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How to get PR out of the trend for the ‘selfie’

With a rise in usage of 17,000% in the past year, the word ‘selfie’ may not be new, but it was voted Oxford Dictionary word of the year almost unanimously this week. So how should your brand take advantage?

What is a ‘selfie’?

Defined by Oxford Dictionary online as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”, selfies have been around since the early noughties. But the advent of newer technologies with a button allowing the user to take one without the use of a nearby mirror, and apps which allow them to instantly enhance their shots to present their ‘best self’ has seen the uploading of selfies soar in the past few years.

‘Selfies’ go mainstream…

The ‘selfie’ trend has gone mainstream, encouraged by establishment endorsement such as ‘selfies’ posted by the Obamas. Celebrity twitter feeds and facebook pages are typically littered with them, and the most famous selfie of the year was a shot of the Pope with some visiting teenagers.

Variations on the word are already mushrooming with ‘helfie’ (a picture of someone’s hair) ‘welfie’ (a picture of someone working out) and ‘drelfie’ (a picture of someone while drunk) all circulating on social media sites. ‘Selfies’ are probably here to stay.

“The ‘selfie’ trend has gone mainstream, encouraged by establishment endorsement such as ‘selfies’ posted by the Obamas.”

How ‘selfies’ can become PR gold

Any PR will tell you that publicity which is user generated is worth its weight in gold. Consumers trust it far more than anything you could have written about yourself. Brands can take advantage of the phenomenon of ‘selfies’ by simply providing a platform for it.

‘Selfies’ are all about seeking social recognition. When brands like Cadbury’s Cream Eggs provide a platform to showcase fan ‘selfies’ to millions, it helps them generate streams of user generated content. They make fans famous, and get a celebration of loyalty to their brands in return.

If you’d like to find more ways of building brand awareness give our marketing team at Oxygen a call on 0845 2606 255. We’ll make sure your name is the first one that comes to mind…


Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.