Not Lost In Translation: Brands on Pinterest and Instagram

Brands on Instagram: Puma

Visual social media platforms, such as Pinterest, Vine, SnapChat and Instagram, are transforming the landscape of advertising. Our age requires bypassing the language barriers to communicate instantaneously to a global audience. Visual narratives transcend these limitations while evoking powerful emotional responses from the consumer of the media. They allow for a real-time narrative. In an instant, brands can communicate with millions through shared photos or videos. It is a form of communication that is not lost in translation.

Instagram Vintage Playboy

In the worlds of Instagram and Pinterest, brands are equal opportunity participants. Narratives told through images bypass the barriers of language. Brands create stories that entice and capture consumers’ attention to leverage their influence. Users interact with the brand by commenting, liking, or ignoring. In an instant, you know if you have a hit or a dud. When something is a hit, it is popular, but more importantly, it becomes influential.

Pinterest Etsy Brand Pages

Brands engage audiences with images: real-time, nostalgic, manufactured and raw. They entice participants to keep coming back, and to eventually make a purchase. The main aim lies in the art of the sale. People live and die by commerce, and the ability to sell not only products but also ideas. In the age of digital Darwinism, it is the difference between thriving and dying.

Brands encourage people to engage in the fantasy of their ideal life, and people associate the brand with the feeling the image evoked in them. Almost like a good luck charm, the product becomes a symbol of achievement of the desired state such as marriage, love, happiness and connection. Humans consume products to attain the promised effect. Images, either still or video, evoke an emotional response sought more effectively than language alone, which is partially why Instagram and Pinterest are such powerful tools for brands.

Brands on Instagram: Tiffaney & Co

By sharing we tell a story. Brand is the hero or anti-hero seeking popularity through likeness. A main difference between Pinterest and Instagram is one of a third person versus a first person narrative. But does Instagram win as the more effective of the two? Maybe. The two applications serve different purposes and functions.  In relation to each other, Instagram and Pinterest are complementary.  In the midst of the evolution of social media, one thing remains for sure about social, it is democratic.

Brands on Pinterest: Sony Electronics

In our increasingly visual society, narratives evolve through shared images, sometimes singular, and sometimes collages. We tell stories. Images evoke sensory responses far more powerful than words alone. Memories and emotions are powerfully charged through visual mediums. The emotional engagement of your potential customer is essential.  Visual advertising is essential, and offers more value than words alone.

Pinterest: Today Show Backstage

On a planet of 7 billion, the irony is the deep sense of isolation many people suffer from, especially in western culture. Humans are essentially social creatures. We crave connection and need to communicate. We need shared experiences.  We desperately need to know that we are not alone. Shared images break the barriers of that feeling of isolation, if only for a few moments. Collapsing our perceived differences across the boundaries of nation states, cultures and religions and languages to engage in shared perspectives, insights and interests that essentially evoke an emotional response.

Brands on Instagram: Coke

Brands on Instagram: Coke



To communicate globally, we rely on images.  Around the world we can communicate with each other in real-time. In a moment, there is the power to influence millions. We are now entering a world not lost in translation.

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