Brands create Instagram strategy

26 May 2014

NEW YORK: Patagonia, Hollister and Warby Parker are among the brands making effective use of Instagram to engage consumers, according to a leading executive from the social media platform.

Jim Squires, Instagram's director/market operations, discussed how marketers are leveraging its service – both organically and with paid-for ads – during the Advertising Age Digital Conference 2014.

(For more, including how ads from Levi's and Ben & Jerry's performed on Instagram, read Warc's exclusive report: How brands can succeed on Instagram.)

Outdoor apparel and equipment specialist Patagonia was one of several companies he drew attention to, praising it for focusing on a way of life, rather than simply uploading images of products.

"They highlight, through Instagram, the outdoor lifestyle that their products enable. I don't think I've ever seen an actual product shot inside of the photography that they do," said Squires.

"They also have brand ambassadors that are out surfing, and enjoying the outdoor lifestyle, that represent Patagonia."

Hollister, the premium fashion line, has similarly avoided the obvious, and instead encapsulated an aspirational appeal with its visuals.

"They are capturing moments," said Squires. "The way they've captured these moments feels right inside of the Instagram community, and is true to the Hollister brand."

Elsewhere, Warby Parker, the online eyewear retailer, has succeeded by playing into photographic techniques that are already popular on Instagram, such as the "thingsorganisedneatly" hashtag.

This structured form of composition, where related items are arranged in a striking and stylised way, works "really well in the retail setting", according to Squires.

Whether it is GoPro, which makes durable and high-definition cameras frequently used in action sports, or Burberry, the high-end fashion label, authenticity is the key.

"Both of these are, again, communicating through imagery, but it's true to the brand. I've seen brands try to do gimmicky stuff, and it just doesn't work," Squires continued.

"You want to go back to the basics of great brand advertising, and do something that will fit with the community."

Data sourced from Warc