Retailers should be getting Pinterested

February 24, 2012


Pinterest is the latest social network craze sweeping the land. It’s small-fry compared to Facebook and Twitter, but impressive growth figures mean retail marketers should be thinking about how to use it so they are already there when their customers discover the social network.

Pinterest was not on my radar until two weeks ago, but ever since I’ve barely gone a day without it cropping up in both professional, and social circles.

The site is essentially an online pinboard, that users can use to collect together images and content and share it with friends, families, and likeminded people.

Its audience has grown 76% since last May, according to ComScore. Unique users reached 250,000 in January. The total minutes spent on the site have increased by more than 3140% in the UK.

It’s being lauded as the fastest growing social platform ever, until the next one emerges of course, but that means that while it may remain on the fringes of consumer conscious at the moment, if the rate of growth continues, it will become mainstream very quickly as it captures people’s imaginations.

The key for retail brands thinking about adding pins to the board, is that now is the time to do it before Pinterest explodes.

The issue that brands have had with Facebook is that the social network was already massive before brands got in on the action.

This meant that when brands and businesses did start to dabble, it felt like a corporate intrusion into personal space.

To avoid this being the case on Pinterest, retail brands need to establish a role early on so that by the time it has user numbers to rival Facebook, brands being there feels natural, rather than intrusive.

Pinterest offers a way to visually associate your brand with things that fit with your values in a way no other platform can do. Therefore it is perfect to develop closer relationships with consumers that share those values.

For retailers, there is an obvious opportunity to not only showcase products, but also lifestyles, values and trends associated with the brand and use it as a platform for the brand’s personality.

Two fashion retailers using Pinterest in the UK are and Both target young women with fast changing fashion which makes Pinterest a perfect playground for them.

Perhaps surprisingly, I think Missguided is doing a better job in using the online pinboards to tell a story about its brand than Asos, which is very active on other social channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

Missguided has boards dedicated to pretty cupcakes, inspirational quotes, celebrity fashion it likes, make up and fashion style inspiration as well as backstage photos from its style shoots and events.

It is colourful, cute, fresh, and vibrant – exactly how the brand wants to present itself. It does not seem to feature its own product ranges, but from its pins, other Pinterest users can get to know the brand’s personality and what it stands for. It is from this that consumers, and potential customers, can develop an affinity with the brand.

Conversely, the Asos boards feel cold, and do not seem to reveal anything about the brand’s personality. Its products are pinned to boards, alongside fashion blogs and photoshoots, but there is nothing else there to relate to.

I would expect to see boards around youth culture, festivals, music, film, and celebrities alongside its fashion and accessories to get a more rounded picture of the brand’s personality.

While I fully believe there is a place for brands on Pinterest, it would be a crying shame if it went the way of other social networks and became about monetising the ‘boards’ individuals and brands create, or yet another route to a sale.

Reported in Marketing Week | by Rosie barker

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