9 Brands Taking Pinterest By Storm

April 24, 2012
Brown papers

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve already heard something about Pinterest, the remarkable social community built around virtual bulletin boards of photos, videos, and content that members find online. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Pinterest is that its growth hasn’t been driven by millennials or techies or any of the usual suspects. Nielsen reports that 23.7 million U.S. uniques visited Pinterest in February, more than double the traffic from just two months earlier. Further, Nielsen reports that more than 70 percent of the uniques are women, and that the highest penetration is among women age 25 to 34.

With all that traffic and passion, it’s natural that brands are jumping on the bandwagon in some interesting ways. The key to Pinterest is to communicate the brand’s broadest essence and mission. It’s about a lifestyle and a universal promise. It’s not a place to shill but rather to celebrate, share, and educate with people on both an emotional and rational level.

Here are nine examples of brands pinning their way to success.

For a retailer like Nordstrom, where the brand is about more than the sum of its racks, Pinterest offers a tableau to mix signature goods with occasions, lifestyle topics, and style lessons that are both entertaining and gorgeous. This is a fairly selly Pinterest experience, but it “works” in that it feels more “experiential” than “online store.”

Michael’s Craft Stores
I learned about the Michael’s Pinterest from a crafty friend who positively oozed appreciation for the brand’s presence. Crafters love new ideas, and they like showing off the beautiful things they make. Michael’s has created a brand experience that leverages that combination of voyeur and exhibitionist in every crafter, showcasing amazing creations from across the web organized by season, craft, color, occasion, and more. And what do you know, you can recreate most of the examples with stuff from…Michael’s!

Middle Sister Wines
It’s anything but always “Marsha Marsha Marsha” with the Pinterest presence from this enchanting emergent brand. No Jan Brady defeatism here. Rather Middle Sister Wines gives us an incredible exploration of the “sisters” themselves, their lives, their loves, and their distinct flavors of philosophy light. It’s an enchanting branding concept, and Pinterest expression.

The Today Show
Pinterest feels almost tailor made for a media brand with an incredibly broad and eclectic range of topics. The “Today” board’s features like “Anchor Antics” are juxtaposed with style, health, and food in a strong visual expression of the program. And it’s definitely not all straight up show content, as features like Hoda’s “Favorite Things” broaden the essence of this quintessential lifestyle brand. Strong followings for many of the content types attest to broad appeal and careful curation. Good art direction too!

All things geek is the Pinterest theme for the world’s other processor maker. From product information to geekchic fashion and an homage to the mouse, AMD sets the standard for informing and entertaining techies “in the know.” This is probably a great way of connecting with the sort of people who can see beyond the Intel Inside marketing juggernaut and recognize the excellence of its products.

It’s a bit of a no-brainer for a photography company to be on Pinterest, right? But I really like what Kodak has done. First, the page is tied to a person, Kodak’s chief blogger. Second, this incredible collection of photos old and new connects the viewer to the heritage of the brand as well as its new products. It’s more about the result than the means, which is the quintessential Kodak brand.

Lilly Pulitzer
I can’t quite put my finger on why I like Lilly’s presence so much. Perhaps it’s because it seems to capture the essence of carefree leisure, which is the root of the mark. I also like the feature “Lilly makes me feel…” — a UGC effort in which customers describe their feelings for the brand and what it brings out in them. It also has a nice set of historical photos of Lilly through the years. From Jackie O. to Lilly herself — it is prep heaven. Stay on this page too long and you’ll catch “locust valley lockjaw” — although you will enjoy the affliction big-time.

Savannah College of Art and Design
You might not find this one on your own, so I included SCAD to provide a great example of how a brand can create a rich expression by showcasing its people. No surprise, it has a ton of style. The college also has a novel way of showcasing alumni achievements through photography. That particular set of pictures did a nice job of creating community, pride, and recruiting appeal.

Chronicle Books
Chronicle Books occupies a bold and bright niche in the world of book publishing, and that character comes through in a big way on its Pinterest presence. With a very light touch on the product shilling, this presence captures the topics, targets, and themes of its titles. And it defines a sense of “fraternity of readers” that as a reader I found inviting and inclusive. Oh yeah, and it’s all tied to the products in imaginative ways!

(Thanks to iMediaConnection for publishing this first.)

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