Pinterest has attracted some incredible Australian talent – including sales director Lottie Laws – as part of its expansion in the ANZ market.
Laws (pictured) treated B&T to a chat about Pinterest’s ANZ goals, and about their work to keep Pinterest a positive space as the internet’s “last positive corner”.
Laws is one of a number of hires Pinterest has made to fulfil its mission: creating a more inspired internet. She joined the company after spearheading products and sales teams at both Twitter and Apple,and has led the Pinterest team by businesses in retail, eCommerce, tech, telco, financial services and government to increase their brand awareness and drive sales conversions.
She spoke to B&T about Pinterest’s ANZ growth, pointing to the fact that the ANZ team has almost tripled this year.
“By growing the team with local talent on the ground, we have been better able to serve advertisers and help them effectively engage with audiences on Pinterest,” said Laws.
“When you think about it, Pinterest is a young ads business and we still have so much room to grow in the region. We’re going after a competitive advertising market in Australia with a unique and valuable differentiation for advertisers. I don’t believe any other platform can offer an end to end inspirational browsing and shopping experience quite like we can.”
“We want to be the best place to discover the world’s most inspiring people and best ideas, and use them to take action in their real world.”
As well as her incredible sales leadership, Laws is also a firm believer in leading in another area: inclusivity, particularly the importance of lifting up women.
Her passion in this area led to her judging B&T‘s 2021 Women in Media awards.
“Too few opportunities present themselves to celebrate remarkable women, at all different stages of their careers,” explained Laws.
“A few years or maybe decades into work, we’re surrounded by incredible female talent within the media industry. Whilst jumping at the chance to be a part of their recognition, I also acknowledge this is a small impact on what remains the greater challenge, which is that the gender pay gap still exists and women in leadership positions in our industry are still too sparse.”
For Laws, inclusivity must be at the centre of how our industries move forward.
“In general, I will orient my career around ways that I can make an impact around representation to close these gaps,” she continued. “Not only for women but also other under-represented groups of people.”
Pinterest, she believes, is an important tool in this space. It is a platform equally able to cater to users as it is to brands and marketers, and it prides itself as a space for discovery. Many of it’s recent innovations have revolved around making a rare online space that is increasingly positive.
For Laws, what makes Pinterest unique is the result of the intent with which people use the platform.
“People come to Pinterest as a positive space for themselves to get ideas and take action, versus going to a place to solely be entertained, make 1:1 connections, or get their news fix,” she explained.
“Pinterest’s unique offering for brands also circles around the intent behind why people come to the service, which makes it similar to an online catalog or virtual shopping mall of sorts. On Pinterest, brands simply don’t need to compete with photos of friends or other types of non-commercial content. People are on Pinterest to explore, plan and many times shop, and we can take someone from an idea to purchase more efficiently than social networks.”
For brands and consumers, Pinterest’s policies have set them apart from other platforms. It is dedicated to maintaining a safe, inspiring, and relevant space. With Community Guidelines prohibiting harmful, hateful, violent, false or misleading, explicit, and antagonistic content, Pinterest is dedicated to ensuring that nothing comes in the way of hindering its users’ imaginations.
One policy change that has garnered significant applause is the platform’s ban on weight loss and dietary ads and images. By banning them, Pinterest is helping to create a space where people can just be authentic, and express themselves without feeling as though they must change their appearance.
These important steps are also essential for advertisers, too. Consumers are increasingly putting sustainability, diversity and ethics at the heart of the platforms they use and the brands they buy from. Hosting content on Pinterest allows advertisers to embrace that positive message in a way that genuinely speaks to audiences.
Laws told B&T, “it’s so important to us that we create a positive and inclusive environment for the online community. We often call ourselves ‘the last positive corner of the internet’. By this, we mean we want to remain a place that users feel safe, positive, inspired, and that they can be their authentic selves.”
“The changes and enhancements we make to our product are very deliberately building on this. For example, in addition to our new policy to ban ads that encourage weight loss through imagery or copy, we also launched ‘hair pattern search’, which is a feature that enables Pinterest users to search ideas for hair styling that better reflect themselves. And ongoing, we feature a wide range of creators in our editorial spaces like the Today tab.”
“These types of innovations mark big leaps forward for inclusivity in Tech, and keep us close to our mission of helping our users be inspired to create a life they love.”
Pinterest’s research shows that ads that were placed in a positive environment online drove impact at every stage of the purchase funnel. In contrast, negative environments impacted people’s memory and trust of brands, and left them less likely to purchase from brands.
It is essential, therefore, the advertisers know the importance of placing themselves in positive online environments. It helps to create a positive relationship with potential customers, something Laws believes is incredible important.
Consumers also expect brands to be conscious in their advertising, with two in three adults agreeing it is a brands responsibility to advertise in safe, positive places and avoid negative content.
Laws’ sales experience has given her a deep understanding of why brands and Pinterest have such a powerful alignment.
“Pinterest has always been a place for inspiration where brands can reach audiences who want to take action on their personal projects, and where marketers can reach them at just the right time when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. Unlike traditional Search, not many Pinterest users come to the platform search for specific brands,” she said.
“In fact, almost all searches on Pinterest are unbranded, which means people don’t usually type in the name of a brand when they are searching for an idea. Brands of all sizes therefore have an equal opportunity to influence millions of consumers at the start of their journey of discovery, right through to purchase — be it when they’re on the hunt for makeup tips, grooming products, home decor or recipe inspiration.”
One great place where brands can start, according to Laws, is ingesting their product catalog for free. Doing this means their brand is both discoverable and shoppable for any users coming to Pinterest. When users look for ideas, they discover products related to their interests via Pinterest’s search and recommendation tech.
“Brands can further promote their products through ads that will appear in shopping surfaces across Pinterest,” she continued.
“And, because Pinterest is grounded in the future, we get an earlier indication of where consumers are headed, and can help brands and agencies predict what is to come for their category.
As a result, Pinterest’s focus on inclusion, safety and ultimately positivity, is something unique in the internet landscape. For both advertisers and for consumers, having those spaces online to imagine creates an environment for powerful discovery. For more information check out https://business.pinterest.com/en-gb/
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