MIMA November Event: The Art + Science of Content Strategy

By: Gina Micek

At MIMA’s November event  Brad Spychalski, who leads Retail West and Midwest for Pinterest’s Creative & Brand Strategy team, presented a snapshot of what is usually a four hour course on Pinterest’s interactive Workbench.

Beginning with a Nike campaign ad portraying a woman running a marathon in San Francisco.  Brad illustrated the concept, “you are not a runner, you are not a marathon runner but you will be when you finish.”  The ad is inspiring as an anthem, and was followed-up by the “how” to go about it – i.e. join the community at Nike.com/Running, purchase gear, etc.  The campaign both champions the brand as well as the product and was highlighted through Pinterest.

“Every story is rooted in an idea.  Those ideas help us discover and ultimately do the things we love.” Brad added. “Jef I. Richards, the communications professor said, ‘Creative without strategy is called ‘art.’  Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising.’”  It is important to have a clear strategy when it comes to the creation of campaign content.

Brad recommends a three-step framework which addresses values, interests and insights for your target profiles.  You build content from that information and drive results.

To work on the discovery for these creative ideas use your ideation processes to dive deeply into the brand.  You can keep ideating until you get to the unique concepts for your product or brand using the framework.

Brad explored a few case studies, illustrating each step in his 3-step framework:

Step 1: Values

Lego wanted to “Inspire the builders of tomorrow.” They took two paths with their images — instructions for building specific models and images leading to ‘taking the road less travelled’ allowing users to build whatever they wanted. Lego built out two strategies from these paths.

Step 2: Interests

Bucketing your ideas into themes is helpful, such as hobbies, vocations, projects or passions. Brad highlighted holiday and special occasion interests can be used as evergreen content when they resurface year after year.

Step 3: Insights

The main point Brad made was that you’ll need to talk to your customers and dig into the human truths.

  • Audience – Who is interested?
  • Category – What are the interested in?
  • Timing – When are the interested?
  • Trends – When do topics spike or decrease in popularity?

Brad brought this process together to discuss how brands were leveraging values, interests and

insights on Pinterest. Below are a couple examples he used:

Coke – “Pinterest as Real-life Inspiration.”  Brad played Coke’s game day ad in which someone’s actual Pinterest board was transformed into a ‘real-life’ event in which everything on the board – cheerleader included – was delivered for a game-day neighborhood bash.  It was a  “go big” tailgate story.

REI – “Pinterest as a Movement Maker.”  REI showcases the Titanium Prize they won for closing on Black Friday and reinforced their brand statement #OptOutside.

Krylon – “Pinterest as Marketplace. “Krylon knew their customers loved purchasing items at garage sales, fixing them up and reselling them for a higher price. Krylon put on the “World’s Longest Yard Sale,” with a multi-city road tour of yard sales.  Other people’s junk was turned into beautiful creations using Krylon products.  Items were resold in real-time on the Pinterest marketplace. The entire campaign cost $2,000 to start and garnered millions in earned media.

Ending the presentation, Brad left us with an intriguing question: “What will you create?”


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