It is All About the Pix!
By Bonnie Knutson Professor, The School of Hospitality Business/MSU | December 2019
About six months ago, our family – grandparents to grandkids – spent a weekend in Las Vegas for a sports tournament. Since the games were primarily in the late afternoon or early evening, we had some free time to roam around what I often call the "mother-lode" of the experience economy. We were walking along the Las Vegas Boulevard (affectionally known as the "Strip") one morning between "Venice" and "New York" just watching people and seeing how the city had changed since our last trip ten years ago.
Our younger granddaughter wanted to get a picture in a certain spot with a specific backdrop, so we headed over to that location. Out came her iPhone. She moved from here to there, aimed the camera lens left and right and up and down, posed this way and that, and finally announced that we would have to come back later because "it" just wasn't right. The sun wasn't in the right angle, there were too many of the wrong shadows and she had worn the wrong scarf for the background.
Huh!? It was just a picture!
But to her, it wasn't just a picture, it was an Instagram Picture! That made all the difference in the world; it had to be an Instagramable moment. Now for full disclosure, this 25-year-old granddaughter is the senior graphic designer for a national magazine. She knows how to make each picture flawless, and if it isn't right, she knows how to photoshop it so that the result will be that perfect addition to her Instagram story.
Unless you have lived under a rock in recent years, you have no doubt heard about Instagram, launched your own personal account, monitored your hotel's postings, or followed someone or some brand on the app. But if you are not really "into" Instagram (unlike our granddaughter), you may not fully appreciate its power from a brand strategy and brand marketing perspective.
Instagram (or as some refer to it, IG or Insta) is simply a social networking site that is now part of our marketing lexicon. Developed in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, IG was sold to Facebook about two years later and is now part of the Facebook empire. At its core, Instagram is simply an app that enables its users to upload (i.e. "post") photos and videos clips. These posts can then be viewed by other users who can "like" them as well as "follow" a user or a brand. And believe me, users avidly count the likes and followers. Instagram is all about sharing visually. Every user's goal is to find, take, and share only the best photos or video clips in order to attract more followers to its Instagram site and hopefully have them repost the photos or video clips on their sites. This can result in quite a word-of-mouth effect – or as I call it, word-of-finger. Hence, my granddaughter's obsession with coming back later for the perfect picture.