It’s one of the more recent additions to the Oxford Dictionary and has caused quite a stir since its official inauguration a couple of years back. What am I talking about? The selfie! From Ellen Degeneres’ infamous Oscar selfie right through to David Cameron and even the Pope, everyone seems to be getting involved in the craze. Many consider the selfie the epitome of self- obsession, vanity and narcissism, so imagine the industry and wider public’s shock when it actually achieved something good – and now more brands than ever before are jumping on the phenomenon.

According to reports, the #nomakeupselfie craze was started by a young mum in the comfort of her bedroom, where she encouraged her Facebook friends to take a photo of themselves without make-up on and tag a friend to encourage them to do the same whilst encouraging for donations. As with many campaigns it attracted a lot of criticism, with many saying it was simply narcissistic and some people may have not been getting involved for the right reasons.

If the campaign wasn’t so controversial however, maybe it wouldn’t have raised so much money. One thing’s for sure though, it had a fantastic response and raised over £8 million for Cancer Research. The irony is that the initiative probably raised more money and awareness than other much more costly and time-consuming campaigns, and was the brainchild of a young woman who probably had no strategy or end goal in place.

So, what can brands learn from the #nomakeupselfie campaign? Reacting to what people are doing on social media is a great opportunity if undertaken properly. It goes back to the concept of understanding your audience and regularly communicating with them to recognise their needs and desires. Brands that are merely trying to jump on the bandwagon will soon be found out, so you need to consider whether it’s right for them and fits with the message you’re trying to convey. Consumer firms in particular may benefit utilising the selfie phenomenon in their marketing strategy, whereas professional services may find it more difficult. Whatever you do, be honest and transparent. Good Luck!

By Hannah Noakes, PR Executive
(Connect with Hannah here)

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