‘Instagrammable’ companies replace word-of-mouth advertising idea
Bakeries bet on engaged customers, with stores and products created with a focus on the social network
Businesses have bet on hyperdecorated environments to attract the public and gain strength on social networks. Environments with neon lights and candies covered in layers of cream are an invitation to photos, and it is this type of experience that part of the clientele seeks.
When it engages in the “Instagrammable” logic, the brand benefits from the publicity made by customers and has the chance to expand its consumer base. But investing in decoration is not enough to take off, experts say.
In the PikurruchA’S store in Perdizes, in the west of São Paulo, the color pink is present on the facade and even on the coffee capsules. The bakery invested more than R$160,000 to line a wall with 70,000 artificial flowers. On another wall are 200 teddy bears.
The owners, Ana Duarte, 36, and Alexandre Silva, 38, say they invested R$ 1.6 million in this PikurruchA’S unit, inaugurated this year and considered the most “Instagrammable” of the company. Conceived amid the success of gourmet brigaderias, the business was created in 2013, initially as a Facebook profile, but soon gained physical space.
The first store, also in Perdizes, grew and migrated to this new space. And there are two other addresses, in Tatuapé (east zone) and in São Bernardo do Campo (ABC), open in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The company currently has a total of 113 employees and a turnover of R$ 15 million per year.
The couple says they invested R$ 115,000 in the first store and that, from the beginning, the decoration is one of the priorities. “When we opened, customers, before eating, took a picture of the candy, posted it on Facebook and marked the location. So someone always appeared saying they had seen a friend’s post”, says Ana, who is known as Ana Piku.
Word-of-mouth marketing has been transformed with social networks and expanded the reach of brands, says Gabriel Rossi, a professor at ESPM and a researcher on consumer behavior. “Today, instead of recommending [um produto] for three neighbors, I have a lot of Instagram followers who often trust my reputation, my nomination. And so I strengthen the brand”, says Rossi.
The PikurruchA’S profile now has 365,000 followers on Instagram, and Ana claims that she manages the networks herself.
Worldwide, more than 200 million businesses use Instagram to reach consumers, according to a survey by the platform. But it is the restaurants that have the greatest chance of success, as they sell more affordable products, says Fabiana Horta, trends analyst at consultancy Na Mesa.
“People who want to ‘take a wave’ on Instagram are going to aim for the luxury experience, and the food handles that very well. It’s ok to pay R$40 for a hamburger or a nice piece of pie once in a lifetime, it’s an experience that a lot of people can afford. Unlike a trip to the Caribbean, for example,” says Horta.
Being “Instagrammable”, however, is only part of building a brand. There is no point in investing in this type of engagement without good quality products and attention to service, says Regina Monge, a specialist in neurobranding, an area that studies consumer behavior.
“It’s a mistake that has happened a lot, the entrepreneur thinks it’s enough to be a beautiful, cute, colorful place. Another point, and this is the secret, is to think about how to differentiate yourself from the competition.”
It is also necessary to have a well-defined concept and target audience. And Instagram shouldn’t be the only channel of interaction. “It is important to follow the website, the call center, the reservation system”, says Horta.
Specializing in donuts and with eight multicolored stores in the capital and Greater São Paulo, O Tradicionalíssimo also bets on creating “Instagrammable” environments, in addition to investing in communication.
With 395 thousand followers on Instagram and 10 thousand on TikTok, the company partners with micro-influencers and entertainment pages such as Sampa Dicas and Turistando SP. “We spend around R$6,000 a month [com publicidade]”, says Cauê Maturano, 26, one of the owners of the chain.
In addition to the stores, O Tradicionalíssimo has a central kitchen and produces an average of 150,000 donuts a month. The business, which opened in 2019, now earns BRL 15 million a year and has 150 employees.
Alexandre Spínola, partner and strategy director at 4Influence, a brand reputation and performance agency, recommends investing in micro-influencers for small and medium-sized companies. “It is a strategy that expands the reach [da marca] and encourages engagement [nas redes sociais].”
Opened in 2020 in Tatuapé, PP Sucré presents itself as “the most instagrammable bakery in SP” and has 26,000 followers on the social network. “People are after ‘post’. The idea is for the customer to come in and take a picture of everything, the window, the plate, the coffee. Everything is instagrammable”, says Paula Pavoni, owner of the business, which has ten employees.
Among the strategies to give visibility, she highlights hiring influencers and investing in sponsored posts on Instagram.