Brands depend on real people to influence shopping

According to IRX, 45 per cent of 1000 consumers trusted recommendations from a brand compared to 29 per cent who trusted online influencers and fashion bloggers on Instagram and YouTube.

Power of online influencers

The clue to what is really going on lies in the fact that IRX discovered that online influencers are more trusted for shopping recommendations compared to national newspapers (26 per cent), media celebrities (18 per cent) and fashion magazines (17 per cent).

Add to this the fact that the 16-24 age group, the very people who are impacting the way we shop so profoundly, are influenced by online influencers, a lot more that the 55+ age group (seven per cent).

Real people, real influence

What the research really shows therefore is that brands have to do two things; one is to ensure that they embrace all sources of influence, and two is generally make sure that they make best use of real human beings, be they influencers or shop staff, given that the survey also found that shop assistants are valued the same as online influencers – both 24 per cent.

Ultimately, this is a trust issue in a world where trust in traditional institutions is on the decline. One can almost sense a return to peer to peer communications that involve real people talking openly about their preferences.

Authenticity rules

What brands now need to explore is better ways to plug people in, because celebrities are definitely getting that wrong – using mainstream marketing channels that simply pump out pre-prepared messages rather than speaking directly and authentically.

They also need to find more authentic ways of using the voice of the customer in the influencer spectrum, because arguably, the most trusted party is a customer that has already bought something and can offer both experience and expertise to a fellow customer.

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