Are ‘viral' creators making it harder for consumers to trust in brands?

Himani Agrawal, Senior Vice-President - Product & Analytics – Hypothesis (Only Much Louder), writes that consumers are tired of seeing repetitive influencer content. Consumers are longing for trust, authenticity and relevance from influencer marketing and compelling brands to look for more authentic ways of engaging with them

BuzzInContent Bureau
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Himani Agrawal

Brands have been increasingly partnering with content creators for quite some time to make their presence felt on social media. However, it's only recently that the majority of brands have recognised the importance of collaborating with these creators.

Creators bring a unique blend of personal narratives and creative ideas to their work, making them a potent asset for brands. The key for brands lies in selecting creators whose content resonates with the specific audience they aim to engage. To achieve this, it's essential for brands and creators to align not just in terms of values but also in creative vision and social consciousness. 

But are consumers saturated with brands promoting their products by viral creators? A number of studies and research carried out in recent times magnifies the fact that consumers are tired of seeing repetitive influencer content. According to a study by EnTribe, found that of those surveyed, 86% stated that they are more likely to trust a brand that publishes user-generated content, compared to just 12%, who are inclined to purchase a product promoted by an influencer. This massive shift in the perception of the consumer can be attributed to a sharp longing for trust, authenticity and relevance and is compelling brands to look for more authentic ways of engaging with their consumers

Influencer marketing and brand democratisation

The concept of brand democratisation is straightforward: as the influence of the general consumer continues to grow, they are becoming the primary drivers behind brands. We are entering an era where people's opinions and actions regarding a brand will have a profound impact, aptly termed the "Brand Democratisation Era."

The world of influencer marketing is witnessing the democratisation of branding. Creators, hailing from diverse backgrounds, are enabling brands to connect with audiences that might have been previously overlooked. This not only broadens a brand's reach but also enhances its appeal, fostering a more inclusive and relatable image. Such collaborations reflect a brand's adaptability in the ever-evolving Digital Age, signalling a willingness to stay in tune with modern trends, a crucial factor in appealing to younger, tech-savvy consumers. Furthermore, aligning with viral content offers a fast track to brand awareness. It can exponentially increase visibility within a short period, yielding a swift return on investment. What's especially advantageous is that these viral moments have the potential to materialise into brand recall, making it easier for consumers to remember a brand in a world of fleeting attention spans. However, to maintain the trust of their customers, brands must be vigilant in avoiding common pitfalls that can erode authenticity and credibility in their influencer marketing efforts.

‘Brand hopping phenomenon’ in influencer marketing & sense of scepticism amongst consumers

The "Brand-Hopping Phenomenon" has emerged as a notable trend in influencer marketing, where viral creators rapidly switch their brand loyalties. This has triggered a sense of scepticism among consumers, who are increasingly questioning the sincerity of every endorsement. The rapidity with which creators jump from one brand to another has raised concerns about the authenticity of these partnerships and whether they are primarily driven by financial gains.

In this landscape, the line between expertise and exaggeration has become blurred. The viral nature of content doesn't necessarily imply expertise, and uninformed or insincere endorsements can lead consumers to mistrust even the brands they once held in high regard. This dilution of trust can be detrimental to both creators and brands.

Another challenge arises from the prevalence of mimicry over authenticity. Viral trends often lead to a proliferation of replicated content formats. In the rush to capitalise on every trending bandwagon, brands risk compromising their unique value and the authenticity of their storytelling. It becomes essential for brands to strike a balance between staying relevant and preserving their identity. One notable effect of this phenomenon is the "Halo Effect," where a viral creator's initial positive image can cast a 'halo' on the brands they promote. However, if creators engage in repeated inauthentic endorsements, it not only tarnishes their own image but can also negatively impact the brands associated with them. This highlights the need for both influencers and brands to maintain consistent authenticity and integrity in their partnerships.

Marketing technology (Martech) and improved brand safety during influencer initiatives

In the realm of influencer marketing, the adoption of Marketing Technology (MarTech) has brought about significant advancements in ensuring brand safety during influencer initiatives. Preserving a brand's reputation and aligning it with the values it upholds is of paramount importance. Marketers and strategists have discovered a variety of technologies that give brand managers quicker access to more accurate information on the influencers and the content they produce. Therefore, to reduce the possibility of undesirable consequences, organizations must thoroughly assess an influencer's content, values, and connection with their audience before launching such initiatives with Martech tools like Hypothesis. When it comes to brand safety practices within influencer campaigns, innovative marketing technology (MarTech) plays a pivotal role. It provides brands with deeper insights of an influencer's credibility and alignment with brand values. MarTech tools like Hypothesis can streamline influencer selection, reducing the risk of undesirable associations and bolstering brand safety. Real-time monitoring of creative content helps maintain control over a company's image and safeguard its trademark values.

In navigating the ever-evolving landscape of influencer marketing, finding the equilibrium between relevance and authenticity is crucial. Consumers are becoming increasingly discerning, and brands need to adapt to these changing expectations to maintain trust and credibility in this dynamic environment.

content content creator influencer marketing brands Hypothesis creators Only Much Louder Viral creator Himani Agarwal