Anna Kerr N0303321 FASH30001 FCP Level 3 Word Count - 7682 (without quotes) 10,066 (with quotes)
Brands, Advertising & The Social Butterfly
con 1-2 Introduction 3-4 Methodology 5-6 The Social Butterfly 7-8 Being Social - 1 9-12 The Niche - 1.1 13-16 Generation Me - 2 17-24 Self Promo - 2.1 25-30 The Butterfly Effect - 3 31-34 The Cause - 4 35-38 What can Brands do? - 5 39-42 Playing Games - 6
tents 43-46 I want what you want - 7 47-48 The psychology of social commerce - 7.1 49-50 Recommendations - 8 51-63 The brand toolkit- 9
What to use - 9.1 Persistent User Journeys - 9.2 Consumers as Curators - 9.3 NFC - 9.4 65-70 References 71-72 Illustrations 73- 78 Ethics 79-84 Appendices 85-89 Tutorial Record Sheets
On an average day Lauren wakes up, mindfully having set her alarm five minutes early, making sure she has time for a quick scan of her social networking pages. She checks her Facebook page and sees that she has received more ‘likes’ on her profile picture. It makes her feel happy and like she can start her day in a good mood. Throughout the day she ‘checks in’ for lunch, taking a quick snap of her food and uploading it to Instagram so her friends and followers know what she has been doing. She tweets something she is proud of, and writes a status to make people laugh. Lauren loves to interact with her friends, family and followers throughout the day and inform them about her thoughts and actions. We live in a world of connection, a world where we don’t just want to connect with friends; we need to connect with everyone. We need to tell people about our bad news, our good news, our sleeping dog, our funny grandma and our new nails, because I mean, who wouldn’t want to know, right? We are all experts on something and our opinion matters; if we believe something is wrong, then we will tell someone, if we ‘like’ something, the person who uploaded it should feel privileged. ‘Facebook is all the social media anyone would ever want or need.’ (Jamison, J. 2012: Online)
it has given us the power to make ourselves into something, to become unique, voice our precious opinions and be listened to. It has given us the power to become our own brand and to shape that brand into anything and everything we want it to be. However, are we really naïve enough to think that this is enough, that ‘Facebook is sun – the gravitational center around which everything social revolves’ (Jamison, J. 2012 Online.) Of course it isn’t, Facebook just doesn’t quite solve our need to be our own person, our need to be individual and to be recognised for it. We want more, and with the emergence of Pinterest and other similar sites we can have it. Twitter now gives the option to share photos, Facebook offers a larger cover photo, and Instagram has an amazingly large popular fan base, going from 1 million accounts at the start of 2011, to 15 million by the end of that year, to 27 million in March just gone. (Adverblog. 2012: online) It seems that we have moved on from endless ‘statuses’ to a new phenomenon, because, as Mary Biever says, ‘There is a limited amount of time we can spend talking about ourselves and other people before we want more. We want to talk about things we enjoy and ideas we like.’ (Biever, M. 2011: online) What has caused this change? Are we so saturated with commerciality that we have become a commodity ourselves? Or are social networks to blame for our progression into narcissistic behaviour? It seems that social networking sites are allowing narcissists to satisfy their needs for approval and attention. (S. M. Bergman, M. E. Fearrington, A. W. Davenport, J. Z. Bergman. 2011.) Therefore, it seems that social networks are here to stay, and are going to play a huge part in the rest of our lives. In this project, I would like to examine the impact this type of consumer behaviour is likely to have on the advertising industry and the brands that are trying to sell products to this self-motivated audience, particularly focusing on what I call, ‘the generation of the Social Butterfly’, and also focusing on females. I will discuss the way social networks have shaped our lives and changed us as people. Why is it that we seem to have a quest to become unique? And what exactly is ‘unique’ anyway? Can we really blame social networking sites for our narcissistic behaviour? And how will advertising need to change in order to keep the attention of an audience that has precious little time to listen. Throughout this report I will be writing in the first person, in an attempt to mimic and evoke the online narcissist’s character, I will also do this by increasing my online activity through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr, to really understand my consumer.
method Both Primary and Secondary research was undertaken in order to achieve as full an understanding of the subject as possible. I wanted to find out why people act the way that they do and how this affects them.
Primary Day-in-the-life 3
I conducted two day-in-the-life of social networking studies. I asked two girls to be extremely honest about their online behaviour and the reasons behind it. This was done to get a clearer understanding about how big a part social media plays in the ‘social butterfly’s’ life. It was also done to understand why people are coming across so narcissistic and what the reasons were for this.
Ethnographic Study Having not particularly been the biggest social networker in the past couple of years due to my lack of mobile phone, I decided to get back into the mind-set of my target consumer so I could further understand her actions. After getting a new mobile, I created my own social networking diary to see how this small addition to my life might change my behaviour.
Interview I contacted Helen Lawrence at BBH advertising agency to get an industry perspective on my subject. Helen’s comments helped me learn about emerging technologies on the market and mistakes that brands are currently making. This really helped to inform my ideas and further my research.
ology Secondary For secondary research I cast my net as broadly as possible, looking at books, journals, essays, dissertations and websites. My main research came from two books, ‘You are not a Gadget’ by Jaron Lanier and ‘Reality is Broken’ by Jane McGonigal, and also through websites due to the internet being the first place these emerging technologies for brands are being talked about.
Fig. 1 ‘R - collage on paper’ 2012
The Social Butterfly I coined this name because I wanted to reflect the way that these socially driven people think about themselves. Usually this phrase would be used to describe someone who is known by everyone and seen by everyone, but the Social Butterfly I talk about, although similar, flits and flies between different social situations online and off, documenting each and every part of its beautiful life. Its online persona allows it to leave its boring, shell-bound caterpillar life (or offline), and develop into a beautiful Butterfly, with the help of a few apps and social networks, of course.
Fig. 2 ‘Bloomberg businessweek’ 2011
1 Being Social
Social media has gradually become an integral part of our lives. People sit amongst each other, meeting up as usual, but something has changed. We no longer catch up on one another’s lives in the way we used to, yes we still ask people how they are, what they have been doing and who they have been seeing, but it is the way that we ask that has changed. We ask out of politeness because we already know the answers to all these questions. Our friends have already informed us of every aspect of their lives through the use of images that have been casually uploaded on Instagram, through statuses that complain about their problems or inform us of their current happiness or through videos and tweets. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter inform us about everything that happens in people’s lives around us, without having face to face interactions. It is amazing how quickly and globally people have become obsessed with social networking as a pastime. Right now I have two housemates sitting with me typing and scrolling drastically on Facebook, and a third attempting to access the internet, actually muttering, “Come on Facebook, log in.” This is the same person I have just had a conversation with about whether posting individual photos of yourself onto Facebook is socially acceptable, a conversation not even initiated by me. Obviously it isn’t just me that has noticed this kind of behaviour online, but although people are questioning it, the sheer fact that they are looking at these people’s photos and ‘liking’ them, is encouraging this behaviour rather than voicing a view against it. It has been suggested that social networking has created a culture where users are pretty much ‘informing on’ themselves, (Wright, M. 2012:online) which suggests that in today’s society people want to be heard, seen and listened to. Wright’s choice of words here suggest, not only that we are simply telling others about ourselves, but that in some way we are betraying ourselves. What exactly are we giving away about ourselves? Is it simply that we are telling too many secrets that are being recorded online, or is it in fact that we are actually letting everyone around us know that we are desperate for their approval? Our online presence has become increasingly important to us, as well as our online image. And we encourage this behaviour, commenting on photos saying, “Wow babe, you look gorgeous!” or “Loving the dress, where did you buy it?” We feed each other’s egos and tell people that what they are doing is great and to continue doing it, whether it is for the reason that we simply want to be liked ourselves or want people to say it back, either way we immerse ourselves in these online social networks every day without a thought to how it is affecting us.
So where is this taking us? Some people say that “social is done” and that Facebook is all the social media we will ever want (Jamison, J. 2012:online) However, the people who use these sites are ignoring this insight and instead moving their attention onto more niche, interest-based social networking sites such as Pinterest, Polyvore, Instagram and Foodspotting. It seems that just sharing our thoughts isn’t quite enough anymore, we want to share our interests and our passions and we want people to ‘understand’ us. We are forming online personalities that we feel represent who we are. This may not be an accurate portrayal, but when it comes down to it, we portray who we want to be. When looking back at Wright’s idea that we are ‘informing on’ ourselves, we might agree that we are betraying ourselves. But not through giving away too much information, but rather by betraying our true selves by leaving our human and offline personalities behind to create new and more perfect representations of ourselves.
niche Fig. 3 ‘Pinterest print screen’ 2012
‘Interest based social networks have a markedly different focus and approach than Facebook. The Pinterest, Thumb and Foodspottings of the world, enable users to focus and organise around their interests first, whereas Facebook focuses on a user’s personal relationships’ (Jamison, J. 2012). While Facebook thrived off the idea that people want to connect with each other, these new interestbased networks are tapping into the idea that people now want to focus on their interest and passions. Could it be that, ‘There is only so much our brain is going to process and images are making it simpler to pass as well as receive information’ (Doshi, K. 2012), meaning that sites like Pinterest are becoming increasingly popular due to their ease of use? Or could another reason for their popularity be that people are becoming bored of one another and more interested in themselves?
Fig. 4 ‘shimmer’ 2012
Fig. 5 ‘iggy pop’ 1977
Trends have been developing online that suggest the latter is true. Facebook’s new cover photo is 170% larger than the previous profile picture (Adverblog. 2012) suggesting people want to present more of themselves than previously. Text heavy Twitter now goes beyond the 140 character limit by allowing users to upload photos and view content without leaving their site. And popular iOS photo sharing application, Instagram, went from 1 million accounts at the start of 2011 to 15 million at the end of that year, to 27 million in March 2012. (Adverblog. 2012) People want to share every inch of themself to the world, but it is worth discussing how this constant communication is affection people’s behaviour.
Fig. 6 ‘skirt and legs’ 2012
Fig. 7 ‘quotation’ 2012
Fig. 8 ‘generation me’ 2012
‘Much has been written about the rise of narcissism amongst ‘millenials’, the generation born in the 1980’s and 1990’s, a generation controversially dubbed ‘Generation Me’ by Professor Jean M. Twenge in 2007.’ (Firestone, L. 2012: online) It seems that many people are using social networking sites as a way to show themselves off. Many are becoming desperate for ‘likes’ or for ‘followers’. This kind of behaviour is particularly evident when it comes to the ‘millenials’ and in data from 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as fast as obesity from the 1980s to present. (Twenge: 2009, p2) So is it that social media allows and encourages people to become self-absorbed, after all never before has there been such an outlet to display yourself to others in any way that you want. Furthermore, the introduction of these interest-based sites suggests that people no longer care so much about reading what other people want to say, and care more about sharing their own feelings and interests to everyone else. It is pretty much saying, “look at me, look what I have just bought and look at what I would buy if I could”. It has been said that narcissists crave attention and the approval of others, seeking out sources of admiration to help maintain their self-esteem. Social networks allow people to satisfy these needs, gaining admiration from a range of loose connections. (Bergman, Fearrington, Davenport, Bergman. J : 2011) So is this what we are doing? Becoming people who simply want to talk about and take photos of themselves and then sit and refresh our homepages until the waves of ‘likes’ and comments flood in?
Fig. 9 ‘Strike a pose’ 2012
Fig. 10 ‘graffiti face’ 2012
promo 2.1 As previously mentioned, ‘It has been suggested that social networking has created a culture where users are pretty much informing on themselves’ (Wright, 2012: Online). And with all these new networks, people are selfpromoting more than ever. The interesting thing is the way they are doing it, these posts aren’t just endless ramblings of someone’s thoughts, they are well thought out, airbrushed versions of their lives. These online narcissists are maintaining their inflated self-views by showing dominance and competitiveness in social situations. (Bergman, Fearrington, Davenport, Bergman. J : 2011) They are thriving on the competition of their peers, showcasing the best bits of their lives online in order to prove their selfworth and compete for the approval of others. The amount of ‘likes’ they receive inflates their egos and make them feel in some way loved. ‘Studies are consistently finding that people who score higher on the narcissistic personality inventory questionnaire tend to have more friends on Facebook, tag themselves more often in photos and update their statuses more frequently’ (Firestone. 2012:online). However, I find these kinds of statements self-evident. Is it not possible that these studies merely prove that narcissists use Facebook, and are in fact not convincingly demonstrating that social networks are causing this behaviour? I wanted to get an insight into what has prompted the recent spark in self-promotion - whether it was due to an increase in sense of self-worth, self-absorption, or some other factor. In order to do this I conducted two day-in-the-life studies of social networking usage/behaviour. The first subject Hannah, aged 21. She has over 1000 friends on Facebook, is currently promoting a new online clothing company and regularly ‘informs on herself ’. The second was Lauren, also 21. She also has over 1000 friends on Facebook, although differs to Hannah in the way that she is a student and uses social networks for personal rather than commercial or business purposes. Lauren also regularly informs on herself. I asked both girls (good examples of ‘Social Butterflies’) to give an honest description of one of their days online.
Fig. 11 ‘A single woman’ 2012
‘I wake up in the morning and the first thing before getting out of bed I do is check my Facebook, I don’t know why, seeing as I was on it till after 1am the night before. Then I check my business page on Facebook, see if any likes have gone up, any messages, orders, photo comments etc. everything is important when it comes to this in order to reply to people as quickly as I can. I also enjoy a little neb/perv on my boyfriend’s Facebook page, this in other words means to see if he hasn’t accepted any good looking girls or he hasn’t been talking to any (we all do it). When I think about it, actually, the majority of my day involves social networking. I upload my daily outfit to wiwt.com then probably write a personal Facebook status that nobody really cares about but seem to agree with anyway. Then I have to check my emails reply to them, ignoring them, laughing at them, it all takes time it does. I can’t help but sly away in the stock room at work to have a sneaky spy on my phone to see what’s going on even though nothings really that important that it needs to be done right there but I can’t help it. My daily upgrades to instagram have to be done, edited, tagged etc. this is for business purposes only I’m not that much of a poser...well ha, I have to keep checking this to see if there’s any photo comments and questions etc. I also have become one of those annoying people who spam peoples photos just so I can get more followers. I check asosmarketplace every day to see how my boutique is going, adding new items, prices, photos etc. checking out the competition and what other people are offering. I tried twitter but I’m not cool enough for it. I cringe at the whole hash tagging thing I don’t really understand it and it didn’t work out for me considering I only have 15 followers nobody’s interested in what I have to say on twitter haha. So yes my day actually revolves around Facebook, emails, anything to do with fashion, my online boutique and instagram its actually hard work at times but I need the exposure in order to make the moolar!’
Fig. 12 ‘book face’ 2012
‘Woke up at 7:30am, always give myself an extra 5 minutes in bed to check my Facebook, twitter and Instagram. Checked my notifications and have 4 new likes on my current profile photo so felt a bit happier, did purposely upload the photo for a few likes but just felt I needed a new photo, I like to upload a new photo every month. Posted a status at 11:23 stating how much work I’d done at my job and to kind of show people that I am good at my job and that I work hard. Checked my twitter and Facebook throughout the day, tweeted about work the same as Facebook but only because different people follow me on twitter. 3 new followers woo. Went out for lunch so ‘checked in’ on Facebook and posted a status. Also got tagged in a photo on Instagram of the food we were eating. Always like to take photos of my food to show how amazing it is! Received a call from a store about an interview so was very happy so tweeted on twitter but didn’t post on Facebook due to some of my work colleagues are on fb so didn’t want to say anything just yet. Tweeted a few times during the evening about certain things also stalked a few people on Facebook, housemate was trying to set me up with someone so wanted to see what he looked like on Facebook first. Always like to Facebook stalk my friend Hannah as I think she has really great style and can get a few outfit ideas. Twitter stalked Jamie Laing, Francis Boulle and Millie Mackintosh. Posted a humorous status about Geordie shore as I knew it would get a few likes and loads of other people would find it funny. Tweeted my friends from home as our favourite programme was on and I really missed them. Sometimes I post nice photos of me so my ex can them and it’s more of a confidence thing if people do like it. Have search certain people through other friend’s tagged photos just to be a bit nosey also do that to boy’s girlfriends or the other way.’
Looking at Hannah Hannah doesn’t understand her own behaviour when it comes to needing to check her Facebook and Instagram. The only social networking that, for her, has a clear rationale is to promote her online business, which in a way involves promoting herself as the face of the brand. It seems that much of Hannah’s social networking habits are based upon the need for acceptance and to build her own self esteem. Hannah realises that her behaviour is strange when it comes to social networking, jokingly saying, ‘it all takes time it does.’ She also fully admits that her day actually revolves around Facebook, emails, anything to do with fashion, her online boutique and Instagram. She further admits that she does this for exposure and to make money. 23
Looking at Lauren Like Hannah, Lauren admits to posting things for ‘likes’. Unlike Hannah, Lauren also posts on Twitter because different people follow her on Twitter. It seems she uses Twitter to promote herself to people other than just her friends. ‘3 new followers woo.’ Lauren wants to be liked and for people to know what she is doing. She also wants to impress an ex-boyfriend, as well as potential new love interests, through Facebook and Instagram. She also looks at celebrities on Twitter and a friend on Facebook because she loves her style and likes to look at her for inspiration. She also searched people she didn’t know personally through mutual friends to be nosey, such as other boys girlfriends and vice-versa.
Fig. 13 ‘The eyes’ 2012
Neither Hannah nor Lauren can fully explain all of their behaviour on social networking sites. Barely any of their time on Facebook is spent doing what the site was originally made for, conversing with friends. In fact, Hannah doesn’t actually mention this aspect of social media at all, favouring the self-promotional side. Although some of Hannah’s online behaviour is using herself to promote her online clothing brand, both Lauren and Hannah both upload photos and create statuses to feel acceptance, be ‘liked’ and to raise their own confidence and self-esteem. Hannah differs from Lauren in the way that most of her ‘stalking’ behaviour happens away from social networking sites, preferring to look at more professional and established fashion websites, and brands such as ASOS. Hannah also says, ‘I tried Twitter but I’m not cool enough for it, I cringe at the whole hash-tagging thing, I don’t really understand it and it didn’t work out for me considering I only have 15 followers, nobody’s interested in what I have to say on Twitter.’ This verifies the fact that Hannah networks for exposure and gave up on Twitter when she realised no one was listening. On the other hand, Lauren uses social networking sites as her sole contact to everything, whether that is looking at celebrities or searching for fashion tips.
Fig. 14 ‘The bright smoke’ 2012
3 the butterfly effect â€˜The sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state.â€™
In chaos theory, the “butterfly effect” is the ‘sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state.’ (Wikipedia. 2012: online) Okay, to say that this applies here is a bit drastic, but in this case the ‘small change’ resulting in large differences is ‘accessibility’, and this simple accessibility into other people’s lives has caused drastic changes to our online behaviour and our own feelings about who we are. The main thing to take away from the two day-inthe life case studies is how easy it is to look at others through a social networking lens. People can constantly compare themselves to others, and from these two studies it appears that people are doing this habituallyseveral times on a daily basis. This insight lead me to the question, is narcissistic behaviour online on the rise because self-esteem levels are at an extreme low? And it seems that at this moment in social culture, the only way to make ourselves feel better is through the reassurance of our online peers, using ‘likes’ as a way to gauge our popularity or even our beauty. Furthermore, with new apps like Instagram gaining popularity, people are being encouraged to upload photos of themselves and be openly judged every day of their lives. As said by Jaron Lanier in his book ‘You Are Not a Gadget’, ‘I know quite a few people, mostly young adults but not all, who are proud to say that they have accumulated thousands of friends on Facebook’. Obviously, this statement can only be true if the idea of friendship is reduced.’ (Lanier. 2011: p.53) It is his view that we as people are degrading ourselves in order to make machines look smart, (Lanier. 2011: p.32) and I believe that in some ways we are. We are valuing these fake friendships, and these ‘likes’ that in reality mean nothing. I do not believe that in all aspects of life people think that computers are superior, but when it comes to the use of the internet and also the use of apps, I think people change their behaviour to fit around these communication channels, and are gradually forgetting how they acted before they existed.
Fig. 15 ‘The eye of the beholder’ 2012
We want our online personality to be as popular as possible, so that we can look at it and feel better about ourselves, but at the same time we are forgetting that we aren’t showing our real selves. ‘Anonymous blog comments, vapid video pranks, and lightweight mashups may seem trivial and harmless, but as a whole, this widespread practise of fragmentary, impersonal communication has demeaned interpersonal interaction.’ (Lanier. 2011: p.4) If Lanier is correct, then instead of these endless networks allowing us to portray our real personalities, we are in danger of becoming more similar, more conformist. We are in danger of letting technology tell us how we should act. Technology tells us to connect, take photos, share these images, share videos, but when would we have done this before? We would have shown our dearest friends and relatives to make them laugh or to show them what we have been up to. We wouldn’t have shown the guy we met once in a bar, or that mutual friend you don’t quite know anything about. We are becoming more similar because technology is influencing our actions, and we all use this same technology. We only have to look at the change in design of the internet to realise that we are not even being given the chance to show our own individuality. ‘The early waves of web activity were extremely energetic and had a personal quality. People created personal ‘homepages’ and each of them was different, and often strange.’ (Lanier. 2011: p.15) Now social networking sites have our personalities constrained by their own design layout that cannot and will not be changed. In a study at Stanford University, researcher Jeremy Bailenson demonstrated that ‘changing the height of someone’s avatar in immersive virtual reality transforms self-esteem and social self-perception.’ (Lanier. 2011: p.4) This is similar to Facebook’s introduction of its cover photo, allowing users to display a large photo at the top of their timeline.
Fig. 16 ‘Mirror head’ 2012
I doubt I was the only one who became excited when this happened. I felt like I had more freedom to express myself on my page, allowing others to see more of my personality, or in other people’s cases simply a much larger image of themselves. Which brings us back to this questions of whether social networks have been encouraging narcissistic behaviour.
It seems to me that what has appeared to be narcissistic behaviour is actually people craving social acceptance in order to raise their self-esteem and to feel like they are good enough in a world where they are being compared constantly to their peers. Our need to be liked and to be unique is a never-ending task due to the likelihood that these sites make conformists of us, as we are emulating our peers’ behaviour and trying to compete, rather than stepping free of the mould. This constant self-absorption appears to continue to develop.
Fig. 17 ‘Nobody loves you’ 2012
‘Advertising pervades our lives; almost from the moment we wake up we are confronted by it.’
Fig. 18 ‘Flower dress’ 2012
In my opinion, social media can’t be the only thing causing the change in behaviour I’ve been describing, and in my eyes this obsession with beauty and acceptance has been an ever-growing trend which started well before Facebook entered our lives. I believe social networking has merely created the obsession with social status that comes with it.
In an article in Business News Daily called ‘Can Facebook make you fat and poor?’ David Mielach suggests that ‘You may want to think twice after posting a new photo or update to your Facebook profile. That’s because new research has found that social media use can lower some users’ sense of self-control over their lives.’ He also goes on to say that social networking can momentarily increase people’s selfesteem, but that this can lead people to make rash and negative decisions. (Wilcox in Mielach. 2012: online)
Fig. 19 ‘Street style’ 2012
‘At first a society based on mass consumption appears to encourage self-indulgence in its most blatant forms. Strictly considered, however, modern advertising seeks to promote not so much self-indulgence as self-doubt.’ (Lasch in Smith, 1978:online) Although Christopher Lasch’s statement may seem outdated, it shows how long the self-doubting individual had been developing. Since the late 1970’s, advertising has achieved sophistication, constantly surrounded by it. As stated in the 2011 Guild Review, ‘Advertising pervades our lives; almost from the moment we wake up we are confronted by it.’ (The Guild Review. 2011: online) So assuming the amount of advertising imagery we consume has increased dramatically since Lasch made this statement, think how much our self-doubt must have increased in this time. We are constantly surrounded by images of perfection that we have always felt the need to live up to, so now we use apps like Instagram to edit ourselves into something more perfect than we actually are, and we wait for peer approval.
This therefore creates a vicious circle where people feel momentarily better about themselves, and then feel worse again because of their behaviour. This explains the reason why narcissism appears to be increasing, because a momentary rise in self-esteem makes people brag about their own achievements, and then soon after the reverse happens. Wilcox goes on to suggest that people are more likely to end up in debt or to binge-eat after using social networking sites. (Wilcox in Mielach. 2012: online) Although, I believe this to be slightly extreme and a bit of a generalisation, it is interesting to think that social networking might cause people to be tempted to spend more money, which can be connected to people’s obsession with looking good. I know many people who have made quick, rash decision buys due to looking at Pinterest too much and seeing too many things that they either want or think they need. In an article for Forbes Women it is said that ‘Pinterest is now a top driver of traffic to the websites of women’s lifestyle, home décor and cooking mags, including Martha Stewart, Elle Décor and House Beautiful.’(Henderson. 2012: online) ‘Pinterest itself has acknowledged the potential for pinned content to be damaging to users’ self-images and deemed this a big enough issue to opt for banning thinspiration or ‘thinspo’ pin boards, where members post aspirational images and links related to dieting and extreme weight loss’ (Henderson. 2012: online). It seems that without realising it, we are creating things that are damaging us. We are ‘pinning’ things that simply remind us of the things we don’t have and it depresses us. If we are looking at other people all day on Facebook whom we envy, then we take photos of ourselves to compete, and then we are looking at things we can’t have all night, where does that leave our self-esteem?
Fig. 20 ‘The yellow skirt’ 2012
Fig. 21 ‘Celine sunglasses’ 2012
brands do It is obvious that the way to a consumer’s heart is to make them feel good. With so much that people do online seemingly ruining their views of themselves, what should brands be doing to keep or even gain the loyalty of their consumers? We can see that social networking is a major part of most people’s lives today and that this takes up a lot of people’s time, so it is getting even harder for brands to hold the attention of their consumer long enough to make some sort of impact. According to OFCOM/Times Online research, almost 9 in 10 people aged 25-34 say they have used more than one media device whilst watching TV, and 1 person in every 3 admit to going online whilst watching TV. This has become known as ‘media stacking’ (Jennings. 2011: online), where people are splitting their attention across these different media devices. At first, this might have been seen as the death of TV - television becoming nothing but background noise. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Mark Jennings, Account Director at social media agency FreshNetworks, suggests that viewers are actually engaging with shows on a whole new level, ‘We’re now engaging more deeply by accessing the ‘back channel’ of social commentary and debate alongside traditional viewing.’ (Jennings. 2011: online) According to a survey by Diffusion PR, 43 percent of British adults have watched a television programme and discussed it with someone who wasn’t in the room at the time. ‘One in two (49 per cent) of 18-24 year-old British TV viewers comment on Facebook, 42 per cent text their friends and family, 18 per cent instant message and 12 per cent use Twitter.’ (Lee. 2012: online) ‘Instead of rushing home with our friends and family to huddle around the box on a Saturday night, we are flocking to our laptops, iPads and mobile phones to share the experience virtually, British consumers are information hungry and it
it appears that not even the most compelling new TV show can glue our eyes solely to the box, as Brits of all ages are combining their viewing with at least one other digital channel.’(Ristic in Lee. 2012: online) Brands seem to have their work cut out for them right now, because we are living in an age of choice, where we log in to whatever social channel we like on our media devices and talk about what we like to whom we like. It is a brand’s job to become integrated into consumer’s lives, rather than an extension. Brands need to fully understand the consumer and what makes them purchase something, and then make a plan to make their brand attractive to their consumer, and furthermore, make their journey to purchase as easy as possible. In her book, Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal talks about a study in 2009 conducted at the University of Rochester. The study followed 150 college graduates and monitored their goals and happiness levels. They compared how quickly the graduates received extrinsic and intrinsic rewards and had them report on their own levels of well-being and satisfaction in life. The researchers’ conclusion was that, “The attainment of extrinsic, or American Dream type goals – money, fame, and being considered physically attractive by others – does not contribute to happiness at all.” (McGonigal. 2012) They actually found that these extrinsic rewards caused harm to their well-being. It is McGonigal’s belief that gaming, however, could be the saviour of our world. She mentions that gaming gives us the feeling of real happiness that is rarely found in anything else because we have a feeling of achievement that reality is, at the moment, not able to fulfil. (McGonigal. 2012: p4) We need to feel challenged in life, and for many people, their day-to-day jobs or activities don’t do this.
“The attainment of extrinsic, or American Dream type goals – money, fame, and being considered physically attractive by others – does not contribute to happiness at all.”
Fig. 22 ‘Materialistic’ 2012
6 Fig. 23 â€˜Rollerskate in Parisâ€™ 2012
‘When we’re playing a good game – when we’re tackling unnecessary obstacles – we are actively moving ourselves toward the positive end of the emotional spectrum. We are intensely engaged, and this puts us in precisely the right frame of mind and physical condition to generate all kinds of positive emotions and experiences.’ (McGonigal. 2012: p28) In relation to how brands can relate to this kind of consumer, it seems that simply giving them the means to shop more easily isn’t going to be enough. As mentioned previously, gaining these ‘extrinsic rewards’ isn’t quite enough to feel happiness and in turn loyalty towards a brand and brand experience, brands need to make their consumers feel actively involved and engaged because ‘Intense engagement is the most pleasurable, satisfying and meaningful emotional state we can experience.’ (McGonigal. 2012: p46) So why has gaming become so popular and important to the modern individual and what can it offer? The question is important because the planet now spends over 3 billion hours a week gaming, as a collective, and surprisingly, 69 percent of all heads of household play computer and video games. (McGonigal. 2012: p11) It is fair to say that I had no clue as to how much gaming was a part of people’s lives until this Christmas when my family played a question and answer game. Each person picked out a stick with a question on it, and out came the very vague and pretty dull question, ‘Do you play many games?’ Interestingly everyone in the room apart from me said yes - my aunt, mother, brother, father and cousin. It struck me that people of all ages were playing games, either on their phones or laptops, and I realised that gaming could be potentially very important for brands and grabbing people’s attention. The idea of gaming brings us back to this idea of our need for peer approval; one of the reasons we enjoy gaming so much is to prove ourselves and to compete against others for their respect or in order to believe that we are better than somebody else. It helps us to feel as if we are achieving something and gives us satisfaction, which explains the obsessive nature of gaming. Gaming helps boost our self-esteem in a way that not much else does, because of the feelings and emotions they cause. In an article called ‘Gaming can build self-esteem, friendships’, Robert Reynolds suggests that a recent study by Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life showing that daughters who play video games with their parents show significantly lower levels of depression and aggression, shows that video games can have a positive impact on people’s behaviour and emotions.(Reynolds, 2011: online) The counter-argument here is that this merely demonstrates the positive impact that parents spending time with their children has on the latter. I’m not convinced that the benefits cited by Reynolds are attributable to playing video games. This, however, does not mean that video games can’t create good emotions, but I believe there is a fine line between enjoying a game, and it becoming an obsession.
Fig. 24 ‘Lanvin’ 2011
Notwithstanding the above, I think that brands can take a lot of inspiration from social gaming and the way its competitive nature can keep people interested and also loyal, which is what all brands aspire to when reaching out to consumers. In an article entitled ‘The Psychology of Social Gaming’, Dennis Schooley gives an account of a blogger writing (under the moniker of HarryJerry) about social gaming, “Once you ‘ve started playing with them you no longer care about your girlfriend, college assignments or a kidney failure. These games get into you like oxygen.” (HarryJerry in Schooley, 2012: Online) Social Gaming is growing in importance rapidly, and the challenge for brands is to tap into this area and make it work for them.
i want what
Fig. 25 ‘Polyvore print screen’ 2013
you want With e-commerce and social networks becoming such an integral part of everyday life, it is not a shock that the next step would be to merge these two ideas together to create social commerce, because the only thing better than buying alone is to share the experience with others. Shopping with friends has always been a normal way of life, we have always, and always will, want the help, opinions and approval of our peers when it comes to buying things, because we, as humans, are very rarely completely sure of ourselves, and nothing is more powerful than a friend, or friends telling you that what you are doing is right, which is why the â€˜likeâ€™ button is such a powerful force on Facebook and why we welcome and encourage other peopleâ€™s judgements online. Although the idea of socialising whilst shopping is common, it is believed on one side of the argument that people go to social networks to socialise and e-commerce sites to shop and that there is no bridge in the middle. (Lewis, 2012: online) A recent research report from Get Satisfaction and analyst Incyte Group showed that only 13% of people log on to social networks to interact with brands. (Lewis, 2012: online) One possible cause for this might be due to, as mentioned by Jaron Lanier, the way the layouts of these social networking sites have taken away the opportunity for creativity and for brands to be visually stimulating and attractive. With Facebook there is nothing but a Cover photo to distinguish one brand from another, making them look dull and uncreative, which is exactly the opposite of what people want from a product.
Fig. 26 ‘Crusade clothing print screen’ 2013
The recent launch of Hannah’s (Day-in-the-life One) Facebook shop for her brand Crusade Clothing, confirmed this idea for me. There was no sense of personality and no feeling of what the brand was about; this differed in the case of her Asos Marketplace shop, which truly showed off the brand. In this way, social networking sites have, for want of a better phrase, “bit themselves in the bum”. People don’t want brands to be the same as everybody else, they want them to be aspirational. This is why I believe that social commerce does not belong within social networks, they belong on the outside, and they should be something people seek out. These social commerce sites should be game-like: rewarding consumers for using them, rather than giving nothing in return. Brands need to rethink their understanding of the modern day shopper and understand that shoppers now ‘shop smart with social, location-aware and mobile technology.’ (Lewis, 2012: online)
Fig. 27 â€˜Social commerceâ€™ 2012
the psychology of social commerce
It has been found that shoppers do something that is popularly known as ‘thinslicing’, which is a style of thinking that means people ignore most of the information available, and instead use a few information clues, that are often social in nature, along with a set of smart mental rules of thumb (heuristics) to make intuitive decisions. (Marsden, 2009: online) One of the main heuristics being to “follow the crowd”, we often look for what to do or buy depending on what others have done before us or are currently doing. In an article called ‘How social commerce works: The social psychology of social shopping’, Paul Marsden talks of ‘The 42nd street Experiment’ in which a single person was asked to stop on the street and look skyward for 60 seconds. Other people on the street simply walked past and ignored him. In the second part of the experiment, 15 people were asked to do the same thing at the same time, and 40% of people on the busy street also stopped and looked up. (Marsden, 2012: online) It is the same with social shopping, when in doubt people stop and look at what others are doing and follow suit. Other heuristics it has been suggested we use, in an infographic by TabJuice are: Authority, scarcity, liking, consistency and reciprocity. For me, one of the most interesting of these mental rules of thumb, is “reciprocity”. ‘We have an innate desire to repay favours in order to maintain social fairness whether those favours were invited or not.’ (Trend Hunter, 2011: online) An example of this within social commerce is the way that we share updates and deals we have found, with our social network, thereby, repaying favours that weren’t necessarily invited. (Trend Hunter, 2011: online) From my research into the way people behave socially online, it could be said that people do this as a way to compete with their peers and in turn raise their own self-esteem. However, whether to repay a favour, or to gain more approval from their peers, it is clear that social commerce has been accepted as something people would like to use and would like to see develop.
The most interesting insight is the portrayal of the ‘social butterfly’. This consumer is misunderstood by brands and technology, being seen as narcissistic, obsessive, and false. Being accused of creating a false persona to promote itself and become more powerful and to deceive all. It is interesting to see that the reasons for this are not at all as sinister as one might expect, and that this fluttery consumer is simply attempting to raise its self-esteem and confidence in the only way it knows how, through peer approval and competition. Brands should not make the mistake of thinking that they are trying to target consumers with little or no attention span, as it is now the consumer who controls the brand and holds all the cards to its success. In a world where ‘social’ is everything, the key to a brand’s success is through the voice of the people, and if they do not see a use, or any entertainment value in engaging in it, the brandmight become extinct. However, all is not lost, because as social develops, so too does technology. There are many new ways in which brands can engage this flighty consumer: either through new technologies, advocates or simply making the consumer’s journey as seamless as possible.
Fig. 28 ‘The best version of yourself ’ 2012
Fig. 29 ‘Pink dress’ 2012
the brand 51
Fig. 30 â€˜Less is a snoreâ€™ 2012
toolkit 9 the big pull For well-established brands and new start-ups it is essential that as much as possible is known about this current consumer. There are so many options nowadays about how to target and grab peopleâ€™s attention that it is hard to know where to start, and also what to leave out. In my opinion, the most important thing a brand can do is to understand that not every technology is necessarily right for them. This toolkit aims to summarise what new and promising trends are out there for brands to adopt and also to introduce this idea of the big pull where brands will have to pull in their consumers and make them curious and engaged, rather than pushing their products onto them.
9.1 what to use
Helen Lawrence, Lab Strategist at BBH, says that it all depends on the brand and the campaign. She says, ‘TV and Print aren’t dead. They serve a really strong role in the mix and will continue to be an important part of a company’s spend. However, we are seeing a decline in the proportion of spend in TV as more money is poured into digital, social and mobile.’ (Lawrence, 2012: Appendix A) It can be a bad decision to try new technologies simply for their newness, and brands should make sure everything they use to grab the attention of their consumer has good reasoning behind it. Lawrence gives three crucial considerations for brands reviewing their platform usage: 1.Role for the platform: define the role for the platform up front. Don’t just be on Twitter because you think you should be. Is it a sales role? Customer service? Events? 2. Test Test Test: trial and measurement is so important. There are so many channels popping up, you can’t try them all without creating a fragmented ecosystem but with a little caution and maturity it’s possible to try new channels without damaging the brand. Measure and review, but don’t stick to your traditional models out of fear. 3. Joined up user journeys: A brand must understand its ecosystem and how consumers move within it. Make content work harder and make the consumer’s journey easier. UX strategists are going to become increasingly crucial within agencies. (Lawrence, 2012: Appendix A)
Fig. 31 ‘Harvey and Rabbit’ 2012
persistent user journeys
Helen Lawrence also suggests that, “The rise of ‘Big Data’ and persistent user journeys across devices will inevitably bring about a demand for personalisation. Consumers will no longer accept the current firehouse marketing approach that many companies take in social.” (Lawrence, 2012: Appendix A) This constant flow of information brands have about their consumer leave them with no excuse when it comes to understanding their journey to purchase. Consumers want to be understood and treated as individuals, expecting a personalised approach, rather than being bombarded from every angle of social. With this in mind, brands should be seamlessly integrating themselves into different aspects of social, becoming a natural part of the social scenery, rather than screaming deals at people. ‘People hold companies to high expectations to deliver experiences that are consistent on all platforms, and to complicate it further we are more demanding that ever and expect to be able to choose freely when and how we interact with products.’ (Persson, 2012: online) Therefore, the way we interact with a brand should be easy and in no way a chore, making each step of the way a seamless and enjoyable experience. ‘The most successful brands are the ones that can create true value, build a relationship with their customers and give them tools that, at the end of the day, make the brand irreplaceable.’ (Persson, 2012: online) No brand wants its consumers to feel frustrated when it comes to getting what they want, and brands should not make the mistake of thinking that the choice for them is between digital or traditional forms of marketing, it is about creating an experience. It is about looking at the bigger picture and really understanding the consumer, because for consumers, buying the product is never the end goal, they are a path to a desired goal. (Persson, 2012: online) For example, when buying a dress, the end goal is not simply possessing that dress, it may be to look good at a party, impress an ex, impress a new man or look professional at a job interview. Brands should never disregard the end goal and should therefore never ignore the consumer journey after the purchase.
Fig. 32 ‘Gold collage’ 2012
Furthermore, according to new research by Outdoor Media Centre, marketers need to reassess their view of the consumer journey. (Burrows, 2012: online) The research appears to indicate that ‘the traditional path to purchase has become more circuitous because of social media and the internet.’ (Burrows, 2012: online) Strong links have been made between out-of-home media and the planning stage of the consumer journey, due to the fact that more people can search on mobile devices whilst out and about, researching their next purchase after seeing, for example, a billboard. In fact, ‘out-of-home media stimulated more online search on mobile devices that any other marketing channel, including TV, press and wordof-mouth.’ (Burrows, 2012: online) ‘An increasing number of brands are combining social media and outdoor to support consumers along their decision-making process.’ The next few sections aim to give advice on how brands might improve their consumer’s journey and give a brief insight into what I think are the most important trends to look in to.
consumers as Fig. 33 ‘Tanned’ 2012
Fig. 34 ‘Jack Daniels’ 2012
curators As Pavan Deshpande says, CEO of Curata, ‘With the help of Pinterest and other consumer-oriented companies, content curation – the process of finding, organising and sharing online content – has gone mainstream.’ (Deshpande, 2012: online) These online ‘communities of interest’ are becoming extremely influential when it comes to spreading the word about new products (Carter, 2012: online), because users of these sites are taking it upon themselves to create content online that interests them, rather than waiting to be told what to like or what to buy by brands. Troy Young, president of SAY Media, says that the most important thing now for brands is to ‘inspire and connect’. And this is incredibly important to brands because they should want to be in passionate environments and integrate themselves within this space. (Young in Carter, 2012: online) There is a big opportunity here for brands to realise that consumers are taking more time when considering a purchase, and therefore more of a connection is being created between the two. Lawrence says “The old argument of being ‘useful or interesting’ will continue to apply for brands.” (Lawrence, 2012) Meaning that brands now need to make themselves stand out from the crowd, creating something that is useful to the user, and therefore earning their attention. (Carter, 2012: online) As pointed out by Gaby Lazzaro, senior audience manager of icrossing Live Media Studio, ‘Story is at the heart of content sharing. The shifting design and e-commerce landscape is creating a deeper emotional connection between consumers and products.’ (Lazzaro, 2012: online) There are some social commerce sites that truly understand the idea of consumers as curators, allowing their users to feel completely involved and also engaged when sharing and purchasing online.
Fig. 35 ‘The Fancy print screen’ 2012
One example would be The Fancy, which has taken the idea of Tumblr - where people share and blog about the things that interest them – and provided the opportunity to not just share what they see on the page, but also to buy it. (Boris, 2012: online) The Fancy encourages users to review products they have bought by gifting users with a badge after they have written their review, therefore introducing gamification, and consequently the much needed competitive side of socializing online. The Fancy also rewards users with cash rewards if a friend joins and furthermore, the user is offered another cash bonus if that friend buys within the first 60 days. (Boris, 2012: online) This social commerce site encourages loyalty through its rewards and gives users a much needed self-esteem boost through its badging system. By allowing users to compete with one another, The Fancy encourages long-term engagement. Polyvore, on the other hand, flatters its users in a different way, allowing them to play stylist, creating collages or ‘sets’ of products that can be shared with other users. Users can also follow other members and ‘like’ their creations, as well as purchase items from the site. (Gigaom, 2012: online) This is the perfect example of how social commerce can allow consumers to seek out and reciprocate peer approval. When users receive ‘likes’ from their peers, their self-esteem increases, thereby creating a positive feeling, not only towards themselves, but towards the brands and the site they are interacting with. Furthermore, this idea of ‘playing stylist’ introduces these positive emotions, previously mentioned by Jane McGonigal, created whilst gaming, giving their users a sense of achievement. Polyvore has recently launched its very own free mobile app that enables users to assemble and share personal style collections, as well as browse and purchase items (Gigaom, 2012: online), therefore understanding that in order to keep their users attention, they must make their journey easier. It is a brands job to make consumers feel a part of something, letting them be their own boss rather than telling them what to buy. Turning consumers into curators not only encourages brand loyalty, but also creates brand advocates.
9.4 nfc 61
Fig. 36 ‘NFC’ 2012
‘Near Field Communication, abbreviated NFC, is a form of contactless communication between devices like smartphones or tablets. Contactless Communication allows a user to wave the smartphone over a NFC compatible device to send information without needing to touch the devices together or go through multiple steps setting up a connection.’ (NFC, 2012: online) So why is NFC important? It is the next technology on the block and the next thing everyone will be using. Some commentators are sceptical about its uptake, many people saying that it is no different from Bluetooth or other ways of sharing information and due to Apple having recently decided that the new iPhone 5 should not include it, people aren’t so sure of its value. However, in an article called ‘Near Field Communications to go far in 2013’, Suzanne Defree explains that this is not just another wireless technology, that NFC does not compete with but complements both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. ‘Samsung, for one, is playing up interactive displays and peer to peer sharing in advertisements for its Galaxy SIII NFC-enabled phone by showing users scanning posters for free songs or tapping phones together to share contact information, music and files.’ (Defree, 2012) She also suggests that the main obstacle for the uptake of NFC is educating consumers about it, and making people aware of what it can do. Jeremy Leroyer, CEO of Airtag, a mobile transaction company, says, ‘I think today is absolutely worth it to invest in NFC because it will become the main technology to perform transactions in the future. We need to start investing in NFC.’ (Leroyer in Hockenson, 2012: online) It seems that what many people are foreseeing with this technology is the idea of being able to pay for things without the need for cards or cash, making transactions easier for customers. Although this may be a useful tool when it comes to point of sale within your company, I believe that NFC can have a lot more use than just making payments.
Fig. 37 ‘Moo’ 2012
Fig. 38 ‘swing tag’ 2012
In fact, the most interesting use of NFC that I have seen is through Moo. com, a brand that provides business cards online. They have created business cards that conceal an NFC chip that when touched with a smart phone can automatically send any information to the phone that the owner of that card wishes. This may be downloading your portfolio, playing music, loading web pages, videos, apps or maps. It could even save your contact details. (Moo, 2013: online) This amazing use of NFC allows the receiver of the business card to go away with more information and more of an incentive to get back in touch. This idea can be related to the marketing of a brand. For example, what if retail outlets enabled NFC in their swing-tags? Could you offer your consumers discounts for buying in-store rather than just online? Could you send a link suggesting other items to match that individual piece and a map of the store to locate those items, therefore increasing the possibility of impulse buying? The possibilities really are endless! An NFC chip could allow a consumer to download the store’s playlist, allowing them to listen to it in their own time and furthermore, make the brand more prominent in the consumer’s mind and gain their loyalty as they feel they have been rewarded for visiting the store. It is very important that this technology is used to reward the consumer and make them feel like they have been given something exclusive, rather than bombarding them with advertisements. Another example could be to introduce gamification. As previously mentioned, what drives the popularity of games is the feelings of happiness that come through the challenges that they allow us to overcome and also through our competitive nature. When we win, or pass a level in a game, we feel pleasure and also rewarded. So why not allow NFC to send the consumer an ‘on-brand’ game, and when the consumer passes each level they a rewarded for their engagement? The game could link to social networks and post their scores online to introduce the element of competition. If brands can make us feel rewarded by introducing gamification into some aspects of their customer journey, they are likely to notice a rise in customer loyalty and possibly a growing fan base that gains popularity through social word of mouth. Brands should remember that, ‘Intense engagement is the most pleasurable, satisfying and meaningful emotional state we can experience.’ (McGonigal. 2012: p46)
conclusion The Social Butterfly is a consumer that needs to feel understood by brands. Brands should be working to raise their consumerâ€™s self-esteem and understand that a bad experience can harm their reputation for a life-time. If brands make understanding and improving their customerâ€™s journey a priority, they will gain loyalty and respect, as consumers will feel understood and even become advocates and curators for the brand. Brands should also entertain their consumers, engaging them in a more rewarding and exciting way, making them feel a sense of achievement that they currently do not get in everyday life. Therefore, consumers will feel like they gain something from staying loyal to a brand. Social networks and new technologies should be used with caution and always for a
Published on Feb 19, 2013
How brands can attempt to grab/keep the attention of an audience that appears to be so self-absorbed and has such low levels of self-esteem.