Influencer Marketing

Recently, brands discovered the far-reaching impact and viral growth potential of forging alliances with social media influencers to promote their products. Influencers are referred to as people who have built a sizeable social network of people following them. In addition, they are seen as a regard for being a trusted tastemaker in one or several niches. As brands continue to abandon traditional advertising techniques, efforts are increasingly focused on these influencers to endorse their products among their followers and beyond. These endorsements are likely to be interpreted as highly credible word-of-mouth rather than paid advertising as they are often seamlessly woven into the daily narratives influencers post on their social media accounts. As an answer that maximizes the advantages of word-of-mouth and bypasses shortcomings of traditional advertising techniques, such as avoidance and resistance, brands increasingly focus their efforts on so-called influencers. As opposed to directly targeting the target market through all kinds of advertising, brands aim to encourage highly followed and admired influencers to talk about and recommend their products on social media platforms. In this way, brands may leverage the power of word-of-mouth and market their products indirectly. CEPEC conducts research on the booming phenomenon of influencer marketing, including effects on brand perceptions and evaluations as consumers exposed to it.

This topic is currently part of the PhD research of Marijke De Veirman, under the guidance of Liselot Hudders and Veroline Cauberghe.