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Pinterest and the Luxury Sector

My last article Pinterest for Business, explored a number of ideas for getting the most out of the popular image-sharing social network. However to date, little has been written about how these principles can be applied to the luxury sector.

A number of questions surface, such as ‘How can luxury brands establish that crucial balance between projecting a strong brand personality in their profile whilst maintaining a sense of exclusivity?’ And ‘Do luxury brands really need a Pinterest profile? Isn’t it enough to have great photo content on your website and let online users do the sharing for you?’ I attempt to answer these and other questions by examining luxury brand activity on Pinterest. In the process, I discover boards ranging from the sleek and polished to the quirky and ingenious!

Harrods perhaps unsurprisingly, has invested visible time and resources into Pinterest with 32 boards covering an array of product areas and topics from ‘The best of British’ to ‘Vintage Glamour’. There is a board dedicated to the recent Jubilee celebrations at the London store and another exploring the famous store’s history. A board entitled ‘Best dressed- you decide’ shows the results of a twitter poll on the best dressed celebrities at the 2012 Oscars. This clearly highlights the store’s strategic use of social media across multiple networks drawing on the individual strengths of each.

Armani also has a ‘best dressed’ board as well as a board dedicated to its hotel in Milan appropriately named ‘The Suite life’. Armani’s 14 boards largely show black and white, highly-stylised but extremely shareable images, closely reflecting the brands identity. Armani shows here that less can certainly be more; this highly aspirational brand has ‘cleared the clutter’ with striking results. To date the Pinterest profile has attracted 627 followers, a figure which is shooting up by the day.

Oasis – Ok so technically this is not a luxury brand, however Oasis Fashion has come up with some interesting ideas and seems to be injecting a real sense of brand personality into their ‘fledgling’ Pinterest profile. Oasis has boards to reflect what has inspired their designers, their summer collection, accessories and then simply an ‘Oasis loves’ board showing some of their favourite snippets. I had to share my favourite pin from this board below -definitely one to try when your next feeling overworked in the office although I’m too sure it’ll work for the guys!

                                             

Turning our attention to Yachting, Azimut Yachts is one of the few enterprises in the sector to embrace Pinterest. Azimut has boards for ‘Design’ and ‘Italian style’ which feature some true symbols of Italian living including the Vespa and Tiramisù. One might well question the relevance of Tiramisu to yachting, however this is all part of Pinterest’s beauty. It turns online users into true brand ambassadors by letting them get ‘under the skin’ of their favourite brands. The brands, meanwhile are able to successfully communicate their true influences.

Conde Nast Traveller content obviously plays to Pinterest’s strengths – there are hoards of stunning images amongst the boards here (all 93 of them!). Boards are as specific as ‘Overwater bungalows and as general as ‘Places’. Whilst many boards focus on individual destinations, Conde Nast also looks at culture, food and oddities such as ‘amazing hotel amenities’. One thing for sure, the profile is popular with a substantial 3,483 followers. My favourite pin has to be the ‘overwater trapeze’ at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes that drops you straight into the sea!

ski liftContinuing with travel, this time the luxury ski market, we can see that Oxford Ski is starting to build its presence with 10 boards and 87 followers – Boards such as ‘Interiors of luxury chalets’ and ‘Food and Wine’ succeed in showcasing chalet features and services, whilst a board on ‘Alpine art’ adds some character. There is also a general board featuring a series of quirky travel images such as this picture bearing the caption ‘Not quite a ski lift!’

Cartier is another big player to opt for product-lead boards with a clean feel. Its 6 boards include bridal and watch ranges as well as its ‘juste un clou’ (just a nail) ring and bracelet collection. Marketing material, complete with original wording, may dominate its boards, however this seems to work for the brand re-inforcing brand colours and the beautiful design.

A look at the Real Estate market on the French Riviera reveals some more big-name gaps; however Jackie Pressman looks to be building some good groundwork with the company’s boards. Rather than an endless stream of properties for sale and rental, we have images of ‘Life in the South of France’, ‘The Cannes Film Festival’ and ‘Seasons in the South of France’. This approach generally results in an engaged audience, who are more likely to follow the Pinterest profile and visit the company website.

So what conclusions can we draw?

Interestingly, many of the big players are still yet to venture into the world of social image sharing on Pinterest, instead focusing their marketing efforts on some of the more established social networks such as Facebook. Looking at both the mainstream and the luxury sector; many of the most recognizable brands are slow off the mark. This presents a significant opportunity for adventurous brands to carve the way.

And what about my opening question on the necessity of a Pinterest Profile? –Even brands without Pinterest profiles are likely to start seeing referral traffic in their analytics data and having a brand profile should only encourage this. For those brands worried about yet another social media profile to maintain, fret not! Settings allow brands to simply create a number of boards and then let them be (users cannot contribute to boards unless you specifically allow this). Whilst regular updates will encourage new visitors, infrequently updated profiles will not look as glaringly out of date as on other social networks.

All-in all, it looks like there is no limit to the creativity that can be injected into Pinterest profiles whilst they remain relatively easy to maintain. In my last Pinterest article, I mentioned the benefits of giving users real value and many of the companies above are expertly demonstrating this.

It seems that there’s no time like the present for brands to jump on-board this increasingly influential image sharing social network!