Lack of track record
"It's amazing...there has never been something like it," recently gushed one brand executive about the Pinterest platform.
But let's take it slow. Indeed, the popular social network Pinterest is in the process of stepping up its game, and countless more brands have begun taking notice. Launched in 2010, Pinterest thrives on photographs traveling fluidly throughout the social media stratosphere. Based in San Francisco, Pinterest is now the third-most popular social network after longtime favorites Facebook and Twitter. Gathering together a community of visual collectors, Pinterest is now available on Android devices and the iPad and has worked hard to improve its popular iPhone app.
These are all steps in the right direction.
Yet, despite all these positive signs pointing toward its future success, there are question marks for brands when it comes to exactly how they plan to use it within their overall social media plan.
"As an industry, I don't think we have fully grasped what we are going to use it for," says Shane Ginsberg, SVP of corporate development at Organic. "It has a very narrowly defined demographic, mostly women in the United States. Despite the hype effect it's currently going through, it still inherently and should be driven by users, not brands. We have seen this movie so many times -- remember Second Life? Let's never confuse evaluation hype with brand utility."
Ginsberg has a point. Didn't we learn our lesson? Didn't we learn that there are places for brands to flourish and places where they just don't belong? Perhaps. Yet, marketers recognize Pinterest's buzz and the ease with which one can hop on the bandwagon.
Indeed, certain brands have found a home and truly established their voices on Pinterest. "There is no doubt that Pinterest has struck a chord since it was launched, but it's important to remember that Pinterest does not exist to help brands," says Paul Pierson, partner and design director at Carbone Smolan Agency. "Brands are seeing a vibrant community, and they want to connect with it. If brands want to tap into that community, they need to tap into the culture of Pinterest."