How Ellen DeGeneres Proved Selfies are Marketing Gold

selfiesIf a picture is worth a thousand words, then is it any wonder that the selfie has all but taken over most social media platforms? Samsung estimates 30 percent of all photos taken by Millennials are selfies. As host of the Academy Awards last year, Ellen DeGeneres set out to prove the real power of this social phenomenon.

She gathered some of the biggest stars in entertainment in front of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and snapped a picture that would be seen by over 37 million people around the world. It was marketing gold for Samsung as that one image is worth close to a billion dollars now.

The real question is how can you incorporate this trend-on-fire into your next project management strategy?

Why a Selfie?

I often ponder this question as my friends and family continue to bombard my Facebook news feed with pictures of themselves getting dressed, going to the gym, eating at restaurants and sitting in traffic. The psychology behind it puzzles me. It probably has to do with building one’s self-esteem and getting those much needed social “attaboys” in the form of likes. From a marketing standpoint, though, it is not that complicated.

Today’s consumer wants marketing that is personal. The selfie aligns with what the current generation of buyers looks for when they communicate. Research shows images that include people’s face get 38 percent more clicks. It is clear that visual elements are what drive customer engagement and the selfie plays into that concept well.

Brands Jumping on the Selfie Bandwagon

Ellen may have harnessed the power of the selfie, but she wasn’t the only one to see its potential. Axe Deodorant ran a selfie campaign designed to coincide with Valentine’s Day. They combined the selfie with a cause by asking people to post their kissing pictures with the hashtag #kissforpeace. The campaign generated big results.

Bloomingdales let fans post selfies that focused on a beauty tip or style. This campaign brought two things to the table.

  • It drove traffic to the company’s social media pages as people were invited to vote on the best tip.
  • It also allowed Bloomindales to see what products their target audience enjoy and what they want to see in stores.

Marketing utilizing the selfie trend will:

  • Provide social proof – It is one thing to say people love a product or brand; it is something else to show it.
  • Shows personalitySelfies are personal and including them says you are a real person, too. That is a difficult connection to make via marketing.
  • Provide a little fun – That is what people want from advertising – to celebrate life with a little humor.

Selfies can be a hot button marketing asset, but use with caution. Too much of a good thing gets old fast. The wrong selfie can hurt the brand more than help it, too. Samsung took a hit when it tried to promote a selfie taken by baseball champion David Ortiz and Obama. The White House called that effort inappropriate. Ouch.

darla fWriter Bio: Darla F is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.


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