Is Pinterest Right for Brands?
Posted by: Labbrand Consulting Co., Ltd.
Date added: Fri 11 May 2012
Pinterest can be used as a more flexible extension of a brand’s e-commerce presence, especially since the launch of the price display tool. The platform offers a convenient social browsing experience that can very effectively generate traffic towards branded e-commerce websites.
But while e-commerce may be the most obvious use of Pinterest, it is by no means the only one. The real potential of the platform lies in more subtle approaches.
A strong brand is not only a name and logo; it is a set of associations, a universe that can be visually represented by objects, colors, and images. Pinterest allows companies to add depth and texture to their brand by creating a visual universe that reflects the brand’s essences and conveys its messages. Whole Foods, for example, uses its Pinterest page to push content linked to themes that are part of the brand’s extended universe such as cooking, gardening, recycling and of course its birthplace, Austin, Texas.
Pinterest is also part of a broader trend for which brands increasingly act as trusted content curators for their fans. An excellent example would be the famous luxury department store Bergdof Goodman, who utilizes its boards to inform followers about the latest trends in fashion.
Pinterest can be leveraged to establish a more intimate link between a brand and its fans by showing the brand and the company in a different light and allowing followers to get a sneak peak into its daily life. This is the road chosen by General Electrics, who through boards such as “On the factory floor” and “The archives” offers a glimpse of its behind-the-scene operations.
Finally, Pinterest can serve as a platform for customer engagement. Thanks to Pinterest’s Hashtag and Public Board tools, brands can create innovative UGC campaigns to keep their communities alive. American retailer Lands’ End recently asked followers to choose the 20 pieces of clothing that best suited different models. Winners won their selection of articles.
But what would a new social platform be like without its cohort of Chinese clones? Over the last few months, RenRen, Tencent, Qihoo and just about every major Chinese tech company has launched its own version of Pinterest that broadly mirror the original version in terms of functionalities. It would seem for now that brands had better wait for the market shakeout to establish a presence on whichever service will come out ahead.
More interestingly, many Chinese companies are twisting the Pinterest concept through heavy e-commerce integration. The biggest player in this field are Mei Li Shuo (“Beauty Says”) and Mo Gu Jie (“Mushroom Street”) whose partnership with Alibaba’s e-commerce search engine eTao made the news a few weeks ago.
All in all, the Pinterest’s potential for highly engaging branding strategies is evident. To fully tap the power of the platform, brands must lay out a clear vision of their extended visual identity and never forget that even if they chose the e-commerce route, content, as often, is king.
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