Pinterest and the Cultural Divide of Content

Pinterest is sometimes dismissed as the social network for women, but now the platform is making a move to expand globally.

The first step was to offer the platform in Spanish, which happened this month, and soon it plans to expand to French, German, Portuguese and Japanese. It also seems to have its eyes on the Japanese market.

According to Advertising Age, Pinterest signaled its intention to focus on global growth when it revealed its choice of the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten to lead its $100 million funding round last month, saying the investment was the beginning of a strategic partnership “to help [Pinterest] expand in Japan and into Rakuten’s 17 other global markets,” according to a statement.

Any business with a global strategy must grapple with how it will use content on a cultural level. Beyond languages, cultural shifts from country to country can make the process complicated.

For example, with Pinterest, U.S. users like to post home improvement and design inspirations, while the cultural interest in DIY is not as strong in Japan, where renting a home is more common and housing units tend to be much smaller, according to Peter  Moody, managing director of Profero Tokyo.

In Brazil, some think Pinterest will fade into oblivion once the early adopters lose interest. Brazilians are much more likely to use to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where they can keep tabs on what their friends are actually doing as opposed to looking at images that can only broadcast what they like, according to Sergio Valente, president of DDB Brasil.

Just as important as having a local content marketing strategy, once a company is ready to expand globally, the content must match it.

A few brands to take cues from are Red BullCoca-ColaOreo, and Converse. Coincidentally or not, these brands are also among the top brands worldwide on Facebook.

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