The Power of Social: How’s her “Selfiesteem”?

Thanks to the ubiquity of social media, when it comes to beauty, it’s likely improving.

Dove just launched a new short-film called Selfie.  It premiered earlier this month at the Sundance Film Festival and the 3-minute version has already amassed millions of views on YouTube.



There are two powerful insights when it comes to marketing to women that I was reminded of when watching the film:

1. The Attitude IS the aspiration.    According to the latest beauty research from Dove, 55% of women believe social media plays a bigger role in influencing the definition of beauty than traditional mass media. This means “real women” (in size, age, appearance etc.) are truly defining beauty.  This is not only widening the definition of beauty, but also giving it depth of meaning. Conversations and imagery on social media about beauty (including Dove’s #beautyis) reveals loads of selfies and corresponding attitudes, perspectives and values that women find beautiful—things like confidence, strength, courage and wisdom.  If you search “beauty” on Google images on the other hand, you end up with a much more airbrushed, narrow view. In fact, a recent study conducted by British research firm Opinium found the top two terms people use to describe selfie-takers are: “fun loving” and “confident”.

When you think about the imagery of women you’re portraying for your brand, on a scale of selfie to Vogue photo, how do they rate?  Are you reflecting a values-based definition of beauty or one that is merely skin deep?

2. Model Moms.  Another compelling fact from the recent Dove Research is that 72% of daughters claim they learn about beauty from their mothers.  I delved into this very topic when I co-created LeoShe, and learned 10 times more African American women rated their beauty esteem a “perfect 10” vs. Caucasian women.  We discovered that African American moms were so much more confident and less angst-ridden about beauty, and then they passed this attitude on to their daughters. The “twist” in the Selfie movie was not that the film had selfie-taking Millennial girls reflect on their selfies, but was that they had their mothers do it as well.   The “Selfie experiment” seemed even more profound with the moms in the film.

There’s a huge opportunity for brands to support and encourage all Moms in their role as “beauty models” for their daughters.

Finally, for brands that want to stay relevant and even on the forefront of women’s attitudes and behaviors, remember that with each of the hundreds of millions of selfies that will be posted this year, the definition of beauty is getting deeper and wider.  Make sure your definition is as well.