"Just annihilated this bad boy at @bensbiggestburgers #legend #lockjaw"
We’ve all done similar to this haven’t we?
You would have either visited somewhere hot on holiday and taken the classic “hotdog legs” picture, or bought a new car and taken the selfie with the “accidental” Ford logo on the headrest, peaking out behind your freshly made over hair from ’Toni & Guys'.
Whatever your poison, like it or not, most of us have bragged on social media in some way shape or form.
The reasons behind these bragging-rights are fascinating, but more so for brands, is how organisations can capitalize on and harness bragging-rights for marketing purposes.
Perhaps from its grass roots in 'conspicuous consumption theory' (buying shit that loudly reflects your own success and how well you’re doing in life), reflections of 'upward social mobility' (“This time next year Rodney, we’ll be millionaires”) or originating from our dreams as kids to own luxury items like Lamborghini’s or Ferrari’s, reflecting our experiences, coolness, possessions, social circles, family values, sexuality, hard earned gym body, or even attitudes of non-conformity are so engrained into society and the way we communicate on social media, that it’s become second nature to us and we don’t even know we’re doing it!
Regardless of this, the power of bragging-rights as a form of word-of-mouth communications is a vastly untapped world.
The question is, have brands really understood the power of bragging on social media, or is it an accidental phenomena? To understand this, we need to clarify what “Bragging Rights” are?
There’s probably a scientific or academic discourse on exactly what bragging-rights are, but I’m not an academic or a scientist and don’t pertain to be, so we’ll avoid this where possible.
There are however multiple meanings and
perceptions of the phrase scattered around the webby web. The bulk of the meanings can be split into two main categories.
1) Earning the entitlement to brag about something
2) Communicating with pride about something you have achieved
What’s interesting about these meanings are that they both involve the user of the brag having done something or achieved something to earn the brag, and there has to be kudos or an element of rareness associated with this.
For example, it’s highly unlikely you would brag on Instagram about buying a box of 'Ben’s Budget Toilet Paper' with the hastags #thisisreallygoingtochafe
It needs to be something aspirational, or a life moment that reflects the individuals achievement either directly (buying the item or experience), or indirectly (achieving success to be able to afford to purchase the item or experience). So is it only the big brands who can achieve this or can smaller brands capitalise?
Most may say “Big business = Big budget”, which affects the reach of a campaign, but what if 'Ben’s Budget Toilet Paper INC' targeted 16-24 year olds and had set a social media challenge for users to build a fort out of budget loo rolls and challenge their mates to a loo roll invasion war, posting videos and bragging about their win using #’s and @’s etc with the lure of a free Spring Break Holiday. Then suddenly, a non-aspirational brand has turned themselves into a bragging-rights item by creating a brag based upon experiences, peer interaction, lifestyle, youth and non-conformity (yet with the desire to belong; Key elements of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Teen Conflict Theory).
Suddenly the brand equity benefits and strength of bragging-rights in social media marketing, albeit inseparable from a creative campaign and market conditioning, becomes very obvious. The question is, how are you going to nail it?