We Could All Do With a Bit More Inspiration

Pinterest CMO, Andrea Mallard, took the biggest IMAX stage at Advertising Week to talk about why brands need to think about designing for inspiration, not interruption.  

She started the session boldly, stating that, “companies don’t have values, people do.”  And, while this is accurate, it’s not always the case. If you were asked to name your company’s values, there is a great chance you could.  But could you come up with your own? Many people wouldn’t be able to.  

Andrea found a company that matched her values when she came to Pinterest.  The platform that is known by 91% of people to be a ‘positive place,’ focuses its efforts on allowing advertisements that enhance the consumer experience, rather than interrupt it.  She noted that for a brand to ‘stand out’ on Pinterest, they need to ‘really fit in.’ When a consumer is looking for something very specific, you want your brand to be there to offer something that meets that need.  

Pinterest’s goal is to get you off the platform and engaging with real life as quickly as possible.  Their whole goal is to help people ‘lead better lives in the real world.’

At this point, Andrea invited Yale professor, Dr. Laurie Santos up on stage to talk a bit more about inspiration, values and what makes consumers happy – something all brands and companies should be thinking about.  Santos teaches Yale’s most popular course, “Psychology and the Good Life” and therefore was able to provide some excellent insight from outside the industry (something you don’t get a lot of during this chaotic week).

Values and happiness tend to be correlated in part because happiness comes from finding a life with meaning and having jobs where we’re living in tune with our values can help with that, Santos noted. People who have jobs that let them express their character strengths feel like they have more meaning – they feel like their job is actually a calling.  That said, it’s not about which job you’re doing, it’s about infusing your job with your values that’s important. 

When it comes to happiness, however, our instinct is to do things that don’t make us happy – though we think they will (for instance, scrolling endlessly through social media).  The more brands can do to nudge consumers in the direction of things that will make people happy, the better. Brands can get people to appreciate more and to savor more – that is what is important and will actually result in happiness.

It seems like each day we hear about how the more people spend on their devices, the less happy they will be.  Devices are actively, negatively impacting our ‘in life’ communications. That said, brands often are finding ways to keep people on their devices, rather than thinking about ways they can use their role to get people back out there in the world.  We need to bring the eyeballs back in the real world and all brands should be thinking about how they can make this happen.

This session was certainly a nice inspirational break and breathed a bit of life back into the cold movie theater. 

It left us with the question of what we can do to make sure the innovations we bring to clients are adding value and happiness to our consumer’s lives.  It’s something we like to think we already do, but everyone can do better and we’ll definitely be thinking of things through this lens moving forward.