Share. Connect. Learn. The Symbolic Understanding of the Photography Community in the Era of Social Media

Marianna Pecis Cavagna

Student thesis: Master thesis


When the Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, best-known worldwide for designing controversial advertising campaigns for the Italian brand Benetton, stated “Siamo tutti fotografi” – “Each one of us is a photographer”, he perfectly described the situation of today’s society. Because of the ubiquity of digital cameras and the extensive spread of image-based social networks and photo-sharing tools, photographs are everywhere. This study generates knowledge about the evolution in consumers’ attitudes and behaviours caused by the digitalisation of photography and the advent of social media networks. After providing some initial information concerning the consumer electronics industry, which sees Canon as the market leader, the current research has the purpose to unveil the values, hidden thoughts and feelings of the members of the photography community based in Copenhagen and Milan. Furthermore, the brand Canon has been chosen to discover whether behind the brand there is a well-established brand community. The results of the qualitative research reveal the emergence of a new photographic audience, which consider photography as an opportunity to establish connections, communicate through images, develop new skills and form photographed self-identities. Additionally, the discovered new audience has positive attitudes towards the new photo-sharing tools and is willing to invest time on social media networks to satisfy the need of sharing and connection. Since no brand community has been discovered around the brand Canon, the company has to exploit the social needs expressed by the new audience to develop social media tools to satisfy its members. Especially when supported by the right tools, a strong brand community is a potential asset, which can indeed increase customer loyalty, authenticate brand value and yield an influx of ideaa to grow the business. Canon Inc. can therefore gain strategic benefits from the analysed community and furthermore develop a consistent communication and social media strategy on the basis of what derived from the current research.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages119