Selfies Killed the Video Star

I just returned from a 10 day trip to Italy. My wife and I visited Rome, Venice and Florence. It was an amazing time. One thing stuck out for me on this trip, and it wasn’t the usual suspects like the food, wine or art. It was… the selfie pole! Every single tourist attraction had 5 – 10 vendors selling a piece of metal that extends and has a little slot for your cell phone at the tip. This seemingly ingenious device lets you snap a picture of yourself at the top attractions and tourist spots. Heck, you can even use it to commemorate your metro ride or dinner. Imagine you AND your food all in one glorious shot!

selfie pole vendor

Vendor selling the selfie pole.

Apparently the word “selfie” has become an internationally recognized term like “Coca-Cola” or “OK”. The mostly west-asian vendors proclaimed “sell-fee, sell-fee” with their sing-song accents putting special rising emphasis on the second syllable “fee”. Tourists snatched them up for anywhere from 8 – 20 which equates to $10 – $25 U.S.

two girls take selfie pole shot

Two Girls Take Selfie Pole Shot

selfie on top of Saint Peters

This woman took her picture with all of Rome up on top of St. Peter’s Basilica

It dawned on me that the selfie pole is the ultimate symbol of our society. It’s a microcosm of the psyche shift that has taken place. We are no longer a social people. We have alienated ourselves. The world is getting colder and more impersonal. Think about it. People would rather buy a pole and pin their smartphone to it than ask a stranger to snap a picture. That says a lot doesn’t it?

Think about it. People would rather buy a pole and pin their smartphone to it than ask a stranger to snap a picture. That says a lot doesn’t it?
Now, I’m not going to deliver a diatribe on the decline of social graces or anything like that. I simply offer the really good news. Our impersonal world gives brands a never-before-seen opportunity to fill a void of solitude, alienation and seclusion. Figure out how to be more personal to your audience, and you’ll go a long way to crushing your competition. Here are some simple steps you can take to do that in no particular order:

  • • Have a human being answer your phone
  • • Send a birthday postcard to your customers
  • • Invite customers to your office / store for a workshop or demo, heck even a cocktail party
  • • Instead of sales calls, make follow up calls to existing customers to make sure they are happy and answer questions
  • • Write an article of useful tips (kind of like this) and share it with your customers.

Do things like this and I promise you’ll be remembered and grow your customer base.

 

If you must take a selfie, at least use your own arms people. It's cooler. :)

Me and my wife in Venice. If you must take a selfie, at least use your own arms people. It’s cooler. 🙂

 

 

Posted on November 5, 2014 in Branding Basics

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