Can ‘influencers’ lose their influence?
I was going through my old university essays (there’s a good reason for that, which I’ll share with all of you in the next few weeks) and found an old consumer behaviour dissertation written 2002 (I am not getting any younger!) around the use of celebrities in advertisements.
The topic of the essay was (note the terminology ‘persuasion’ instead of ‘influence’):
Many celebrities who are considered to be persuasive role models appear in advertisements in Britain Does the use of celebrities in such advertisements constitue and effective practice?
Back in the day, I argued that endorsement strategies can be effective in almost any market and could help with product differentiation. 10 years on, and I certainly wouldn’t trust a celebrity. Do I really think that Cheryl Cole uses L’Oreal hair-dye? Nope, besides she has extensions!
Nowadays, we have a little thing called social media where real people endorse products, and generate positive word of mouth. And word of mouth is a lot cheaper than traditional advertising, or celebrity endorsements.
But as brands are jumping on the social media bandwagon, some bloggers and vloggers now want to get paid to blog/vlog about brands, and in my opinion are losing their influence as a result. I totally understand why they want to get paid, but I’ve said it before, there are better ways to monetise a site.
There are some wonderful blogger/brands collaborations out there, but there are also some dreadful ones, like this iJustine Doritos video.
I like iJustine. The video that made her famous really influenced people, and ultimately AT&T eventually reviewed their billing ystem. But the Doritos collaboration is a bad endorsement, and does not influence me in the slightest. YouTube commenters agree with me.
Paid for PR initiative/brand collaborations annoy me rather than influence me, and lack genuine word-of-mouth, which is what social media was originally all about.
Can influencers lose their influence by collaborating with the wrong brands and in the wrong way? I very much think so.