Every Picture Tells a Story - Exploring Personal Branding Communication Activities on Social Media

  • Christian V. BaccarellaEmail author
  • Lukas Maier
  • Sabine Eibl
  • Kai-Ingo Voigt
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11579)


Social media has significantly transformed the way we communicate with each other. It is now possible to let the whole world participate in one’s own life, thus having the opportunity to easily create one’s own personal brand. In this study, we aim to explore the factors of successful personal branding activities on social media. The present paper aims to find out which aspects of personal brand identities are communicated on social media and how they affect user interaction. More particular, we look at the communication activities of five popular female musicians on the social networking site Instagram. Due to its emphasis on visuals (images and short films), Instagram is particularly suitable to analyze personal branding activities to find out why some individuals excel in creating their personal brand. From a theoretical perspective, this study contributes to the fields of personal branding and social media. From a practical perspective, this study provides important insights for social media managers, artists, and everybody who is interested in building a strong personal brand on social media.


Social media Personal branding Brand communication Personal brand identity 


  1. 1.
    Wagner, T.F., Baccarella, C.V., Voigt, K.I.: Framing social media communication: investigating the effects of brand post appeals on user interaction. Eur. Manag. J. 35(5), 606–616 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Peters, T.: The brand called you. Fast Company 10(10), 83–90 (1997)MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rein, I., Kotler, P., Shields, B.: The Elusive Fan: Reinventing Sports in a Crowded Marketplace. McGraw-Hill, London (2006)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Shepherd, I.D.: From cattle and coke to charlie: meeting the challenge of self marketing and personal branding. J. Mark. Manag. 21(5–6), 589–606 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Karaduman, I.: The effect of social media on personal branding efforts of top level executives. In: Özşahin, M. (ed.) Proceedings of 9th International Strategic Management Conference, Riga (2013)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Schwabel, D.: Me 2.0: A Powerful Way to Achieve Brand Success. Kaplan Publishers, New York (2009)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kaplan, A.M., Haenlein, M.: Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Bus. Horiz. 53(1), 59–68 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mangold, W.G., Faulds, D.J.: Social media: the new hybrid element of the promotion mix. Bus. Horiz. 52(4), 357–365 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Saboo, A.R., Kumar, V., Ramani, G.: Evaluating the impact of social media activities on human brand sales. Int. J. Res. Mark. 33(3), 524–541 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kietzmann, J.H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I.P., Silvestre, B.S.: Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Bus. Horiz. 54(3), 241–251 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Asmussen, B., Harridge-March, S., Occhiocupo, N., Farquhar, J.: The multi-layered nature of the internet-based democratization of brand management. J. Bus. Res. 66(9), 1473–1483 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Trainor, K.J., Andzulis, J.M., Rapp, A., Agnihotri, R.: Social media technology usage and customer relationship performance: a capabilities-based examination of social CRM. J. Bus. Res. 67(6), 1201–1208 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chang, Y.T., Yu, H., Lu, H.P.: Persuasive messages, popularity cohesion, and message diffusion in social media marketing. J. Bus. Res. 68(4), 777–782 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kumar, A., Bezawada, R., Rishika, R., Janakiraman, R., Kannan, P.K.: From social to sale: the effects of firm-generated content in social media on customer behavior. J. Mark. 80(1), 7–25 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Relling, M., Schnittka, O., Sattler, H., Johnen, M.: Each can help or hurt: negative and positive word of mouth in social network brand communities. Int. J. Res. Mark. 33(1), 42–58 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Felix, R., Rauschnabel, P.A., Hinsch, C.: Elements of strategic social media marketing: a holistic framework. J. Bus. Res. 70, 118–126 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tuten, T., Mintu-Wimsatt, A.: Advancing our understanding of the theory and practice of social media marketing: introduction to the special issue. J. Mark. Theor. Pract. 26(1–2), 1–3 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Close, A.G., Moulard, J.G., Monroe, K.B.: Establishing human brands: determinants of placement success for first faculty positions in marketing. J. Acad. Mark. Sci. 39(6), 922–941 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Montoya, P., Vandehey, T.: The Brand Called You: The Ultimate Brand-Building and Business Development Handbook to Transform Anyone into an Indispensable Personal Brand. Personal Branding Press, Santa Ana (2003)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rampersad, H.K.: Authentic Personal Branding: A New Blueprint for Building and Aligning a Powerful Leadership Brand. Information Age Publishing, Charlotte (2009)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hood, K.M., Robles, M., Hopkins, C.D.: Personal branding and social media for students in today’s competitive job market. J. Res. Bus. Educ. 56(2), 33–47 (2014)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Rangarajan, D., Gelb, B.D., Vandaveer, A.: Strategic personal branding—and how it pays off. Bus. Horiz. 60(5), 657–666 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Leland, K.T.: The Brand Mapping Strategy. Entrepreneur Press, Irvine (2006)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Johnson, K.: The importance of personal branding in social media: educating students to create and manage their personal brand. Int. J. Educ. Soc. Sci. 4(1), 21–27 (2017)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lair, D.J., Sullivan, K., Cheney, G.: Marketization and the recasting of the professional self: the rhetoric and ethics of personal branding. Manag. Commun. Q18(3), 307–343 (2005)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Khedher, M.: Personal branding phenomenon. Int. J. Inf. Bus. Manag. 6(2), 29–40 (2014)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Boon, S.D., Lomore, C.D.: Admirer-celebrity relationships among young adults: explaining perceptions of celebrity influence on identity. Hum. Commun. Res. 27(3), 432–465 (2001)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Goldsmith, R.E., Lafferty, B.A., Newell, S.J.: The impact of corporate credibility and celebrity credibility on consumer reaction to advertisements and brands. J. Advert. 29(3), 43–54 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Newman, G.E., Diesendruck, G., Bloom, P.: Celebrity contagion and the value of objects. J. Consum. Res. 38(2), 215–228 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tanner, R.J., Maeng, A.: A tiger and a president: imperceptible celebrity facial cues influence trust and preference. J. Consum. Res. 39(4), 769–783 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    McCracken, G.: Who is the celebrity endorser? Cultural foundations of the endorsement process. J. Consum. Res. 16, 310–321 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ford, J.B.: What do we know about celebrity endorsement in advertising. J. Adver. Res. 58(1), 1–2 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Winterich, K.P., Gangwar, M., Grewal, R.: When celebrities count: power distance and celebrity endorsements. J. Mark. 82(5), 70–86 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Thomson, M.: Human brands: investigating antecedents to consumers’ strong attachments to celebrities. J. Mark. 70(3), 104–119 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Rindova, V.P., Pollock, T.G., Hayward, M.L.: Celebrity firms: the social construction of market popularity. Acad. Manag. Rev. 31(1), 50–71 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Fournier, S.: Taking stock in martha stewart: a cultural critique of the marketing practice of building person-brands. Adv. Consum. Res. 37(1), 37–40 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    McCutcheon, L.E., Lange, R., Houran, J.: Conceptualization and measurement of celebrity worship. Br. J. Psychol. 93(1), 67–87 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    McQuarrie, E.F., Miller, J., Phillips, B.J.: The megaphone effect: taste and audience in fashion blogging. J. Consum. Res. 40, 136–158 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Parmentier, M.A., Fischer, E., Reuber, A.R.: Positioning person brands in established organizational fields. J. Acad. Mark. Sci. 41(3), 373–387 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Stever, G.S., Lawson, K.: Twitter as a way for celebrities to communicate with fans: implications for the study of parasocial interaction. Noth Am. J. Psychol. 15(2), 339–354 (2013)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Aaker, J.L.: Dimensions of brand personality. J. Mark. Res. 34(3), 347–356 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Barrick, M.R., Mount, M.K.: The big five personality dimensions and job performance: a meta-analysis. Pers. Psychol. 44(1), 1–26 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Maehle, N., Shneor, R.: On congruence between brand and human personalities. J. Prod. Brand Manag. 19(1), 44–53 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Campbell, M.C., Kirmani, A.: Consumers’ use of persuasion knowledge: the effects of accessibility and cognitive capacity on perceptions of an influence agent. J. Consum. Res. 27(1), 69–83 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Park, W.C., MacInnis, D.J., Priester, J., Eisingerich, A.B., Iacobucci, D.: Brand attachment and brand attitude strength: conceptual and empirical differentiation of two critical brand equity drivers. J. Mark. 74(6), 1–17 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Aaker, D.A.: Innovation: brand it or lose it. Calif. Manag. Rev. 50(1), 8–24 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Khamis, S., Ang, L., Welling, R.: Self-branding, ‘micro-celebrity’ and the rise of social media influencers. Celebrity Stud. 8(2), 191–208 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Stelzner, M.: Social media marketing industry report. Soc. Media Exam., 1–52 (2018)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Barnes, N.G., Jacobsen, S.L.: Missed eWOM opportunities: a cross-sector analysis of online monitoring behavior. J. Mark. Commun. 20(1–2), 147–158 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Instagram (2017) selenagomez. Accessed 29 June 2018
  51. 51.
    Instagram (2018) selenagomez. Accessed 27 July 2018
  52. 52.
    Johns, R., English, R.: Transition of self: repositioning the celebrity brand through social media – the case of Elizabeth Gilbert. J. Bus. Res. 69(1), 65–72 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Carlson, B.D., Donavan, D.T.: Human brands in sport: athlete brand personality and identification. J. Sport Manage. 27(3), 193–206 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Smith, G.: Conceptualizing and Testing Brand personality in British Politics. J. Polit. Mark. 8(3), 209–232 (2009)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Lunardo, R., Gergaud, O., Livat, F.: Celebrities as human brands: an investigation of the effects of personality and time on celebrities’ appeal. J. Market Manage. 31(5–6), 685–712 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Choi, S.M., Rifon, N.J.: It is a match: the impact of congruence between celebrity image and consumer ideal self on endorsement effectiveness. Psychol. Market 29(9), 639–650 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Buss, D.M., Barnes, M.: Preferences in human mate selection. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 50(3), 559–570 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Beverland, M.B., Farrelly, F.J.: The quest for authenticity in consumption: consumers’ purposive choice of authentic cues to shape experienced outcomes. J. Consum. Res. 36(5), 838–856 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian V. Baccarella
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lukas Maier
    • 1
  • Sabine Eibl
    • 1
  • Kai-Ingo Voigt
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Business and EconomicsFriedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergNürnbergGermany

Personalised recommendations