The designer in me has always sought out inspiration from friends, colleagues, books and magazines. As the Internet continues to evolve, it feels easier and easier to stay on top of trends and design research, but in the past three years Pinterest has totally revitalized my drive for inspiration.
My natural inclination has always been to tack up inspiring images on a cork board next to my work space. Being surrounded by my discoveries has always created a happy, productive and creative work environment. Thanks to that continuous Internet evolution, my work process has evolved, too. I no longer need a physical board of stuff now that well-organized inspiration is only a quick search or click away.
Here's the thing though; I am not alone. Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social sites on the web reaching more than 45 million people a month—and they aren't all designers. In fact, very few are. While my own love of Pinterest may have originated with design inspiration, it's not just designers who want to feel inspired. It's for everyone. (Yes, even men.) Pinterest is for the mom who wants a new recipe to replace same-old-Tuesday-chicken. Or the 20-something barfly who wants to look great at the club come Friday night. Or the college professor who's looking to shed a few pounds and needs a reminder why she's ignoring the grumbling in her tummy.
Pinterest does something unique that marketers should pay attention to: It speaks the language consumers use more and more often—pictures. The world is becoming increasingly more visual. Attention spans get shorter, the world gets busier and we are less likely to read all the words we come across every day. Too busy to even type out 140 characters into a tweet? Take two seconds and turn your morning commute horror story into an Instagram instead. Want to find a fantastic new bag for a weekend getaway? Search it on Pinterest to review far more than you could at any single online store.
Beyond the natural fit for e-commerce, I think marketers have struggled a bit to define how Pinterest can help them engage consumers. There are several brands doing a great job engaging through Pinterest:
- Moleskin follows their loyal users around the globe.
- Whole Foods engages its shoppers with new recipes and has created a community for natural and organic consumers.
- Scholastic inspires teachers and parents alike with book clubs and educational picks.
- Dollar General offers budget-friendly ideas and life hacks.
- Major League Baseball connects with fans through popular Mascot Boards and consumer generated thoughts about The Love of the Game
As the site continues to evolve, Pinterest wants to work with businesses to help them navigate business and integration challenges. Ultimately, Pinterest presents an opportunity to fit your products into the life of your consumer without the hard sell. Keeping top of mind in today's busy atmosphere is the constant challenge, so if you can engage consumers where they're already looking to be inspired, that should inspire you, too.