Hacking Pinterest

Many brands have jumped aboard the Pinterest train, but several of them have been slow to achieve their desired outcomes.  Without conceptualizing Pinterest as something other than a place to simply upload and tag their photos, it’s easy to create yet another online photo album, one no different or more noteworthy than those that can already be viewed elsewhere across their respective platforms.  While photo albums certainly have their benefits, they do not in their own right bring out a personality, shape a brand voice or tell its story.  And that’s the big missed opportunity with Pinterest thus far…

When using a platform in a conventional manner – especially one that is predicated on mimicking the base functionality of other online platforms – it’s easy to end up swimming in a swamp of sameness. And no matter how you slice it or dice it, that’s a mundane outcome.

How do you know if you’re in the swamp? If you’re using obvious pin board names (Recipes, My Style, Favorite Places), uploading expected imagery, writing standard captions, or all of the above, then do not expect to yield a re-pinning explosion anytime soon.

So what can be done to spice up a presence on Pinterest?

First and foremost, determine your brand voice and bring it to life…WITH TEXT! Believe it or not, the allotted text areas on Pinterest are paramount to contextualizing the imagery. What board names, board name captions, image captions and even in-image text, you can bring out your client’s most humanistic qualities.

For example, take Pinterest early adopter, Whole Foods: whether showcasing their core values (“We’re Used to Reusing”) or product lines (“Cheese Is the Bee’s Knees”), its unique brand voice shines through loudly and clearly.

But clever text can only take simple images so far. Putting extra thought and effort into individual images is critical. And, if all else fails, just think outside the box (literally) by making all of your pinboards work together to tell one coherent brand story.

Oscar de la Renta live-pinned it's bridal show.

Lastly, consider the infinite engagement possibilities of programming around the Pinterest platform for your potential campaigns. For example, a couple of months ago, fashion powerhouse Oscar de la Renta employed an equally engaging tactic by live-pinning its annual bridal collection show, rewarding followers with access to exclusive real-time behind-the-scenes updates.

In short, we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what it takes to make the Web a bit more Pinteresting…

Named a top 25 communications innovator in North America. An EVP who co-leads Ketchum’s DE&I specialty. Strategic counselor, problem solver and fixer of reputations for some of the world’s largest and most innovative Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations and governmental institutions. Senior political and policy advisor at New York City Hall. A 15+ year veteran social/digital storyteller. Passionate husband, father and criminal justice reform advocate.