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Maybe Influencers Are Not Worth The Hype

An explanatory study on influencers’ characteristics with perceived quality and brand loyalty

Written by L. Gunnarsson, A. Postnikova & A. Folkestad

Paper category

Bachelor Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Bachelor Thesis: Characteristics of influencers Influencer marketing is done by using trusted online personas (influencers) to distribute brand information or products (personalized or non-personalized by the influencers) to their followers (brand's target group) They can then influence their attitudes, decisions and behaviors (De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders, 2017). Charest, Bouffard, and Zajmovic (2016) explored strategic planning and suggested the use of influencers on social media, which will help achieve better results in two-way communication with other users​​. The characteristics of influencers that will be discussed in the following chapters are as described above: credibility (Halvorsen et al., 2013; Khamis, Ang, and Welling, 2017; De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders, 2017; Sudha and Sheena, 2017), relevance (Halvorsen et al., 2013; Knoll et al., 2015; Khamis, Ang and Welling, 2017; De Veirman, Cauberghe and Hudders, 2017), and authenticity (Halvorsen et al., 2013; Khamis, Ang and Welling , 2017; Sudha and Sheena, 2017; De Veirman, Cauberghe and Hudders, 2017). 2.1.1 Credibility Several studies have discussed influencer marketing, one of the most common characteristics is trust or credibility (Halvorsen et al., 2013; Sudha and Sheena, 2017; De Veirman, Cauberghe and Hudders, 2017 Years; Khamis, Ang and Welling, 2017). Sudha and Sheena (2017) explained that the use of trust has become critical for influencers, as this component helps to try to transform audiences into loyal customers. The reason is that consumers trust the product promotion of influencers more than the brand itself (Halvorsen et al., 2013; De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders, 2017; Sudha and Sheena, 2017). In addition, trust is known as the credibility builder in the market (Sudha and Sheena, 2017), where credibility is a positive feature of the communicator, which affects the recipient’s acceptance of the message (Ohanian, 1990) . Halvorson et al. (2013) pointed out that influencer marketing means building a strong relationship with the audience through the use of trust and credibility, which distinguishes this approach from traditional advertising. The discussion of influencer marketing is also compared to celebrity endorsements, which have the credibility of a common source of promotion (De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders, 2017). Credibility is closely related to honesty, which means whether consumers have enough confidence in the spokesperson (Ohanian, 1990; Seno and Lukas, 2007; Ha and Lam, 2017). Another aspect that is trustworthy is professional knowledge. Expertise tells consumers' perceptions of the spokesperson's knowledge and experience of the endorsed product (Ohanian, 1990; Seno and Lukas, 2007; Spry, Pappu, and Cornwell, 2011; Dwivedi, Johnson, and McDonald, 2016). 2.1.2 Relevance Although influencer marketing is similar to celebrity endorsements (Keller, Apéria and Georgson, 2012; Ha and Lam, 2017), De Veirman, Cauberghe and Hudders (2017) discussed that influencer marketing is more important than celebrity endorsements. Personalization and relevance, because they share personal aspects of their lives with their followers and interact with them in a personal way. Influencers create personal narratives and constantly update their followers about their lives and personal experiences and opinions (Abidin, 2016; De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders, 2017), thus allowing their followers to understand them on a personal level ( Halvorsen et al., 2013)). This can create a sense of face-to-face interaction with influencers, thereby building relationships, thereby making consumers more open to influencers’ opinions and behaviors (Knoll et al., 2015; De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders, 2017). Chung And Cho (2017) called it quasi-social relationship when studying the relationship between consumers and celebrities on social media. In addition, when consumers repeatedly come into contact with celebrities and have the feeling of knowing these celebrities, quasi-social relationships will occur; creating a sense of intimacy, friendship and relevance with celebrities. Chung and Cho (2017) claimed that social media platforms are conducive to the establishment of quasi-social relationships. In addition, followers can comment on posts that influencers can respond to, thereby building stronger (Halvorsen et al., 2013) and closer relationships (Khamis, Ang, and Welling, 2017). In addition, Halvorsen et al. (2017) claimed that through readers’ self-participation in blogs, advertisements on blogs are being viewed in a more personalized and non-intrusive way. 2.1.3 Authenticity Another aspect that helps build relationships between audiences and influencers is authenticity (Sudha and Sheena, 2017), which is the creation of authentic personal brands on social media (Khamis, Ang and Welling, 2017). Consumers are always looking for authenticity in the market, which includes not only companies or brands, but also individuals. To become real, characters should become an integral part of society (Kadirov, Varey and Wooliscroft, 2014). As a result of this perception, consumers are less resistant to information that is considered true (De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders, 2017). Halvorson et al. (2013) The importance of specifying the personal attributes of the influencer, which strengthens the influence on the audience. In addition, if a blog becomes too commercial, it will lose its influence on fans (Halvorsen et al., 2013). Therefore, positive beliefs about spokespersons should be maintained because they can be transferred to recognized products or brands (Kapitan and Silvera, 2016). Read Less