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品牌营销爱上照片共享

Anthonia Akitunde 2012年06月05日

Pinterest、Tumblr和Instagram等图片共享服务如同火箭般的迅速崛起改变了营销人员的运作方式,从全食超市到美国航空,人人都在研究如何用照片推销产品。

    照片正迎来属于自己的辉煌时刻。Pinterest、Tumblr和Instagram是三大基于图片的互联网平台,这些公司似乎每周都会超越一个新的发展里程碑。最近刚刚上市的Facebook此前拿出10亿美元巨资收购了Instagram,还可能买下Face.com——顾名思义,这是一家提供面部识别软件的公司。同时,虚拟创意板Pinterest的估值一路飙升至15亿美元,轻博客网站Tumblr最近凭借2,350万独立访客打入了康姆斯科(comScore)前50大网站榜单。

    这一切,各大品牌显然都看在眼里。

    营销人员对其他新技术——无论是早期电视广告还是社交媒体——的反应都颇为迟钝,但这次照片类应用的大发展,各大公司倒是早早就加入进来。它们纷纷创设Pinterest启发板、开设Instagram账户,指望用高质量图片吸引顾客的关注,最好还能进一步鼓励他们在线下购买其商品。“为了在网络上打造良好形象,用视觉化的形式讲好故事至关重要,”全食超市(Whole Foods)2011年7月起就开始利用Pinterest,其全球网络社区经理迈克尔•比珀科称:“我认为它使我们得以用海报、旗帜广告和文本讲故事,我们可通过图片分享传达特定信息——传播极为迅捷,瞬间可达。”

    这也符合商业界最基本的规则之一:受众在哪里,我们就跟到哪里。“带摄像头的手机和可联网的移动设备无处不在,使得数码照片的社交分享呈现指数级增长,”红牛数码营销总监奈特•华纳说。“我们看到,不断有网民分享自己拍摄的关于我们主办的活动的照片,或者从我们的网站中复制下来的图片,还有很多人转发红牛社交网络账户上的图片。这种现象的持续增长强化了我们的粉丝对红牛品牌的正面联系。”红牛是最早登陆Instagram的品牌之一,也是该网站最热门的品牌之一,粉丝数量已经超过23万,用户上传了逾8.7万张带有#redbull标签的图片。

    人们或许会说,启动这种相对新颖的品牌与其顾客之间的图片驱动型社交联系乃是Tumblr。各大公司纷纷涌入这一轻博客网站,分享幕后照片,而其粉丝们热忱地转发几千次。每一次转发,都代表某位用户不仅坚定地站在这一品牌背后,而且还认同这些图片所宣扬的美感。比如,在凯特•丝蓓(Kate Spade)品牌的Tumblr账户下,有2,275位用户在一张上世纪50年代沙滩鞋的股东照片后面进行了互动,这些人可以说是集体表达自己的观感:即怀旧风格有助于提升该品牌现在的形象。

    Photos are having a moment. Companies such as Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, the big three image-based platforms on the Internet, seem to be reaching new milestones every week. Facebook bought Instagram for a whopping $1 billion, and the newly public company may be purchasing Face.com, which provides software that recognizes, well, faces. Meanwhile, virtual inspiration board Pinterest's valuation skyrocketed to $1.5 billion and microblogging site Tumblr recently broke into comScore's top 50 web properties with 23.5 million unique visitors.

    Brands have taken notice.

    Unlike the slow uptake by marketers of other new technologies -- from early television advertising to social media -- companies have jumped on this bandwagon quickly. Companies are creating Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts, hoping high-quality images will grab customers' attention and, hopefully, encourage them to buy offline. "Visual storytelling is essential to building a strong online identity," says Michael Bepko, global online community manager of Whole Foods (WFM), which started using Pinterest in July 2011. " I think it allows us to tell a story – through posters, through banners, through text – we can get particular messages across through image sharing...in a very instantaneous way."

    It's also following one of the first rules in business: go to where your audience is. "Ubiquitous camera phones and connected mobile devices has exponentially boosted social sharing of digital images," says Nate Warner, Red Bull's digital marketing director. "We saw a constant stream of people sharing their own images from our events as well as images pulled from [our] properties, or re-sharing images from Red Bull's social media accounts," he continues. "The ongoing growth validates this type of positive connection our fans feel with the brand." Red Bull – one of the first and more popular brands on Instagram -- has more than 230,000 followers and more than 87,000 user-submitted images tagged #redbull on the app.

    One could argue that Tumblr started this relatively recent need for image-driven social connection between brands and their customers. Companies have flocked to the microblogging site to share behind-the-scenes photos that followers are only too eager to reblog thousands of times. With each repost, a user firmly aligns themselves not only with the brand, but the aesthetic being pushed through their curated images. The 2,275 people who interacted with a vintage photo of 50s era beach combers on Kate Spade's Tumblr are collectively saying they get how the bygone look inspires the brand's quirky prep creations today.

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