Smartphones have made sharing images of branded experiences on social media nearly effortless. Tracking and understanding how brands appear online is relevant to brands both as an indicator of social media brand interest, and to incentivize consumers to create and share certain brand images. This research investigates consumer-generated brand images. Aside from packshots (i.e., standalone product images), the authors identify two different types of brand-related selfie images: consumer selfies, i.e., images featuring both brand logos and consumers' faces, and brand selfies, i.e., invisible consumers holding a branded product. Classifying nearly half a million Twitter brand images across 185 different brands and 6,926 Instagram images prompted by a Starbucks campaign using deep convolutional neural networks and text mining tools to measure consumers' engagement with brands, the authors demonstrate that the three brand image types generate different engagement levels among receivers. Specifically, the authors find that an emerging phenomenon, which they term brand selfies, leads to high levels of brand engagement from consumers. A controlled lab experiment replicates these findings and provides indications on the psychological mechanism.
Netzer, Oded, Jochen Hartmann, Mark Heitmann, and Christina Schamp. "The Power of Brand Selfies in Consumer-Generated Brand Images." Columbia Business School, March 2019.
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