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A world full of influences

A quantitative study on how Generation Z’s view of a brand’s trustworthiness are affected by Influencers wrongdoings

Written by J. Samuelsson, E. Tornhed

Paper category

Bachelor Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Thesis: Generation Z, brands and influencers 2.1.1 Generation Z is also called "iGeneration" because they are the first generation who grew up in the digital world and do not know the world without Internet access (Cho, A. Bonn & Jin Han, 2018). Generation Z differs from other generations in attitudes and lifestyles, mainly because of how their lives are shaped by the digital world, but also because they grew up in a world with severe economic crisis, rampant terrorism and climate change. This generation has a negative and moderate view of the world around them (DuPont, 2015). In addition, DuPont (2015) pointed out that Gen Z’s views on taboo topics in the world have changed dramatically, such as the use of marijuana, which makes Gen Z more open-minded than other generations. As we all know, Generation Z is a generation with high academic qualifications and high IQ. They strive to pursue a fulfilling and satisfying professional life, and are more confident than the previous generation Y generation (Cho et al., 2018; Priporas et al., et al., 2017 ). Generation Z is a large generation. In the United States, they account for 25% of the population, more than the baby boomers and Generation Y after World War II (DuPont, 2015). Since Gen Z is often connected online, they have become the most targeted generation in history (Budac, 2015). Through their lifestyle of dealing with multiple tasks at the same time, Generation Z has become a self-aware generation, and they hope to be confirmed by others to enhance their self-image (Budac, 2015). Gen Z has a consumption pattern where they make purchasing decisions based on recommendations from influencers and friends and trends on social media (Priporas et al., 2017). Priporas, (2017) believe that Gen Z has high expectations for retail brands. Since they are easily bored, they need an experience to maintain interest in the brand, and their brand loyalty is low compared to other generations. As a generation that forms attitudes and behaviors towards the world around them, Generation Z values ​​everything about transparency, honesty and truthfulness, even when it comes to brands (DuPont, 2015; Budac, 2014). The literature on the age span of Generation Z is divided (Rowlands, Nicholas, Williams, Huntington, Fieldhouse, Gunter, Whitney, Jamali, Moallem, Dobrowolski and Tenopir, 2008; Geck, 2006; DuPont, 2015; Seemiller & Grace, 2017; Budak, 2015). Some people believe that generation Z was born as early as 1990 (Geck, 2006), some believe that this generation began with people born in 1993 (Rowlands et al., 2008), and some believe that generation Z began around 1996 (DuPont, 2015), some people pointed out that Gen Z was born in the late 1990s (Budac, 2015). Due to differences in the literature, the period from 1995 to 2010 will be the generation Z referred to in this article. Melin and Urde (1991) developed the brand pyramid, which describes the core of how a brand is constructed. The brand pyramid consists of three elements: product, positioning and trademark. Initially, this process starts with making consumers aware of the product, and then establishing an association with the brand. Finally, these two first steps will build brand awareness among the target group. These three elements are controlled by the brand. Through the perfect symbiosis between these elements, a strong connection with the brand's target group can be established (Melin & Urde, 1991). Byrne's (2004) definition of brand is similar to Murphy's (1988) and believes that brands are not just their products or services, but their values ​​and relationships with consumers. A brand is a lasting impression and provides expectations for branded products or services (Byrne, 2004). In addition, Byrne (2004) claimed that successful brands not only provide outstanding products or services, but also communicate their values ​​and generate these values ​​in their products or services. 2.1.3 Influencers When brands use well-known and likable celebrities to promote their products or services, it is called celebrity endorsement (Zafer-Erdogan, 1999). A celebrity spokesperson is considered a person whose credibility is based on expertise, credibility and attractiveness (Spry, Pappu, Cornwell, 2011). The reason for using celebrity endorsements is to produce greater publicity effects (Pringle and Binet, 2005). As a communication tool, celebrity endorsements will have an impact on the brand, because the credibility of the spokesperson will be transferred to the credibility of the brand. A more credible spokesperson will lead to a higher brand credibility (Spry, et. al., 2011, p.886). Angela (2008) claimed that celebrities and brands need to be well matched to ensure consumers’ Understanding happens immediately. Otherwise, it may be difficult for the brand to guarantee the association between the brand created by the consumer and the celebrity. The celebrity spokespersons of the 21st century are called digital media influencers (Kapitan & Silvera, 2016). According to the definition of Bergkvist and Zhous (2016, p.644), there are similarities between traditional celebrity spokespersons and social media influencers: “Celebrity endorsements are agreements between individuals (celebrities) and entities (such as brands) who enjoy public recognition Use celebrities to promote entities". According to Page Winterridge and others. al., (2018) Credibility, expertise and credibility describe the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements. Silvera and Austad (2004) stated that if the spokesperson really likes the product, consumers will be strongly influenced by the spokesperson. Zumaka et al., (2014) and Page Winterich et al. al., (2018) believes that credibility is the two aspects of honesty and the ability of individuals to trust the sender's information. Read Less