Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the past few weeks you probably know about the latest change to facebook. This time the change allows brand pages to switch to the timeline layout, which many of their customers and fans are already using. These timelines are the same as the personal timelines in appearance, but the new layout provides some extra benefits for brands.
The ability to add milestones is important because it allows a narrative of the brand’s history to be told, and is a great way to relate to the consumer on a more personal level. Some other changes to note are the rearranging and condensing of tabs, and the ability to “pin” a certain post to the top of the page.
While these changes are interesting, the most talked about and arguably the most useful new feature of the timeline is the cover photo. This is a perfect place to show off your brand and make the page unique. There are already quite a few brands using this feature and as more companies switch over in the next few weeks we will likely be seeing even more innovative ways to use the cover photo.
I decided to list my 8 favorite brand cover photos (in no specific order) and discuss what it is that makes them successful.
If you’ve seen any other lists of top brand timelines you’ve probably already seen this one, but it wouldn’t seem right to overlook it. The bubble theme is right on track with the rest of Coke’s advertising and the photos chosen do a really good job of evoking strong feelings of happiness and comfort. The bubbles that seem to come from the iconic Coke bottle in the profile photo are a nice subtle touch as well.
I like things to be clean, and I think this is a great example of how clean does not have to mean boring. Sharpie is making sure everyone knows they’re more than just office supplies by showing an example of how their markers can be used in a really awesome way and simply saying don’t waste any time, “Make something already!”
This is a really fun example of how the timeline can engage consumers. The cover photo itself is really bright and exciting and I love how the profile photo is treated as an extension of the main image. The interesting thing about the cover photo is that there are two characters missing from the scene, and Fanta’s facebook fans are asked to help “Like” them back into the scene. This is done by searching for the character in the timeline and once the character gets so many likes they will “reappear” and join the rest of their friends on the cover photo.
While a nail polish brand might not stand out to some of you as being at the forefront of good design, Essie’s branding has always stood out to me. Their look is very classic and simple. If you happen to keep up with fashion trends as I do, you’ll notice that the row of nail polish is not random. The colors have been specifically chosen because they’re the colors of spring 2012. This brand stays very much on trend, which I think will drive a lot of fans to the facebook page.
A lot of brands are using their cover photo to tell the story of their history. Landor, which is a brand and creative design consultancy, was founded by Walter Landor in 1941. Mr. Landor is often credited with creating many of the design and branding methods we use today. Showing some of their most iconic early projects, along with the famous ferryboat they used to call their office, Landor has managed to create a cover image that feels modern, while telling a very old story. The collage layout is also a really good way to incorporate the profile picture so everything feels unified.
I love how much Verizon is including their customers in the new timeline photos. Every cover photo was taken on a Verizon phone by one of their fans, and that person is credited right above the profile photo and also receives a 4G LTE tablet. The photos aren’t all necessarily the best quality, but I think that is part of the charm and adds a refreshing personal feeling to the page. Not only is this concept a really clever way to get people to “like” the page, but it’s also a good incentive for fans to return to the page regularly and hopefully suggest it to their friends as well.
Another example of a brand using their cover photo to give fans a little dose of history. I personally enjoy seeing the evolution of a brand, especially through logos, and I think this does a great job of incorporating the previous logos in with photos of a top artist from the same year. The black and white with hot pink accents is a popular color palette right now, especially with teenagers, so this is a good choice in terms of staying relevant with young people. What I find especially smart though, is that VH1 didn’t limit themselves to one age group as an audience. Many people grew up watching VH1, so seeing some of their old favorites brings back great memories and a strong emotional connection with the network.
One thing a lot of brands will likely be trying to do is incorporate a tag line into their cover photo. I think this is something that can be done either really well, or really poorly. In the case of UPS, I think they successfully managed to do it in a creative way without seeming too information heavy. The balance of typography and photography seems to have been carefully considered, and I really appreciate the less is more approach.
Love them or hate them, the new time lines become the Facebook standard on March 30. Still trying to figure out what yours should be? Call Roundpeg, an Indianapolis social media firm, to help!