Are Tweeting Billboards the Future of Branding?

Driving through downtown Richmond the other day, I noticed something unusual. The billboard along the interstate was tweeting at me. Yes, in real time!

Tweet @TheDarylJohnson and there is a good chance your twitter handle will appear live on the billboard.

Daryl owns a lawn care company in Richmond, enjoys golf, loves the Pittsburgh Steelers, and cheers mightily for the University of Virginia. He has the distinction of being the only person with the same name (there are 30,142 Daryl Johnson’s in the U.S.) who used eSmartTax.com to file his taxes.

So what did eSmartTax.com do?

They made Daryl their official spokesperson.

In a marketing era where celebrity branding (like Tiger Woods) can backfire, is the everyday guy the new face of corporations?

So I followed Daryl on Twitter and discovered his branding is part of a fully integrated campaign by the Madison + Main advertising and new media firm.

Daryl isn’t just tweeting live on billboards, he is also branded across Facebook, Radio, MySpace, and YouTube (I recommend selecting Angel in the interactive video :).

Traditional media has indeed met new media (perhaps the first campaign of its kind according to Kara Forbis, Brand Manager at Madison + Main).

Is this the future of branding and what implications does it have for not only corporations, but also for job seekers and small businesses?

There is precedent for professionals seeking new opportunities to leverage billboard marketing. Mark Heuer made this investment last year in Milwaukee:

The cost for billboards varies greatly by location, but there is no additional cost for sending a live twitter feed to a digital billboard. That being the case, will all digital billboards be tweeting in the future to enhance product and personal branding?

The technology is there, but so are are the risks.

Recently, a local news team in Alabama had this unfortunate tweet appear along side their picture:

The station general manager and news director were allegedly suspended for a week for this incident.

Madison + Main (which has no connection to the tweeting billboard in Alabama) does conduct monthly social media training to educate its clients and partners on best practices.

I have no connection to Baton Rouge, LA based Lamar Advertising Company. I just find their new twitter billboard technology compelling from a branding perspective.

Beyond digital interstate billboards, imagine the marketing impact for your business or credentials of your live twitter feed at the airport, on a metro train, or in a ski lift line.

As a job seeker or business owner, what are your thoughts? Is this the future of outdoor advertising as we know it? What would catch your eye? What would you invest in?

I do remind everyone that the future of branding is not simply digital billboards (or even Blackberry’s), but rather our ability to build relationships with who we serve. Dynamic tools to build your brand and your voice in real time though will become the marketing norm.

Whether your tweets are being received on a billboard, computer screen, or smart phone, I have assembled 20 Tips for Building Your Brand on Twitter.


Author:
Brent Peterson, PMP, MS, MBA, is the founder of Interview Angel Inc, a company that offers a comprehensive guide and toolkit for job seekers to use in interviews. Discover customer testimonials, blog posts, upcoming events, and media interviews at http://www.interviewangel.com/.

Brent is also on Twitter at (twitter.com/InterviewAngel).

This month, Brent’s company will be donating $20 to the American Red Cross for relief efforts in Haiti for each $89 customer investment in the Interview Angel professional padfolio.

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