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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Toni Eagar and Stephen Dann

This paper explores the purposive use of the selfie in the construction of personal narratives that develop and support an individual’s human brand. Selfies were divided…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the purposive use of the selfie in the construction of personal narratives that develop and support an individual’s human brand. Selfies were divided into archetypical clusters of “genres” that reflected the combined story told through Instagram image and accompanying text captions.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis drew a randomized sample of 1,000 images with accompanying text from a large capture of 3,300 English language captioned selfies. Coding for semantic and semiotic data used a three-wave technique to overcome interpretive limitations.

Findings

Based on their structural characteristics, seven genre types emerged from the coded sample set. These primary genres of selfie meta-narratives are autobiography, parody, propaganda, romance, self-help, travel diary and coffee-table book.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited in generalization to the Instagram photo-sharing app platform by design. Samples were taken from the app due both to its popularity and its capacity to annotate images. Selfies conducted in non-public, non-annotation-based apps may produce alternative genres and classifications.

Practical implications

The paper presents a genre classification to examine how selfies are used to “show, not tell” a portion of the consumer’s life story. Brands, firms and marketers can apply genres to examine the selfie types that best connect with the identity of their brands and consumers, based on how their consumers communicate within the Instagram network.

Social implications

Selfies are an oft pathologized and moralized aspect of consumer conduct. We present a view of the selfie as a deliberate, consciously considered communication approach to maintaining social bonds between friends, family and wider audience. Selfies are presented as a combined effect of consumption of a social media service (Instagram) and the co-production of valued content (the selfie) that recognizes the individual as an active constructor of their digital self.

Originality/value

The paper outlines a novel framework of selfie genres to classify the deliberate human-brand narratives expressed in selfies. By taking a narrative perspective to the Instagram selfie practice, the genre type captures the combined effect of the mimesis and diegesis, where the mimesis showing of self is contextualized with the diegesis of the provided captions to capture an intentional storytelling act of image and text.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 50 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 18 November 2015

Toni Eagar and Andrew Lindridge

The academic discourse around celebrity and iconicity has resulted in the same human brand as labeled as an inauthentic and illegitimate celebrity and as a culturally…

Abstract

Purpose

The academic discourse around celebrity and iconicity has resulted in the same human brand as labeled as an inauthentic and illegitimate celebrity and as a culturally important symbol of legitimate achievement. We address the research question of how are contradictions between celebrity and iconicity resolved in creating and managing a human brand.

Methodology/approach

Using structuration theory, we analyzed David Bowie’s 50 year career, from 1964 to 2013, totaling 562 documents. Applying Langley’s (1999) stages of data collection of grounding, organizing, and replicating, we develop a process of model of celebrity and iconicity.

Findings

We identify three stages of human brand symbolic associations: forming, fixing, and transitioning associations. These represent alternate trajectories that Bowie and Ziggy Stardust followed to become icons. In resolving his trajectories across these stages, Bowie adapts and adopts commercial materials, business practices, and new technologies to converge his symbolic associations into a coherent iconic human brand.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of this paper lie in focusing on one human brand in a particular industry. Future research is suggested in three areas: (1) the relationship between the proposed model and other human brand activities; (2) to explore how the process is manipulated by other market agents; and (3) whether a human brand’s association shifts can precede culture.

Originality/value

This perspective challenges existing conceptualizations of celebrity and iconicity by framing them as inter-related processes, where celebrity associations are fixed in time, while iconic associations transition across time periods to reflect changing cultural values and concerns.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-323-5

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 28 November 2016

Toni Eagar and Stephen Dann

This research was conducted to outline the capturing and analysis of composite texts. We contextualize this using selfies as image and textual data sourced from Instagram…

Abstract

Purpose

This research was conducted to outline the capturing and analysis of composite texts. We contextualize this using selfies as image and textual data sourced from Instagram and analyzed using a three stage analysis approach from a genre perspective.

Methodology/approach

The capturing of composite texts is outlined for numerous services available to researchers to study social media contexts. The analysis applies a three-stage technique of (1) what is shown, (2) what is said, and (3) what is the central narrative to overcome interpretive limitations of privileging text over image or vice versa.

Findings

Based on their structural characteristics, seven genre types emerged from the coded sample set.

Research limitations/implications

Issues arise in capturing this data as social media platforms change their access and usage policies and as capturing services alter their capabilities.

Originality/value

The paper outlines a novel approach to capturing and understanding the mimesis and diegesis of selfies as composite texts.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-495-2

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Richard Kedzior, Douglas E. Allen and Jonathan Schroeder

The purpose of this paper is to outline the contributions presented in this special section on the selfie phenomenon and its significance for marketing practice and scholarship.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the contributions presented in this special section on the selfie phenomenon and its significance for marketing practice and scholarship.

Design/methodology/approach

The significance of the topic is reviewed and themes related to the selfie phenomenon and marketplace issues are discussed in connection with extant research. The contributions of each paper are briefly highlighted and discussed.

Findings

Although the selfie is a relatively new phenomenon, both marketing practice and scholarship have noticed its prominence in consumer lives and potential for generating marketplace insights. Despite its frequently presumed triviality, the selfie is a multifaceted phenomenon of significance to key marketing areas such as branding, consumer behavior or market research. Possible avenues for future research are outlined.

Originality/value

Key issues relating to research into the selfie phenomenon for marketing scholars are illuminated.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 50 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 18 November 2015

Abstract

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-323-5

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 28 November 2016

Abstract

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-495-2

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 23 April 2018

Katrin Tiidenberg

Abstract

Details

Selfies: Why We Love (and Hate) Them
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-357-7

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2019

Lee Phillip McGinnis and Brian C. Glibkowski

Unlike artists using sartorial flair and flamboyant identities to shock and engage audiences, Bruce Springsteen is relatable, stable, consistent and authentic. Based on…

Abstract

Purpose

Unlike artists using sartorial flair and flamboyant identities to shock and engage audiences, Bruce Springsteen is relatable, stable, consistent and authentic. Based on qualitative interviews of Springsteen fans of various levels, it is suggested that brands can sustain success through such tactics as existential authenticity, transparency and charity. His fans co-opt his music and co-create their own stories, which are enabled through Springsteen's use of universal themes and vivid details. In terms of a branding paradigm, he adapts to the post-postmodern era, where brands allow individuals to define their own meaning.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used a qualitative method in generating themes and relationships on the enduring success of Bruce Springsteen's brand. They interviewed 19 informants of various levels of fan support and various backgrounds and areas. They used grounded theory methodology, including open coding, triangulation and member checks, to develop themes and findings.

Findings

In general, it was found that narrative structure and cause-and-effect stories are at the heart of his enduring success. While his individual songs, stage performances and charitable works cover a variety of topics and interests, combined they map to the same universal story structure, thus giving his fans solid understanding of his brand. His underdog appeal and story of redemption are maintained through such tactics as vivid songwriting, activism and charitable acts despite his international success and fame.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretically, the authors add to the literature on celebrity branding, narratology and authenticity. Specifically, the authors build upon the notion of existential authenticity, connecting a brand to its various stakeholders beyond customers in a way that is holistically authentic. We also suggest that to sustain a brand for the long haul, it is necessary to be transparent and available to your community members. The story of your brand needs to resonate and be meaningful to the audience in a way that is believable, and more importantly true to the artist and product.

Practical implications

The authors show how narrative structure and universal story themes create ways in which fans can identify. By not straying too far away from the inherent brand meaning, brands can achieve long-term success. Tactically, all ways to manage the brand must link to the main story, but authenticity and maintaining a macromarketing perspective are the keys to making the story believable and enduring. In Springsteen's case, according to our interviews, his music and the message of his well-scripted songs have always mapped well with his real-life persona, making a distinction between his staged persona and actual self visibly difficult to distinguish.

Social implications

Part of Bruce Springsteen's enduring success and strong brand are built on his charitable works and activism. Brands that have this aspect will endure as well if motives are transparent, benign and believable. Springsteen has succeeded in this aspect because his charitable works often go unnoticed or unreported, which his fans respect when they discover these acts.

Originality/value

Theoretically, the authors also add to the question (i.e. WH-question) literature in terms of connectedness and felt meaning. Springsteen's music connects specific discourse to universal stories/themes via his vivid songwriting, live performances, charitable acts and multiple other tactics. The data suggest that Springsteen's experiences are so vivid and thoughtful that little is needed for the audience to obtain aesthetic or felt meaning of his universal story themes. He allows direct access to the stories without internal interpretation, which then allows for instant penetration of felt meaning.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

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