Do Selfies Contribute to More Brand Social Engagement?
By: Ari A. Okonofua
How many photographs of yourself are on your phone right now? Selfies have taken over and they are here to stay – but, how did this trend come about? I too am victim of the selfie craze and find myself posing with my Starbucks coffee, or showing off a new Nike workout top, or a new pair of sunglasses and sharing it with my followers on Instagram and Facebook. I always make sure the angle is right and lighting is perfect before striking a pose. I study each selfie taken and delete those that do not make the cut to be posted online due to the way I smiled, the way the lighting made my makeup look or if a piece of my hair was sticking up. In considering all these factors before and after taking the photograph, I never realized that I am simultaneously promoting the brands I support and am doing so in such an authentic way, as I am not getting paid nor am I a brand ambassador. There are no disclosure contracts to be signed or brand representatives providing direction on what caption to include, but simply me showing my friends and followers the brands that I support and purchase from.
So the true question lies, how are brands leveraging this global phenomenon to promote their product(s)? This capstone project reviews what a selfie is, the science behind a selfie, the history of the selfie in regard to self-portraits and the value behind selfies for brands. There is also an evaluation based on insights informed by a group of individuals surveyed regarding whether or not they engage in selfies and how open they are to promoting a brand when doing so.
The objective of this paper is to explore the value that selfies have in regard to Public Relations for brands. Is selfie-engagement an effective way to reach consumers? Will contests or commercials featuring the selfies of others resonate with consumers? This paper will evaluate if the selfie-narrative works in addition to its benefits and cons.