Influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements have little effect on how consumers view a brand, according to a recent report from customer review platform Feefo.
The 2021 Brand Perception Report spoke to 2,000 people from the UK about their shopping habits and attitudes towards favourite brands, and how the global pandemic has impacted these considerations.
It found that a company’s actions and words, as well as its ‘brand values’, now play a key role in whether or not a consumer makes a purchase. Almost two-thirds (61%) said an influencer being associated with a brand or product had no impact on whether they would hand over their cash, and only 12% of respondents said they think influencer marketing has a positive impact on brand perception — and that’s only if they like the celebrity or influencer. Increasingly, consumers are looking for brands to prove their social responsibility themselves rather than gain kudos by association with a celebrity.
How a company behaves is becoming more important to shoppers, with some even suggesting they’d be willing to walk away if they didn’t like what they saw. The data suggests that, now more than ever, it’s essential for brands to focus on their own behaviour and ideals to attract customers and build relationships, rather than rely on influencers to promote them. And they must do this quickly. ActionCard revealed that it takes an average of 10 seconds for consumers to form an opinion of a company.
The Marketing Director of Feefo, Keith Povey commented: “It’s been an incredibly volatile 12 months for businesses, which has seen a seismic shift in consumer behaviour, some aspects of which will have a long-lasting effect on how buyers think, act and spend. That said, our research shows that for those businesses that are agile and realign their marketing strategies, there are many opportunities to improve brand awareness, perception and loyalty. Those that respond and act with the medium to long term in mind will see greater returns over the next few years than those that see this period as nothing more than a dip, due to external circumstances.”
Instead of relying on influencers to sell their products or services, brands are being urged to communicate their message clearly and build meaningful and purposeful relationships with their customers. The report from Feefo also found that online reviews were very important to consumers or building trust before making a purchase. Other activities shoppers like to do before committing to buy is doing their own research and shopping for a product or service online. Almost two-fifths (38%) said they were influenced by the digital and website experience as a whole.
Povey continued: “The report clearly highlights the need, and opportunity, for brands to invest more in defining who they are, what they believe in and how they operate. Effectively communicating this demonstrates how, by giving business to the brand, the customers will be supporting a transparent, trustworthy and socially responsible business. In other words, it is imperative to invest in creating a brand with a purpose.”
Despite these findings, a study from the Influencer Marketing Hub revealed that the celebrity and influencer marketing industry will be worth around $13.8 billion in 2021, with companies dedicating a large portion of their annual budget to such marketing activity.
While we can’t say for certain what the future holds for brands and influencer marketing, one thing’s for sure — consumer preferences are maturing every year and shoppers now want a brand that is honest, transparent and conscious.
Instead of being impressed by big names promoting specific items, consumers are increasingly more interested in whether or not a brand is taking a stance against specific societal issues and whether sustainability has a focus in their overall strategy. The findings are definitely something worth thinking about for those who hold the purse strings to a company’s marketing budget. Defining your brand’s message could be the key to unlocking a large section of potential consumers with an ear out to who on the market is making ethical choices that most align with their world view.