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Story And Conversation: Pin It To Build A Brand

Cabot Cheese's board for appetizers brings appetizers made with their cheeses to life.

This week at work, I was explaining Pinterest to some of my coworkers, and one of them posed a question that I had yet to ask myself — What brands are using Pinterest?

How It Works

If you haven’t heard of Pinterest, it’s basically an online bulletin board. Users can share pictures from websites that they find interesting or inspirational. It’s the digital equivalent of ripping something from a magazine and posting it on your bedroom wall or bulletin board. Users can have one board or make multiple for different categories (i.e. make one for how you’re going to redecorate your living room, one for daily inspirations, one for things that make you happy, etc.). If it sounds like fun, it is! And don’t get me started on how addicting it is! Once you start pinning, you can’t stop.

How Brands Are Involved

Pinterest is a natural fit for brands. It engages users with a behind-the-scenes look into the process behind a company or person. Similar to a Retweet or Like, users can share a photo on Pinterest or share their thoughts through comments on a page they are following. This feature allows brands to see what their customers are most interested in.

Pinterest in a relatively new wave of social media in the branding world. As Duncan says, “it’s a great way to tell stories, generate conversation, and build community.” Here are some of the early adopters that are fantastic examples of the potential Pinterest has for a brand:

Nordstrom

Nordstrom uses several pin boards to share products and trends with followers. From a “Fall Wish List” to “Trends We Love: Tassels,” Nordstrom uses Pinterest to feature the hottest lines in their seasonal collections, as well as exposing followers to their picks for the best items on sale in stores that match the current fashion trends.

Why It Works: It exposes customers to specific products the brand is trying to push, similar to a features column in a fashion magazine. Users love it because they can pull it up on their phone while shopping and share their pick with their friends by re-pinning.

 Chris March

Chris March is an outlandish fashion designer made famous on Project Runway. He now has his own show on Bravo. As a designer and artist, Chris is constantly inspired by the things around him. He not only uses Pinterest to create a board of behind-the-scenes photos from each episode of “Mad Fashion,” he also has a “Love!” board that shares what inspires him.

Why It Works: For his TV show, Pinterest helps gives viewers a special look into his staff dynamic in the office and his celebrity clients through exclusive photos. For Chris as an individual brand, sharing photos that inspire him help followers engage in his creative process, creating brand loyalty and involvement.

Additional Note for Artists: Pinterest is an amazing tool for arts-based brands, as the creative process is so greatly focused on inspiration throughout life. Whether it be the color of the fall leaves or a design on a coffee mug, if it inspires you, pin it. It’s easy and has major return for brand loyalty.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods takes the “cool things” route with Pinterest, which is how the average Pinner uses the service. Its boards are titled “Super HOT Kitchens” and “Thankful for Thanksgiving Dinner.” You obviously can’t buy a kitchen at Whole Foods, but they choose pictures of kitchens to pin that match their brand, further defining it for followers.

Why It Works: As a food company, Whole Foods does a great job of inspiring its followers. If you see a picture of a delicious mushroom tart on their pin board, it may kick start your desire to find a recipe and head to the nearest Whole Foods to buy the ingredients. That leads to a sale. Whole Foods’ pin boards aren’t going to drive new business, but they do inspire followers and can lead to additional trips to the store or larger purchases for existing customers.

Cabot Cheese

Cabot Cheese uses Pinterest in the most unique way of any brand I found. As a cheese distributor in Vermont, Pinterest may not seem like a direct fit for marketing, but Cabot Cheese has found a way to make it work. By pinning pictures of ways to use their products — from recipes using Greek Yogurt to side dishes that are cheese-based — Cabot Cheese’s boards inspire followers to cook with dairy.

Why It Works: While inspiring followers to cook with dairy doesn’t lead to a direct sale for Cabot Cheese, as consumers could easily choose another brand of yogurt, cheese, etc., it promotes their industry, which is never a bad thing. They also don’t take them too seriously, which shows a light-hearted side to their brand that is utterly endearing. Their board of cows, titled “Moo!” , draws in this born-and-raised farm girl every time!

Pinterest can work wonders for your brand, but you have to figure out how it works for your product. It’s a natural fit for arts-based businesses, but it can work for anyone. What other brands have you found use Pinterest well?

About Alyson Ahrns

Alyson is a content specialist for Firebelly Marketing, reporting live from New York City.