Getting to Aha! with Darshan Mehta
How Twitter Changed the Branding Game with Brandon Rhoten, CMO at GroundTruth
November 24, 2023
In this episode of Getting to Aha!, Darshan Mehta is joined by Brandon Rhoten, Chief Marketing Officer at GroundTruth.
In this episode of Getting to Aha!, Darshan Mehta is joined by Brandon Rhoten, Chief Marketing Officer at GroundTruth. Together, they delve into the introduction of Twitter and how that impacted branding for many companies; explore the big mistakes brands make when establishing their digital and social marketing strategies; and highlight the importance of customer insights for understanding the success of your marketing plan.

Best known for building Wendy’s digital/social marketing, Brandon Rhoten has a successful track record of delivering sustained growth through enterprise-wide transformation initiatives. He is currently Chief Marketing Officer at GroundTruth, a media company turning real-world behavior into marketing that delivers real results, and Growth Advisor at SOCi, Perion, liifer, and Papa Johns.


👉 One of Darshan’s first aha! moments came with the introduction of Twitter in 2006. Seeing brands “sound like people” changed how his team worked at Wendy’s to build their digital/social presence: they wanted to sound like a personality. Suddenly, almost every brand transitioned from sterile and corporate with one-way communication with customers to having deeper personalities and customer interactions. Brandon’s mindset completely shifted. At the time, Wendy’s was working towards attracting customers under forty and Twitter provided a pathway to achieve that.

👉 Brandon often sees brands assuming that all you have to do for successful digital marketing is have a social media presence. While this will work in select instances, he clarifies that it’s all about what problem you’re trying to solve. Before diving into a social media or digital strategy, you need to establish what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re a new brand starting out, you need to figure out who you’re selling to and what message will resonate with them. THEN, you can go onto what communication channel will work best for getting that message out there. 

👉 According to Brandon, customer insights are essential in digital marketing, particularly when you’re learning what works and what doesn’t for your marketing plan. While you could learn a certain amount of this from analytics, they are limited in what they can tell you. Brandon explains that you can use analytics to aid in understanding what’s working but that you need to look into the processes you’re putting in front of customers and how they are using them so you can adjust and readjust accordingly. To illustrate, Brandon shares the example of AirBnB. They were so focused on getting good click rates that they initially didn’t notice that these clicks weren’t generating sales and they were just wasting money with their efforts to improve them. 

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Previous guests include: Kristin Luck, Shep Hyken, Whitney Dunlap-Fowler, Randy Krum, Gerard Ibarra, Jamie Flinchbaugh, Katie Anderson, Rebecca Brooks, Brooke Sellas, Dan Gingiss, Phil Irvine, Dan Fleetwood, Nicholas Zeisler, Katrina Noelle, Laura Beavin-Yates, Kalil Vicioso, Mo McKibbin, Bryant Leech and Louie Gravance.

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