Is your brand "Instagrammy"?

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my brother and his wife who both work at Facebook. They were going to be in town in NYC visiting and I suggested we check out the vegan restaurant By Chloe and described it as the new “Instagrammy” place. My brother laughed because he had never heard someone use the term “Instagrammy” before. From a marketing perspective, this is the age of visual content, and “Instagrammy” just may become part of a marketer’s lexicon.

With 400 million active users, Facebook’s Instagram is a dominant marketing channel for brands. It’s often used for discovery where you follow not only your friends but celebrities, brands, influencers, etc. I love it because it’s where I stumble upon different places to go, trending exhibits, new products and brands. It’s a source of inspiration in addition to self-expression. It can drive engagement with consumers as well as conversion to purchase. Since it’s purely visual content, Instagram lends itself well to businesses in food, fashion and retail, beauty, and travel, to name a few.

From restaurant concepts to beauty products to fashion brands, every product/brand/business owner must take into consideration how well these things will photograph and the visual appeal of the brand/product when using Instagram. If you have a brand or product line that you are trying to sell or market, focusing on the “Instagrammy-ness” of that brand or product early on in the design process can help dictate its success.

Thinking about how a brand/product translates visually needs to be taken into consideration as early in the creation process as possible. Recently, when advising someone starting their own product line I told them that they should redo and rethink their packaging to make sure that it would Instagram well. In their space, it really could make or break the virality and sharing aspect of their product on Instagram. For retail spaces, will the interior look great on Instagram? Is there something about the logo or branding that will help it stand out? For product lines, is it clean and minimal? Is it eye-catching and bold? What is the brand story you are trying to tell through the images? Bottomline: will it look great on Instagram? In this day and age of visual content consumption it’s important to consider the visual impact as a marketer, brand owner, and product developer in the development process.

If you want be “Instagrammy”, here are some thoughts to get started:

Is your brand a good fit for Instagram?

Basic question, I know, but just because you want to be on Instagram doesn’t mean it’s the best channel for you. Now that Instagram has offered ads on their platform, I get ads for things like accounting services, insurance, and other companies that I personally don’t think make sense for Instagram. While Instagram is the hot channel that everyone is going after in terms of building out a handle in addition to advertising, it won’t work well for certain types of businesses. You should ask yourself if your business and brand would make a good fit for the visual nature of Instagram because it’s a lot of work to put out the right content on a regular basis and it might not be the best channel for your business.

Do you have great branding or packaging that can show off the design via photography?

As mentioned before, packaging matters as does branding. If during the package design phase, you start thinking about how things will Instagram and come up with a design that will photograph well, you will have a leg up on your social content strategy. How it looks visually will definitely impact the point below about whether you can get people sharing and talking about your brand on Instagram. You need great design.

Can you get other people talking about your brand? 

The other important aspect of being “Instagrammy” is whether other people are talking about you. They will talk about you if your brand/product/service offers special value, solves a problem in a unique way, builds loyalty and engagement, or is just so beautiful they have to take a picture and upload to Instagram. Can you get other influencers to engage with your brand and Instagram it? Can you get your customers/consumers to love your brand and Instagram it?

Here are some brands that do it really well:

Saturday fuel ☕️☕️. If you need us, we'll be here all day. 📷 by @laurenladnier

A photo posted by Teen Vogue (@teenvogue) on

Ralph's Coffee Shop

"ily #glossier u make my skin glow like a pregnant lady 💕💕💕” @elliekatexo 😘

A photo posted by Glossier. (@glossier) on


I woke up like this 💁 #baublebar

A photo posted by baublebar (@baublebar) on