Just five of the world’s top 50 brands have claimed their profiles on Pinterest, the latest social platform to claim the hearts and minds of the digerati.

I looked through Interbrand’s list of 100 brands, stopping at the halfway mark, to see whether social media marketers were adopting Pinterest in their droves. On the face of things, they’re not.

Of the 45 brands yet to create official Pinterest accounts - assuming that they do - only one is still available. The rest have been claimed by individuals with a bona fide claim to the username, or have been bagged by brand squatters. 

We’ve been here before of course. Three years ago, when Twitter really started to pick up steam, I questioned why Coca Cola had not yet created a Twitter profile in order to engage fans. At some stage they did exactly that and now have around half a million followers.

Coca Cola, which is the world’s number one brand (the brand alone is valued at more than $71bn), is one of the few big hitters to create a Pinterest profile, along with General Electric, American Express, Accenture and Volkswagen (USA). 

Coca Cola's Pinterest profile

The question then, is when should a brand sign up to a social platform? 

For me, the obvious answer is ‘right at the beginning’, but it is not that simple unless your radar is tuned into all of the new social media sites that are launched, week in, week out. 

Not all of these sites will make it big, but there’s no harm in claiming your brand’s profile. An intern could be tasked with coordinating this sort of thing. It’s free to sign up to these sites, and easy enough to create a kind of holding page. 

So why not do it?

It takes time and somebody needs to ‘own’ it. Sure, it does take a little time, but if you assign somebody to the task of claiming your social profiles then it becomes an ongoing admin function, and something that can be done in batch. 

You need a goddamned invitation code. Yes, many new social sites require codes but hey, your brand is worth billions. Have a word...

You don’t know what you’re getting into. One look at Pinterest’s somewhat dubious terms and conditions may send you running to the hills. The great lie in internetland is that we actually read the T&Cs before agreeing to them, though brands need to be a little bit more careful in this regard.

You own the trademark and can force the issue. Ah, but sometimes individuals have a genuine claim. Take Tiffany Ford, who owns the /ford account on Pinterest. Is it fair that she steps aside if the automotive giant leans on the company? I think not. Yet something along the lines of /fordofficial doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Ultimately there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when you should set up new social profiles. You need to do what’s right for your brand. I just think that it’s easy enough to do this, and it represents a very small ongoing housekeeping chore for the major brands (which are worth billions and have the resources and people in place to deal with this kind of thing). 

Starting out with Pinterest

If you’re new to Pinterest, and how it might help you to boost social sharing and engagement, then check out Michael Litman’s slideshow, which covers the basics and will help you to figure things out.

What do you think? Do leave a comment below...
Chris Lake

Published 22 February, 2012 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (6)

Save or Cancel
Paul Gailey

Paul Gailey, Marketing Consultant at Independent

An agency serving a Global Interbrand company would be best placed to advise and police this for the likes of Coca-Cola and their ilk.

So the question is why have 95% of agencies serving big brands failed?

Even relying on services like knowem.com, checkusernames.com, and usernamez.com is not a guarantee. None of those 3 list Pinterest.

Maybe this goes back to the other recent post here about "who owns social"?

over 6 years ago


Eric Wittlake

Yes, this is definitely a big issue. I posted a list of 20 examples of B2B marketers that have lost their brand names already on Pinterest yesterday here: http://b2bdigital.net/2012/02/21/b2b-marketers-pinterest/

I like your advice to simply claim your profiles as an administrative function, creating a very simple presence with links or callouts back to primary locations. By breaking it out of social media management and making it an ongoing operational item it is far more likely to get done.

over 6 years ago


John Abbott

Crcuially, if u realise that 'copyright' law has NOT really moved with the times and cannot seriously hope to because of the speed of change required, then you can easily imagine the issues concerned.

As far as the Brands upon Pinterest, they need to definitely wonder what their agencies responsible for social media are up to ? Chances are that these agencies ONLY concentrate on 'core business' first and everything else second, hence a bit of a problem with internet and social media sites going up on the web all the time, every hour, every day and every week. Way too complex for 'corporate' agencies to cope with in terms of planning.

Innovation may be key to business strategies but the web will be way ahead of this i suspect ?

I am sure that Pinterest will grow and grow and others will pop up all the time, the complexity of the web is so rapid that it presents a very serious challenge to traditional business and the media and more importantly the Law.

over 6 years ago


Michael Litman, Co-Founder at In 6 Seconds Ltd

Thanks for including the presentation Chris. I'm glad you found it useful. I set out to include as much information as I could get my hands on but I've still been blown away with the reach it's had!


over 6 years ago


Andrew Burnett

It's clear to see that traditional agencies, and indeed, traditional agency client relationships fail hard in such circumstances.

In today's age it is simply not tenable to research channels prior to securing branded user profiles. It is imperative for agencies who are serious about social media to:

a) Have passionate social media users at the helm, not only, but also, at the coalface.

b) Have relationships and procedures with their clients which allow them to act swiftly enough on the client's behalf.

Alternatively, of course, brands of such magnitude could consider having internal resource. Though it is a fallacy, that has been seen too often, to think that such a task could / should be given to an intern.

over 6 years ago


Hemendra Kumar Saini

When any new social networking site roll out, there are only few people make hush and hull and the hop the generic names in order when site gets popular they are the one who will get the most of the followers. though it is not a laziness from companies as well as people. because company thinks this is another small wave which will soon pass away and people think they will be celeb once this small tide become a tsunami.

almost 6 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.