With fake news everywhere, and people more aware than ever that what they’re reading or hearing may not actually be true, scepticism about what brands say and do is much higher than before.
Consumers just aren’t ‘buying’ brand stories in the same way they did in years past. They demand more information and clarity, they yearn for a more honest and open relationship with brands, and – above all – they hate being lied to.
The last year has seen an explosion in the number of brands that utilised influencer marketing, and brands have found they can gain authenticity by turning for help from YouTube stars, vloggers, Instagram users with huge followers, not to mention celebrities, that consumers identify closely with and listen to. As a result, some 39% of marketers confirmed that they will raise their influencer marketing budget over the next 12 months, with many more dipping their toes in the already crowded waters.
Why are influencers so successful? Because consumers find them more credible and relatable than traditionally authoritative voices; a less polished, more authentic, intimate voice which moves us to change our behaviours or opinions. And it’s this authentic voice which is key.
Studies prove that customers prefer brands they perceive to be authentic and honest. Stackla recently conducted their Consumer Content Report, surveying 2,000 adults in the US, UK and Australia to discover what content they create, trust, reference and are influenced by. The results showed that consumers crave authenticity more than ever; 86% of those surveyed said authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.
Brands must therefore ensure influencers align with their brand and put in the effort to identify, vet and select the most appropriate influencer – someone with a real affinity for the brand whose tone of voice, values, and audience are in tune with the brand and whose own values map on to the company’s brand pillars. Last year, the Body Shop partnered with several famous Instagram pet accounts for its digital campaign “Forever Against Animal Testing.” Some influencers even acted above and beyond brief, posting extra content across numerous channels. The resulting social media storm had a combined reach of 26 million and made The Body Shop’s voice even more authentic.
Building trust is a time-consuming investment, but done right, it will result in the ultimate achievement: a true advocate for your brand.