For the marketers out there, I am sure you have heard of the ‘Purple Cow’ – author Seth Godin’s answer to success that comes from making your brand stand out against the competition. This theory, which challenges business professionals to think outside of the box and create unique and engaging ways for people to become familiar with our products, services, and entire brand as a whole. As a social media fanatic, I was thrilled when I recently stumbled upon a ‘Purple Cow’ on Twitter. This truly creative idea caught my attention and made me realize the positive impact social media can have when building brands online. Imagine reliving and learning about a historical event moment to moment via tweets. That’s exactly what Alwyn Collinson, an Oxford history graduate, is accomplishing through his Twitter account @RealTimeWWII.
Instead of a normal history lesson or having history buffs read a book or tune in to a television special, Collinson chose social media as the platform to pursue his project through. Those who decide to follow @RealTimeWWII can relive World War II one tweet at a time. Every day, Collinson tweets significant wartime events, beginning with Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939. The entire six year war era will be tweeted and even includes accounts from Collinson’s grandfather who fought in WWII. The tweets sound as if someone living through this Great War actually tweeted what was happening from the battle fields. For example, today’s tweet is “Secret memo sent today to UK chiefs: announces new agency, MI9 (Military Intelligence 9), to aid resistance to Germany in occupied countries.” Not bad considering Twitter has a 140 character limit.
Collinson truly succeeded at making his project into a ‘Purple Cow’. He realized that he needed to capture the attention of a generation eager to learn about history that was also engaging on social media. His aim throughout his project is to create a connection with the past, but to also create another connection with the millions of people interacting on social media today. So far, @RealTimeWWII has attained 178,274 followers and has tweeted 1,322 times.
So marketers, as we begin the New Year and look forward to fresh branding ideas and revolutionary out-of-the-box concepts, consider social media as a channel for reaching success. Who knows, becoming a ‘Purple Cow’ may be only one tweet away.