 15 to the time my new wash machine was installed on October 17 (a Sunday afternoon). Here’s what Best Buy did right:

  • The in-store service was prompt. No waiting around for someone to help me.
  • The salesman, Tony, read my family’s needs perfectly. He understood that we sought an easy-to-use machine at an affordable price. He explained the features of units with different price points so that we made an informed decision, but he helped us find the right Whirlpool model without too many bells and whistles.
  • The in-store experience was actually fun. Think about that: my wife and I had fun buying a wash machine. That’s because Tony had a sense of humor, and he clearly enjoyed trading jokes with his fellow employees and with us. The appliance section just seemed like a place where employees give off a good vibe.
  • The post-sales experience was flawless — an area where many retailers stumble. I received a follow-up phone call confirming the delivery date/time within 24 hours of my purchase. The delivery occurred within 48 hours of the transaction. And — this is really crucial — we were given a brief (two-hour) window. It just kills me when delivery people force you to sacrifice your entire day waiting for them. But I can live with two hours (and by the way, the delivery occurred inside the window with an hour to spare). The delivery team was professional and, like the Best Buy employees, personable.

The Whirlpool is working just fine, too.