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Influencer Marketing: Are Famous Faces Ruining Your Brand’s Rep?

Seeing people in an advert, particularly touching or using a product, generates feelings of wanting in humans, a phenomenon called ‘mimetic desire’. Neuromarketing research has shown that using faces in adverts can bring the reassurance of instant familiarity, association, interest and emotional engagement.

​​In any industry, there will always be influential people. Influencers aren’t always globe-trotting bikini-clad ‘grammers; they can also be cosmetics connoisseurs, cybersecurity-genius bloggers, celebrity chefs, or even motivational marketers. Essentially, what gives these people power to affect, or influence, the purchasing decisions of others is their targeted followings on the web and social media.

Influencers vary not only by industry but through the size of their audience – they may only have 10,000 followers, these are called nano influencers, or they could have millions, labelled as hero influencers, with an entire scale in between. It is key for brands to understand the impact of using influencers with different following sizes, which can drastically affect consumer emotions towards products, and subsequently brands.

It seems logical to assume that brands would benefit from using influencers with large followings because increased consumer exposure would lead to increased brand awareness. However, there has been a radical societal shift in values over the last few years, particularly within Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012). Research shows that Gen Z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in history, with their gender and identity views being largely untraditional. Unlike Millennials before them, Gen Z no longer form opinions of brands based solely on the quality of their service or products, nor simply because a ‘cool’ celebrity uses it. Gen Z focuses more on the ethical and social practices of a brand, reflecting their unconventionality. This has led to a fall in the effectiveness of traditional celebrity-endorsed, macro, hero and mega-influencer marketing techniques. Whilst it was previously the case that famous faces were seen to imply status or glamour, Gen Z desires authenticity and transparency.

Brands recognise now that steering away from the use of large-scale influencers and towards nano and micro-influencers creates stronger brand trust and brand loyalty. A word from a small influencer can have a much bigger impact than one who has hundreds of thousands of followers, through their authentic following and closer relationships to their audiences. Influencers with an Instagram or TikTok following of 1,000 to 50,000 have engagement rates over double someone with a following of 50,000+, meaning using smaller influencers is a cost-effective method to attract relevant customers to your brand and give you a competitive edge over your rivals.

Micro-influencing experts Bulla Connect explain;

“We already know that friends buy from friends and you can go one step further by harnessing the power of the student market. In a nutshell, by utilising a highly engaged network of socially savvy student content creators spread throughout the UK.”

“By offering brands a route to the student market through creatively led micro and nano student influencer UGC content, predominantly across Instagram and TikTok. Brands see a huge boost in engagement through this approach as opposed to your traditional macro influencer method, as it acts as more of a “peer-to-peer” style of promotion for brands, which generates genuine interest and conversation across campuses all over the UK.”

“Essentially, if you want your brand to succeed in the scrutinous eyes of Gen Z, ditch the famous faces and use small-scale influencers and relatable people to promote your products!”

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Celebrity marketing is dying as Gen Z craves authenticity

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Julia Munro

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Bulla Connect Ltd

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