English Brand Content Critiques

Posted by | December 17, 2013 | Uncategorized | 12 Comments

London is a pretty amazing city, and while I was there it got me wondering about what brands across the pond are doing on social. Again a huge thanks to the crew at VaynerMedia who helped me pull this information together.

 Harrods: Yikes

Harrods Facebook Oi, where to start with this one. Let’s go with the obvious: This creative was clearly made for something else and then re-appropriated for Facebook. Don’t do it. If you’re going to commit to having a Facebook presence, then take the time and create dedicated visuals. It’s barely readable on my laptop, so I can pretty well assume it will basically be useless for the users browsing Facebook on their phones (which is around 80% in the UK). Next up we have the copy, which is basically trying to achieve everything a single piece of copy could possibly attempt to achieve. It’s redundant relative to the image, there are line breaks, there is a link, and there is even a hashtag. Let me give you an actionable tip right here, right now, for free: Keep your copy to 90 characters or less. Simply obeying that one rule will make the writing smarter, and will force you to choose ONE thing to do with it. Decide on a CTA (call-to-action), commit to it, and be monogamous. It’s the right thing to do.





Marvel UK: Mystery and Mutants


Marvel UKThis tweet is a solid effort from Marvel UK. I really appreciate the way that it asks you to watch the show by piquing your curiosity and tying it in with the imagery. Setting the actress’s @handle off in parenthesis is a smart move, but I think that in the interest of making sense, I would have put it behind the character’s name. That also would have broken up the wall of linked text at the end. Still, it’s a good execution on a straightforward CTA. There is just something a little bit classier about offering a tantalizing hint instead of saying, “Watch now!”






Topshop: Cross-Platform Domination

Topshop TwitterThis is just brilliant in all aspects. First off, I want to make it very clear that Pinterest sells shit. When it comes to apparel sales, especially in a female demo, there is no substitute for having a good Pinterest strategy. What is really great about this is the cross-platform pollination they have going on. First they’re bringing the weight and importance of Pinterest recommendation into the real world with awesome physical collateral. Then they’re posting it to Instagram and Twitter, which may not seem like a big deal until you step back and look at how they’re posting to Instagram and Twitter. They could have gone the easy route and simply checked off the “Twitter” box when they were posting from the Instagram app, but they didn’t. Instead they took the file and re-uploaded it to Twitter because then it would display in-stream. That is being native to the platform, people. On top of all this, When they posted to Instagram, knowing that you can’t link in the copy (and that people won’t type in a whole link,) they put the product code in the copy. That has to be one of the best opportunities to get someone to actually search for the product on your website. Smart, smart, smart moves all around. Social Media 201. The only place they lose points is that the link in this tweet points to their entire collection of skirts and not to the product featured in the creative. To be honest, I’m actually more willing to assume it was a straight-up typo than bad strategy just because everything else here is so smart.


Henry Poole: Not so Bespoke

Henry Poole & Co. FacebookHenry Poole, for those of you who are unfamiliar, creates bespoke, tailored suits on London’s famous famed Savile Row. These are the kind of guys who will spend months creating the single most perfect garment you’ll ever own. So I hope we can all appreciate the irony here when we see that their entire Facebook presence is just Twitter content pushed through from an app. If you’re going to be on Facebook, make Facebook content. That’s it. Respect the fact that Twitter copy and Twitter images should be crafted to fit the psychology of people who are using Twitter, and Facebook content should likewise be made for the Facebook mindset. Never mind the fact that all the @handles are broken and the #hashtags won’t make sense; the fact of the matter is that people are on these platforms for different reasons. Just like people wear different suits for different occasions… You might say the content needs to be tailored to each platform…


Selfridges: Pro Moves

Selfridges FacebookThis is another example of Social Media 201. Let’s break it down. The creative is stark, high-contrast, and ought to jump out of the feed. Additionally, the lack of any text on the image means that Selfridges has the option to promote this post on the fly if they want to give it a little paid boost. The copy is short, sweet, and directs the user handily to the link. The next part is where we get advanced. I’ll caveat by saying that this could have happened totally organically, but I’m going to give Selfridges the benefit of the doubt and approach this as if they knew they were breaking the rules and they knew why. Adding that call to comment at the end should be a “nono.” I’ve said before that you should pick a CTA and stick to it without hedging or being “half pregnant.” In this case, though, I think it’s really smart because they’re in Q4 retail mode, and trying to add some comments is going to give this post a dramatic boost in organic reach. Plus it feels like it works in the context of the post overall, so I really don’t have a problem. That said I want to go over to the Selfridges HQ, find the gal (or guy) writing their Facebook posts, and give my permission to Jab. I know it’s Q4, really I do. I know you have sales goals, and KPIs to hit. But I also know that it’s the same for every retailer in the world right now, and a little bit of humanity can go a long, long way for your users. So tell a joke, post a recipe, post a picture of Tom the stock boy doing his impersonation of Margaret Thatcher for all I care, but take a quick break from selling and connect with your audience. They’ll appreciate it.

  • Dave

    Nice job, buddy. We enjoyed having you in the UK. COME BACK SOON, AND FOR LONGER.

  • Ashley Benison

    Great stuff Gary. Next time you’re in the UK let’s grab a beer!

  • Rob Squires

    Great Insight. You make it sound too easy. Great work!

  • edabl

    Nice post. Be interested to see some critique on UK B2B brands if you ever have the time also! Would be very helpful.

  • http://www.changeagents.ie/ Paul O’Mahony

    I love the way you take Harrod’s to task – freely fluidly fiercely. Without fear or favour. Gary you’ve given is a great example of what we lack. After ‘consuming’ this post, I feel courageous enough to start doing a similar job on Irish brands online. Thank you very much. PS Well done with Loic

  • http://www.fineartmom.com/ Crystal Foth

    I love your content critiques – I learn so much from your feedback. Love seeing what works/doesn’t work – especially at the Social Media 201!

  • Behindthebiz

    Nice job Gary, good to see you giving honest critiques of some of our top retailers, bet that doesn’t happen very often. Jay from Behindthebiz

  • Dan Erickson

    Nice post. It’s been a few weeks and I’m awaiting more.

  • http://fanchimp.com/ Nicoletta @Fanchimp

    Super interesting post Gary, I hope brands will stop republish their tweets on Facebook, anyone can notice they just aren’t a good fit on Facebook. Happy new year!

  • Aimee G

    so interesting !! nice !!

    If you fancy check this out !!


  • http://www.grayuk.com/ Adam Gray

    Lovely…it’s great the way that you cut to the chase and don’t tiptoe around the issues…straight in there. Boom. (and usually spot on too!)

  • Chelsea Nicole

    Thank you for pointing out that photos should be posted ‘separately’ on Twitter and Instagram instead of checking off the Instagram Twitter share box and having it looks like crap in the Twitter feed. Does anyone click on those instagram photo links in Twitter? I thought not.

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