How four brands have realised the potential of Instagram

Instagram is a battleground for brands. Success requires innovation to show audiences who you are in new, creative ways. We compiled a list of some of our favourites in a year where the lockdown has ensured only the most resourceful succeed.

Be sure to check out our favourites from last year too!

National Geographic draw you closer than ever

As a visual medium, Instagram is the perfect home for National Geographic, and the slew of stunning nature and wildlife photography they produce. But where the magazine makes a somewhat unexpected impression is in the creative and innovative use of the stories feature.

The impermanence of the story feature allows for a slightly more casual tone that occasionally borders on the improvisational. It’s an opportunity to reveal a more human side of the brand and take viewers through a journey that feels a little exclusive.

This is achieved through behind the scenes peeks of shoots, interviews with fascinating talent, (like free solo rock climbers) and a wealth of content designed for user engagement, like quizzes.

Takeaway: stories can provide an intimate, ephemeral snapshot. Use them to show another side of your brand personality.

Ben Shewry gets romantic with Hamish Blake

If the beauty of Instagram lies in its ability to engage, then Australia’s top chef’s live cooking classes are probably the pinnacle.

The world renowned, Attica head-chef Ben Shewry provided his followers with a list of required ingredients and some preparation instructions then hosted a live cooking class. Among his students, was comedian Hamish Blake, who joined the live broadcast and followed along in typically jocular style.

The pair put together a romantic a two-course meal of prawn spaghetti and chocolate mousse.

The project was a perfect solution to self-isolation blues, and an opportunity to bring Shewry’s fine dining style into the average kitchen.

Takeaway: have fun with it. The live feature creates a sense of immediacy that very few other mediums can offer. Use it to create a sense of occasion.

Google Maps celebrates beauty

Google Maps are great for helping us get around but are not a service one would associate with beautiful photography or a carefully curated feed. Yet the page is littered with incredible photos. The story feature shares curated user-submitted shots of locations that share the tag: #OnGoogleMaps.

Followers can swipe up to save the locations in their personal Google Maps account.

And while COVID-19 is restricting travel, the page invites users to be ‘virtual explorers’ and enjoy 3D street view glimpses of stunning locations around the world.

While the images don’t necessarily feature the use of Google Maps’ maps, they celebrate their potential and inspire users – which is just as powerful.

Takeaway: This page’s success is a testament to the potential that all brands have to curate an outstanding feed. You don’t need photogenic products, or a charming face associated with your brand to create good content. Sometimes it just requires some creative thinking to adapt to the circumstances.

NGV recreates the classics

Life imitates art, right?

When Tony Ellwood came on as Director of the NGV he did so with the intention of broadening its appeal – celebrating art as an inclusive space, rather than something elite and high-brow. His commitment to this approach quickly made NGV the most visited gallery in Australia.

NGV’s Instagram upholds these values. Their #NGVEveryDay competition is a prime example, with the gallery asking users to recreate work from the NGV collection from the depths of a lockdown. The resulting posts garnered more likes than the vast majority of existing posts and proves that even the most dignified cultural institutions shouldn’t have to take themselves too seriously.

Takeaway: The NGV is home to some of the world’s most iconic pieces of art. Their Instagram should practically run itself. But its producers have used it to subvert expectations and have a little fun with their fans in the process. Get creative!

Finally, we couldn’t celebrate innovative uses of Instagram without giving a shoutout to our resident Pooch’s account. Give Culture Manager Louis a follow for cutting edge industry insight and for news pertaining to us and our clients.


‘Sport is back’ – Final word from our Culture Manager

Footy is back and I for one am excited for the return of sport to our TV screens.

Not because my team (Carlton) is struggling, they lost once again albeit with much more pride – so there’s hope.

No, my tail is wagging because every small return of our previous existence is good for the soul.

Also, I’ve now completed Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, SBS On Demand, iView and Foxtel (my parents don’t know I subscribed to a couple of those so I hope they’re not reading this). So admittedly, I’m a little bored.

I’ve always been the outdoors type.

My sporting endeavours include:

1. Ball games – in particular fetch. Fetch ball, drop at feet, head off again (before ball is even in the air). Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
2. Chasing skateboarders.
3. Sniffing out possums.
4. Marking is a great passion. Marking as many trees and poles as possible so people know I’ve been there.

That none of these sports have been included in the Olympics speaks more to thinking at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), than the lack of interest in the wider population. The ins and outs of the IOC may be left for another time…

What is true….

Sport is unscripted drama; it provokes emotional reactions in us unmatched by anything else.

So, what can be done?  Even though personally I am a strong advocate for live participation.  We can help doing our bit for professional sport in the absence of buying tickets and filling stadiums; simply by turning your televisions on and watching.

Sports teams need TV revenue now more than ever, TV channels need eyeballs to attract advertisers and the economy benefits overall when this mutual relationship is a healthy one. The advertising industry is set to decline 8.3% in Australia in 2020, this is a statistic that should worry us all!

So, until I next get back out on an oval, I’ll chase my tail in the lounge room and bark madly when Carlton next scores a goal!