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Trust in influencer marketing

A qualitative study on audience reception of Royal Design advertising

Written by N. Leikas, K. Szkwarek

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Thesis: Influencer marketing The core concept of our research is influencer marketing. Although it is a relatively new field, a large number of researchers have been interested in this topic before. More than 10 years ago, Brown and Hayes (2008: 3) issued a statement saying that traditional marketing has been "broken" because it no longer serves its ultimate goal-creating sales. The author accuses marketing of being rigid and insensitive to people's needs, demanding attention without interacting with the audience or listeners. According to them, the core of the problem is as follows: "(...) Your potential customers don’t believe you. You are selling something, which means you are biased. Potential customers may like your information, but they want to learn from what they trust People hear it" (ibid.: 5). They believe that consumers' trust in service and product suppliers is declining because companies are biased towards their own agendas (ibid.: 70). In addition, they mean that traditional advertising is more likely to be overlooked than recommendations with familiar faces (ibid.: 73). The emergence of influencer marketing seems to be the innovation that Brown and Hayes (2008) aspire to. Today, many brands use a technique common in the 1980s and 1990s in their influencer collaborations, namely word-of-mouth marketing (also introduced in chapter 4.2.1 of the study). Concepts that are critical to their success include, Other, credibility and source attractiveness (Lim et al., 2017). Online platforms have created new persuasive possibilities for achieving marketing goals. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle has studied the strategic use of language (Hogan, 2012). After many centuries, it began to develop in various fields. In the field of marketing, a concept called marketing rhetoric emerged (Miles & Nilsson, 2018). It includes strategies for successful and persuasive communication with consumers that continuously bring the audience into agreement with role models on specific issues (Miles & Nilsson, 2018; Ge & Gretzel, 2018). Influencers can take advantage of this in a variety of ways; for example, by emphasizing their proficiency or expertise, referring to the follower’s value system, or arousing certain feelings, such as needs and desires. In addition, social media and online messaging provide an additional non-verbal communication method, namely emoji (Ge and Gretzel, 2018). They are believed to convey a meaning that can add new value to the text, thus strengthening the persuasive process initiated by the brand. According to Glucksman (2017), the reason why companies are interested in working with social media influencers is to increase brand awareness and establish brand image. In this context, Internet celebrities “really become the ultimate connection between brands and consumers” (ibid.: 78). However, Brown & Fiorella (2013) claimed that the word "influence" is often too simplistic in today's world. Through online celebrity marketing, direct communication between brands and consumers is interrupted, and a large number of social media accounts and a large amount of data challenge the trust of online celebrities. Consumers’ awareness of influencer marketing functions is increasing; they are beginning to realize that the content of influencer-sponsored posts is usually carefully designed by brands to convey a certain promotion or brand image (Kadekova & Holienčinová, 2018). Influencers who use social media for these purposes will be criticized, and the credibility of celebrity spokespersons will be questioned (ibid.). It turns out that the success of advertising messages depends not only on the number of followers of influencers, but also on their popularity and popularity (De Veirman et al., 2017), which may make it difficult for advertisers to choose suitable influencers Work with it. 3.2. Audience research Since we will analyze influencer marketing reception in this article, our work is firmly rooted in audience research. A large number of studies have shown that the understanding and nature of audiences have changed over the years (Livingstone & Das, 2013; Livingstone, 2015; Martínez-Costa & Prata, 2017). Once, sitting on a sofa with the whole family to watch a scheduled TV show was a popular pastime among children and adults (Livingstone & Das, 2013). In today's world, people would rather spend time alone staring at a mobile phone or computer screen, chatting with friends on social media, networking, downloading content from the Internet, and playing online games, usually doing multiple tasks at the same time (ibid.). The one-way communication between the media and its users has been replaced by multi-way communication, which has changed their audience with the emergence of new communication and entertainment platforms. The accessibility of Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook has created unprecedented possibilities for media users to generate ideas, provide feedback, and share content (Woo, 2008). Users continue to use social media platforms to not only view, but also modify, discuss and even create their own content (Kietzmann et al., 2011). Therefore, Livingstone & Das (2013) questioned the relevance of the term "audience" and suggested some possible alternatives, such as "people formerly known as spectators" or "citizens-consumers" (ibid.: 9). These new terms refer to audiences who actively participate in the creation of the media field, rather than just passively consuming content. The creative possibilities brought about by ubiquitous social media enable some people to build their online presence and earn a reputation for themselves, while others can follow on various platforms and participate to some extent in the influencer’s daily life Life. Read Less