How Pinterest Re-vitalizes Corporate Storytelling
By Rebecca Lansdell
The Hoffman Agency, Hong Kong
Sometimes a great story just jumps up and slaps you across the face. Typically these great stories come from someone close to you who’s got some major news or an out-of-the-ordinary tale to tell. All too often, major corporates and brands aren’t embracing their inner storyteller to showcase their brand or sell stuff (incidentally, helping brands to tell their story is a specialty of ours).
But I’m pleased to say that one of my favourite stories this month has come from Pinterest, the social media site.
For the uninitiated, I heartily recommend that you sign up and take a look – it’s a social website that invites users to create online pinboards and ”pin” photos, pictures or infographics – whatever takes your fancy. Your boards are public and anyone can “repin” or like your pin; you can also choose to follow other people in your social networks to see what they’re pinning. (If you’re already signed up to Pinterest, and enjoy the occasional bit of dim sum, I have a board on Hong Kong which you can find here.)
What has really caught my eye is Pinterest’s handling of a product announcement (full email below). As so many companies often do, they could’ve focused on the feature launch up-front, highlighting the new capabilities for users. Instead, they opted to humanize Pinterest and the launch by starting with a personal story from Ben Silbermann, one of Pinterest’s founders, and a new Dad. It highlights how his wife used Pinterest to find out about baby products and pick up tips when she was pregnant.
Through the story, you really get a sense that Pinterest is about sharing and creating a sense of community. Not only do you gain a better understanding of the company’s values, but you also get a warm fuzzy feeling to boot. The new feature (secret boards) is only discussed right at the end, but already you’re excited about trying it, and thinking about new things to share on your first secret board, and with whom.
The story has brought the new capabilities to life. Reading this prompted me to immediately sign in and start trying out the new feature. I’ve currently got a secret board focused on Christmas presents for my family – my friends from all over the world are pinning suggestions, unbeknownst to the intended recipients. Maybe one of the gifts will come complete with a story all of its own.