In the last several weeks Coca-Cola and Nike had been the victims of brand squatting. "Coca-Cola recently announced they are back in position of their brand name," Clarkson says. "Twitter acknowledged the name as a registered trademark of Coca-Cola and gave back the name."
Buying domain names require a registration process, but Twitter is much simpler and easier to sign up. The mushrooming phenomenon on Twitter and other social network sites is reminiscent of the last 1990s when people registered brand names as Internet domains only to sell them to trademark owners for huge profits.
Twitter has been growing at an extraordinary speed. While a recent study from Nielsen suggests Twitter doesn't have the retention rate to maintain popularity, the microblogging site attracted 9.3 million unique U.S. visitors in March 2009, according to comScore Media Metrix. Providing perspective, Facebook has roughly 20 times larger than Twitter is currently.
But just because Twitter is "cool" doesn't mean it's the correct marketing strategy for all companies. Clarkson warns against choosing the technology to backfill the objective. "Make sure Twitter hits the appropriate market and have a strong strategy wrapped around achieving the objectives," she says. "The biggest problem companies have is they want to be on Twitter, but not sure why."
Clarkson suggests setting desired goals for social media, aligning approaches with objectives, and selecting and deploying appropriate technologies to implement strategies. The benefits range from gaining valuable market intelligence through the tweets, to providing better customer service and supporting promotions to drive sales.
Since Twitter is conversational, personal and typically provides a quick response, companies are taking advantage of the site to move distressed inventory. For travel, that could mean the last few seats on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. JetBlue announced at the Forrester Marketing Forum in April 2009 that it had generated revenue by sharing coupons on Twitter. Not only does it help companies move merchandise, but it gives consumers a way to save on items from top brands.