To say that taking ‘selfies’ is a growing trend would be an understatement – it’s all the rage, everyone’s at it. Amazingly, the word ‘selfie’ was even officially added to the Oxford dictionary last year.

But what isn’t so well known, is how a business can use selfies to build their brand.

For starters, selfies dovetail nicely with all good SEO strategies, believe it or not. Google’s policy of rewarding people who are using Google Authorship and Google Publisher to reveal the people behind their brands, means that a lot of us are already out there trying to build audiences. That in turn usually brings about a vibrant social media scene where the selfie often rules.

Likewise you can add a personal touch to all your social media cover designs. Don’t forget the old adage: people buy the person first and the product second. Customers value transparency and selfies can give you just that.

Many brands have also targeted the selfie because of its power to go viral, which is undoubtedly the Holy Grail of any social media goal. They’re probably inspired by photos such as the one below by Ellen DeGeneres.


This photo of her and some of her celeb chums was taken at the 2014 Oscars, getting over 3million retweets.

In an effort to create a fun image, businesses often get their staff to advertise what they’re selling, whether it’s clothes, gadgets or whatever (possibly in conjunction with a special offer). The nice touch is that the strategy is shamelessly jumping on a popular bandwagon, but we don’t really mind or notice. Plus, it’s an effective way of directly advertising what you’re selling in a fairly unobtrusive, inoffensive way.

Why not get your customers to advertise your products for you? Take the clothing company J-Crew for instance, who encouraged customers to take a selfie of themselves in J-Crew gear in a competition where the first prize was a mammoth shopping spree.


It was a fantastic campaign for J-Crew and such a simple idea, as all great ideas often are.

And the underlying psychology behind the use of selfies in business? Emotion.

Whether done subtly or otherwise, a selfie is likely to make us think and feel something. As we’ve seen from the success of high-profile advertising campaigns by John Lewis, Robinsons and Tescos, there’s nothing quite as powerful as sharing a gasp, laugh or tear with a customer and not demanding anything back in return.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on