What is Pinterest? And more importantly, who cares?

Explained most simply, it’s an online pinboard, or some may call it an “image sharing network.” I’d agree that it’s both of those.  And a whole lot more.  It’s social bookmarking that makes sense and is highly fueled by recommendations from friends. Or people you choose to follow. (Similar to Tumblr in that sense)  I think a big part of Pinterest’s appeal is its simplicity. All shared content, is image based. Any item, recipe, idea or tip  that users decide to post is represented by an image. Additionally, the source of where the “pinned” item was found is documented right below its image. You can even add a “pin it” button to your bookmarks toolbar of your browser to easily save content you want to include on one of your boards.

To me, what’s so amazing about Pinterest is its versatility. It’s an extremely useful tool for both personal and business purposes. As an individual, I can browse and create boards for design inspiration, project inspiration, shopping ideas, cooking, decorating, you name it. And as an art director, I respond better to pictures of course 🙂  So, the visual way to explore the content is very appealing to me.

But what I found even more awesome about Pinterest is the opportunity that’s out there for brands to thrive on the site. We all know by now, the benefits of social media. And most of you are probably tired of hearing those words even. But let’s be honest, when used properly, it’s effective. And cheap. It makes a ton of sense to go where our consumers are, rather than create yet another online destination and hope they find their way.

A few brands I’ve noticed that have used Pinterest in interesting ways are: Whole Foods, Lands’ End and Nordstrom. Each of these brands utilizes Pinterest in a very different, but equally beneficial way.

Whole Foods actually has a variety of “boards” that range from gardening tips to Christmas project ideas. On their Creative Christmas Projects board, they’ve posted all types of different projects for users to do at home. Anything from how to make really cute paper ornaments to making your own snow globe. In my opinion, it was a really smart use of the site. Whole Foods is gaining even more affinity towards their brand by giving people a variety of free tools to make their holiday season a little more fun and festive.

Lands’ End used Pinterest to create a contest called Pin It To Win It. They challenged people to create their own pin boards with their favorite Lands’ End Canvas products. The winning boards, which will be judged on creativity, composition and style expertise will be qualified to win one of 10 $250 Lands’ End Canvas gift cards. I thought this was pretty cool. Lands’ End gets free promotion of their products by giving their fans a voice and making them feel important. Lisa Petrilli, CEO of a company called C-Level Strategies talks more about this promotion in a recent blog post of hers: read more.

Nordstrom gives their consumers a fun and organized way to browse their merchandise. They have boards ranging from “Holiday Sparkle,” which has a variety of festive, holiday outfits and accessories to “Bold Bangles,” which showcases a bunch of fun bracelets they have in stock.

For those of you who have not yet experienced the fun and awesomeness that is Pinterest, I encourage you to do so now. But I will warn you, it’s addicting!


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