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Writer: Gunjan Verma - Thursday, May 01,2014 9:24 AM

Selfies: a new tool for marketing!

For a generation that wants conversations happening in real time, the tools of communication have to deliver more and more each day. Just when social media was reigning over the media mix of brands, a new tool emerged to cater to this ‘self-obsessed’ generation –selfie! It has set the generation roll out its stories and also opens a gateway to many marketing opportunities for brands. Top marketers talk about the new app of self-obsession – Selfie at the Businessworld Marketing Whitebook 2014 in Gurgaon.

“There are 90 million people in India who possess mobile phones and 75 per cent of these use smartphones; only 60 per cent of them have a front camera, so the number of selfies that can be generated is 4 crores. One does not need to reach this generation; they share, generate conversation theselves,” said VineetTaneja, Country Head, Samsung India discussing the slang that originally belongs to Australia.

Selfies are a not always up to the standards of a ‘perfect picture’ but have gained immense popularity as they are instant, real time and real, and which aptly define the Selfie Generation. In 2012, Time magazine considered Selfie as one of the ‘top buzzwords’ of that year.

But why is Selfie a big phenomenon?

“Could a selfie be equal to narcissism or is it just about loving yourself? The fact that people who use selfies are self-indulgent and self-obsessed is not true; it is about discovering yourself. This generation seeks endorsement or a kind of validation and which is why selfies are happening,” said Anisha Motwani, CMO, Max Life Insurance.As endorsements and opinions are becoming important, brands can use selfies to generate conversations with its target consumers keeping in mind the two kinds of selfies - good selfie – the one that generates comments and likes and a bad selfie that does not generate any comments.

But what next? Is there something in the Selfie-zone that can generate more number of endorsements?

Alok Bharadwaj, CEO, Canon India answers, “Now there is a new twin to Selfie – Elsie. Elsie is to generate conversation on a picture of someone or something else. Take a picture of anything that interests you and start a new discussion.” This kind is helpful for brands because it can see reactions to launches and various products and services in real time. Selfies can play a major role in shaping futures for beauty, fashion and personal care categories. Crowd-sourced fashion is something that is already extensively explored by fashion brands.

Are brands doing enough to make use of selfies?

The art of storytelling is becoming a part of the conversations encouraged by this generation of selfies. But the fact is that selfies are still an announcement tool; though they have more potential than that for brands to explore. Few recent examples are: Philips #StyleTurf contest with MTV India was launched to find India’s most stylish couple. The marketing communication was designed to promote Philips’ grooming range. Another example is that of Vodafone, which will run the Vodafone Fan Selfie contest for the domestic T 20 tournament where interesting selfies will get a chance to be flashed at screens at the stadium.

Though selfies are sought as an interesting new tool for brands to connect to its consumers, the question is how well they can make use of it.
 

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