Pinterest Case Study - Dena Johnson 04/2012

Innovative Case Study - Media and Organizational Communication Dr. Sybril Bennett - Spring 2012

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  1. "Built by a small team in Palo Alto, Calif., Pinterest's mission, according to its website, 'is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things' they find interesting.' Pinterest is currently invitation-only. But once signed up, all members have to do is install a "pin it" button in their browsers' bookmark bars before they can start grabbing images from all over the web to add to their virtual pinboards. Since most of us have too many interests to count, a board can be created around any topic, and users can add as many pins to a board as they want. In an effort to promote collaboration, Pinterest users can also edit their accounts to allow contributors to add pins to their boards.

    Sometimes, we all just need a little inspiration. Pinterest users looking for ideas can browse pinboards created by other people or choose to follow a particular board or user with similar interests."

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  2. "Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.  People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes." (from the Pinterest website help page)

  3. CBS This Morning Spotlights Pinterest.

  4. How do I get more information?

  5. The Pinterest Website is a good place to start.  Their "Getting Started" page includes information like Pinning 101, Pinning and Repinning, and Creating and Managing Your Boards. 
  6. Statistics...

  7. "Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites in history, jumping from 11 to 17 million unique visitors last month alone.  It's still relatively small in terms of head count which means it may still offer significant stock options to crucial employees.

    Although it currently doesn't generate revenue, it has more than $30 million in venture capital to fuel its growth.  Investors are throwing unsolicited term sheets at Pinterest in the billion-dollar valuation range, so they think it can grow to become at least a $5-10 billion business."

  8. "Last month, Facebook had more than 7 billion total visitors; Twitter had 182 million; and Pinterest had 104 million total visits from people in the United States, according to data sent to CNN by Experian.

    That ranking puts the newbie site ahead of heavyweights such as LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace and Tumblr."

  9. "Most interesting, it (Pinterest) took off among non-techies first. That's a great reminder for startups trying to stand out -- the world is a lot bigger than your friends who work at tech companies. Sometimes, you have to get outside the bubble."

  10. Strengths and Weaknesses

  11. Their target demographic?  "...the red-hot marketer target: twenty- and thirty-something women."
  12. Strengths...1) It is so unique and 2) It is image-driven which people love much more than words.  Weaknesses...1) Because it is image driven, this can be a weakness as well since people may only look at it as a way to view clothes, jewelry, etc. and 2) there is a lack of dedicated brand pages, specifically the "biggest challenge marketers will face on Pinterest is figuring out how to market without seeming like marketing." Read on for comparison information between Pinterest and Google.
  13. Structure and Leadership...

  14. "Pinterest was created last year by Silbermann, fellow Yale University alum Paul Sciarra, and their friend, designer Evan Sharp. Silbermann, who collected insects and stamps when he was a kid in Des Moines, saw that there was no convenient place for people to collect things online. 'Not everyone’s a writer, so blogging doesn’t make sense for everyone,' he says. The three quit their jobs and began working from a tiny shared apartment in Palo Alto in November 2009. They knew they were onto something when, next summer, they held meetups for early users in San Francisco and New York. Silbermann was surprised to find that architects, chefs, and other “regular people” were the most passionate users.

    Since the site is image-centric, it’s an attractive way to browse. 'Once you know what you want, Google (GOOG) or Amazon (AMZN) will take care of it,' says Ben Silbermann, a founder. "But if you don’t know what you want and you want to discover, I don’t think there are very good solutions."