Pinterest is a dangerously distracting site. It’s a place to find things you didn’t know you needed, and one pin seems to lead to another, and another. Before you know it, 15 minutes have gone by in a time that felt like two. As we consumers become more savvy about how we’re being advertised to, brands continually update their methods. Pinterest adds a very easy image sharing capability that enhances the online experience and is in fact a great place for consumer brands promote their messaging without using hard sell methods.
Creating a lifestyle brand
In the early days of advertising, brands would show how one of their products would solve one of life’s big problems. Today, thanks to the web, consumers are exposed to multiple ways that brands can positively (and sometimes negatively) impact their lives on a more grandiose scale. Brands, especially fashion brands, are becoming more comfortable about adding lifestyle topics to their websites’ blogs. Labels including Anthropologie and Tory Burch both have blogs that feature cultural focused topics that go beyond style, such as art and travel. But now, these brands and others have the opportunity to expand their relevance in consumers’ lives through Pinterest.
This year, Kate Spade ran a Spring 2012 campaign focused on living colorfully, during which time the brand pinned images to Pinterest that went beyond basic product shots. Behind-the-scenes images and detail shots from photo shoots, and photographs of happy, colorfully dressed people and colorful places, also popped up on the brand’s account. Other brands take “lifestyle branding” a step further, by running pin focused contests. This past spring, ModCloth ran a contest for which Pinterest users had to create a pinboard for their dream wedding, of course including a specific number of images from ModCloth products. ModCloth isn’t a wedding ecommerce site; it’s an indie fashion e-tailer who was smart about expanding its brand’s demographic.
Pinterest, like other social sites, has made brands more well-rounded in terms of how they fit into consumers’ lifestyles. It’s also made brands more human.
Humanizing a brand
By pinning any images onto Pinterest boards that don’t feature a brand’s products tells a lot about that brand. A board a fashion brand curates about travel shows consumers the specific types of places that brand associates itself with. Furthermore, each time a brand adds any type of description to the images it pins, whether they be of its products or not, its personality is portrayed and that brand thus becomes more humanized.
Some brands, like Bergdorf Goodman, have engaged fans directly. Unlike the Pinterest-based contest ModCloth recently ran, these brands aren’t doing giveaways, but actually inviting consumers to participate in their branding efforts. Bergdorf Goodman gave its Facebook fans Pinterest prompts (basically asking fans to complete a sentence with a pinned image).
Pinterest related analytics can help consumer brands better understand their audience, which is great because at the end of the day, more understanding about consumers may lead to more sales. Google Analytics is one way brands can learn about their impact on the Pinterest crowd. Through Google, brands can see which pins generated the most traffic to their websites, how long each visit lasted and how many pages each visitor viewed. Viralheat also offers Pinterest analytics, focused more on the analytics within the Pinterest site. Some such metrics include the number of times a pin with a specific title or domain name has been pinned.
Pinterest seems to be like any other social network; if your consumer is there, the work you put in will be well worth it in results. However, as mentioned in a post on Copyblogger, this site’s 3rd highest traffic referrer is Pinterest. The bounce rate, however, is 91.7%. So brands, make sure to pin content that isn’t too far away from what your brand stands for and nothing that is misleading as to what consumers will find on your website. While Pinterest is fun, and can be addicting, it’s important to make sure anything pinned to Pinterest complements a brand’s overall marketing strategy.
Author Bio: Ashley Laurel is the founder of Pretty Innovative, a blog about the convergence of fashion and technology. She focuses on topics such as wearable technology, mobile apps and fashion brands’ social strategies. Her writing has also appeared on sites such as FashionablyMarketing.me, ShopNearMe.tumblr.com, CIO.com, and ClassyCareerGirl.com, and she’s worked in social media marketing for a few years with both consumer and B2B clients.