People come to Instagram to explore their passions, from food and entertainment, fashion, cars and travel. This makes it the perfect platform for brands to form an emotional connection with your audience.

Founded in 2010, Instagram now has 400 million active users, all enjoying its singular focus on captivating imagery. More than 75% of Instagrammers are now outside the US and thousands of businesses around the world are using Instagram as their shop window. Some 80 million images are posted every day – imagine how many of those are aimed at foodies? The food business is about discovery and there are some exciting opportunities for Kiwi chefs and restaurateurs to reach new audiences, through organic or paid for campaigns.

Marketers of any size can now run campaigns on Instagram. Visual creativity has always been the currency on Instagram and high-quality content will differentiate brands, from established high street retailers to emerging designers.

Let's first understand how Instagrammers behave. They tend to be curious, aesthetically aware and see the world through a highly visual lens.

Research shows they check their feed multiple times a day to be inspired by moments captured not just by friends but also a like-minded community. Similarly, the most successful brands on the platform share images that tell a story, create an emotional connection and don’t look out of place in a user's highly curated photo feed.

That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank on a big-budget photo shoot or production - many Kiwi designers and emerging labels are already high quality Instagram content through the app. We have identified three key creative principles that have enabled brands to effectively engage with Instagram users.

Identify your brand’s unique point of view that you want to share with the Instagram community. It’s key that there is branding present in images for paid media to ensure brand linkage. This may be a logo, an iconic brand element, or a brand colour.

Consistency is key. If users can visit your account and quickly understand your brand’s message, then they will be more likely to follow you and engage with your content.

Ideas are essential - to say something about your brand you need a clear message. This can come to life through a storyline, a specific visual treatment, or a theme that carries through your campaign. It can be conceptual, or it can be executional.

Campaigns must be well-crafted to inspire the Instagram community. This does not always mean expensive but it does need to inspire through whatever means are right for your brand’s idea. Think how to use new and interesting features like landscape photos and short video ads, which can be up to 30 seconds long. Consider these points when selecting images.
• Strong Focal Point
The image truly is the centrepiece. Avoid using imagery that is a busy or complex composition. As a best practice one of the focal points should include a branded element.
• Framing & Balance
Subtle details such as the rule-ofthirds, straightening, and symmetry make a big difference in the overall polish of an image and affect the tone of your shot.

• Lighting & Detail
Experiment with the different filters and sharpening tools to create an image that will stand out on a high resolution mobile screen.

One Brand’s Experience - Philadelphia
Instagram ads only launched in New Zealand in September but we can gauge their impact from the experience of Australian brands like Philadelphia which used the platform to connect with a community who appreciate beautiful photography and are looking for new ways to present their food for friends.

Philadelphia developed a suite of tactile Instagram images that featured the cream cheese shaped into fun, summer-themed artworks, like a pair of sunglasses and a cricket set.

The product messaging of the three different flavours were integrated with the emotion and energy of entertaining, driving an increase in purchase intent and, as part of the brand’s overall media mix, an uplift in sales.
To learn more about using Instagram and what other food businesses are doing, go to

Spencer Bailey, Head of Facebook and Instagram New Zealand