Pinterest, The New NASCAR?

Where Will Pinterest Stop?
It seems a new social media platform is on the rise and according to an article on the Wall Street Journal: Pinterest's Rite of Web Passage- Huge Traffic, No Revenue, Pinterest accounted for 11 million unique visitors in January 2012. We have all heard of the term, "a picture is worth a thousand words" and Pinterest is putting it to the literal test. Businesses and marketers everywhere are foaming at the mouth with this new social media platform, where users are able to share their interests and hobbies through the "pinning" and "re-pinning" of visual images.
"Pinners" as I like to call them, share pictures with other members of Pinterest, sharing anything from favorite workout routines to favorite things to eat during the summer. 

Nancy Cawley Jean, senior media realtions officer for Lifespan, recently made an interesting statement in a Hospital Impact blog post. According to Jean, Pinterest is outdoing what Twitter and Facebook have achieved and has become the fastest growing social network, however, it lacks the "kind of interaction with others that you can have with Twitter & Facebook". I would have to agree with Jean's point to some extent but I think the real value of Pinterest as a platform is that the users are able to identify with others through a form of visual art where words are not always necessary to express ones talents, beliefs, or thoughts. Marketers strive for this kind of personal influence and you may have even heard of it, it's called brand recognition. 

Companies like McDonalds, Nike, and Starbucks who are known globally could remove their company name, leaving only their logo and still relay their message of who they are and what they represent. In fact, Starbucks has recognized the value and the impact that they have had on the  consumer and were so confident that they can sell a cup of coffee by simply providing an image without the name Starbucks written on the logo, thus introducing their new Starbucks logo in 2011. 

Having said that, this has paved way for marketers to tap into the minds of the consumer and reach them on a psychological level that companies have been attempting to do for decades. Of course Pinterest like all other marketing tools needs to be further researched and analyzed by the companies willing to use this fairly new marketing platform. How the company will integrate their marketing strategy and conform to the many marketing tactics that Pinterest offers is critical and the marketing team representing those companies should have a complete understanding of their companies marketing objectives before applying tools such as Pinterest.

Not since the introduction of NASCAR, has a platform been built where both the consumer and the brand live cohesively. According to Warby Parker Inc. CEO, Neil Blumenthal, "Pinterest allows us to market the company's products" in an organic & authentic way. In a time where the consumer has control of the amount of advertising he/she is exposed to, companies should be excited about the opportunity to showcase their brands side by side with consumer. Some similarities that stand out when comparing Pinterest and NASCAR are that both show a strong following by the female consumer. 

Female users of Pinterest account for 68% while NASCAR fans are 40% female. I believe that some research that companies should invest time and money into finding out if those Pinterest users are like NASCAR fans, in that they are highly attached and tend to serve as ambassadors of the brand by spreading positive word of mouth to other people and brand communities. My guess would be yes because in order to be a member of Pinterest, you first need to be invited to join. How else would we have heard of Pinterest? Researchers should also take the time to see if Pinterest, like NASCAR, is able to achieve a high level of emotional branding because of the users/fans connection with the brand. According to NASCAR, studies reveal that 72% of NASCAR fans are strongly loyal to NASCAR sponsors. 

This of course is one marketing students view and take on Pinterest. Only time will tell what is to become of the marketing platform Pinterest. Some people say that Pinterest is "2012's Hottest Startup" and although Pinterest has been around since 2010, the small 16 employee ran company now valued at $200 million is causing a big stir. Social media sites like Facebook, Twiiter, and now Pinterest have changed the way the marketer reaches the target audience and it will be fascinating to see what marketing strategies companies will develop to effectively implement these marketing tools. One thing is for certain, what you choose to share and pin reflects your business so keeping the brand image at heart should be the number one priority of any marketer using any social media platform.


tricia said...

Very interesting Nascar analogy, Juan. I just hope Pinterest can make it easier to address copyright concerns....many people I know are closing down or deleting their boards. Such a shame for such a great platform. I think it just exploded and now some of the unforeseen hiccups are catching up...

Juan Jesus Garza III said...

I agree with you 100% and I think that the company's who can turn their environmental threats into opportunities are some of the most successful marketing strategist. It's sad to see so many people closing their boards but I think in the long run this will only improve the user experience on Pinterest.

tricia said...

Did you see Que Fregados featured you in her blog post the other day? :)

Juan Jesus Garza III said...

Yes, I did. That was very nice of her and I have thanked her as well. She is now part of my Twitter following, I really appreciate everyone's feedback. Great experience thus far.

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