Keep It 100: Pros and Cons of Instagram for Brand Identity

Keep it 100: The Pros and Cons of Instagram for Brand Identity 

By Katie Henry, Director of Marketing at chinese laundry

Instagram is all about exploration and curation — yay for being different and finding cool, new stuff. Thanks to Instagram, millennials are engaging with new brands their parents and grandparents have never even heard of. It's visual, it's fun, but does it help or hurt a brands identity?


Let's break it down the pros and cons:



  • New fans and followers are finding your brand at an alarming rate. YAY!
  • You can quickly jump on a trend, talk to your audience or even launch a contest or giveaway in minutes. No more waiting, instant gratification is a drug we’ve become addicted to.
  • For fashion, makeup, fitness and food brands and influencers Instagram can boost your business exponentially. If you're in software sales, no so much, probably not the platform where you’ll see huge lifts in brand awareness.



  • It's fake. FAKE. Super fake. The fakest, but everyone knows this. If you can't beat them, join them.
  • It's impossible to keep up with your competitors. Even when you’re on the top of your game and killing, ahem Revolve, trying to keep pace with the rate of platform updates and fan comments while creating new content can be all consuming task.
  • We live and die by the last post. Did it work? Why didn't anyone comment? Are we trying too hard? Are we not trying hard enough? Someone tell me the secret to success. Here’s the secret: NO ONE KNOWS!
  • New fans and followers are finding your brand at an alarming rate. But are they the right audience? Do I care about them? Do they like me for the right reasons? Is posting on Instagram just as hard as dating! Yes.


The takeaway? Relax. As brand experts and marketers we’re obsessed with getting it right. Is this the right crop, the wittiest caption, the perfect hashtag? It’s not always going to be perfect, and that’s when social and Instagram really hits the sweet spot. Be human, be real, stop trying for perfection because if you really look through your social channels, I’ll bet you’ll be shocked to see that some of the most “basic” images get the most likes, comments, and shares. Our audience is okay with us being human. They’re still going to follow us if there’s only one hashtag not 11. They’re still going to love our voice and product if we only post once today. So let’s all take a breath, keep making great content and stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians — unless it’s Kendall, everybody loves Kendall.


My team and I have made huge strides over the past year across our social platforms, but we’re not losing sleep over posts that don’t perform. We have to keep it in perspective. Instagram is often our favorite topic of discussion around the office, “OMG, did you see Gigi’s dress last night?” or while cruising through the gram throughout the day you might hear someone shreik, “You guys, Hunt for Styles got engaged!" But when it comes to our own brand we have 3 simple rules for posts: it needs to be authentic, it needs to stay positive and it must deliver on what our brand stands for.


Chinese Laundry rebranded in the Spring, we have a new look, a new voice and a new identity. The marketing team took the rebrand as a challenge and opportunity to introduce ourselves to new customers. To keep ourselves on track we developed 5 core brand filters to abide by across all social platforms. We try to make all of our posts: fun, confident, feminine, expressive and accessible. If it doesn’t pass through the filters, we don’t post it. It keeps us on brand, conversational and consistent. Our identity is also highly visual — shoes are pretty! We want our fans and followers to be able to spot a Chinese Laundry image, it’s taken some time but we’ve honed in on what resonates with our audience. They LOVE pink. They love California. They love ice cream. Srsly, all our ice cream posts do really well. We have hits and misses but we started to also spots some micro trends within our own community. When we posted images in front of installation walls, they sparked a ton of engagement. It inspired us. This Spring we commissioned @itsaliving to create a mural on the side of our LA Headquarters that brought our brand identity to life, a colorful, feminine, fun interpretation of California. The wall itself is on brand, showcases our identity and ties a real-life activation back to our digital profile.

To bring it all back to what we started: identity. We live and breath it. The marketing and social teams are the brand ambassadors when it comes to bringing the brand’s identity to life. It’s ever changing and evolving but constantly strive to KEEP IT FUN, KEEP IT LIGHT, KEEP IT 100.