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Ben Hollom
Ben Hollom 16 August 2018

Micro-influencer marketing: the end of celebrity endorsements?

Brands are beginning to turn their backs on influencers with massive followings. The solution? Micro-influencer marketing...

In the marketing world, bigger was once considered better. The greater the audience, the greater brand impact. With their mass appeal, celebrities became the Holy Grail for marketing campaign success and brands would throw money at famous faces in order to cash in on their global following. Who can forget when Pepsi paid Beyonce $50m for an endorsement deal?

But is their purchasing power starting to diminish? It’s no secret that brands are facing growing consumer distrust. And who can blame them? Today’s consumers are incredibly savvy and they can smell inauthenticity a mile off. A sports star might share how a Nike product has upped their game this week but next week they could be pushing trainers from Reebok.

Celebs aren’t the only ones who are guilty of this, the big social influencers are starting to fall into the same traps.

Consumers want authenticity and they’re struggling to get it. But they’re not the only ones – brands are fed up too.

As Pernod’s chief marketing officer, Thibaut Portal told Independent.ie: “We are not interested in working with big, massive influencers with four or five million followers (when) the week after, the same influencer is going to post a picture of a washing machine.”

So, what’s the solution? Micro-influencers, of course.

Micro’s macro effect

While Golin’s UK Influencer Consumer Attitudes Report 2018 found that a quarter of consumers are driven by influencer recommendations, it also revealed a growing appetite for micro-influencers who provide a more personal and relatable connection.

British consumers are a third more likely to engage with a ‘real life’ influencer who conveys an honest depiction of their lives. Micro-influencers took the top spot of the 10 most popular types of influencer, beating journalists, celebrities, and thought-leaders.

Explaining the increasing popularity of micro-influencers to PR Moment, Golin’s executive director of strategy and innovation Will Cooke said: “Our report found that consumers increasingly favour ‘real life’ and ‘honest’ influencers who reflect their values. Consumers are savvy enough to see through hype, polish and false perfection and are not prompted to purchase by influencers simply because they have status or massive reach.”

Micro-influencers provide consumers with the authenticity they’ve been striving for.

Is the end nigh?

Celebrities may continue to have an impact on their fans but influence doesn’t always equate to being an influencer. Fans aren’t always followers, if you catch our drift.

Celebrities are an unattainable aspiration whereas micro-influencers are more relatable – they’re like the cool one in your friendship group who everyone looked up to and respected (if you don’t think you had one, congrats – it was probably you!). Would you rather your brand was seen as being unattainable or relatable?

I don’t think the likes of Beyonce and Kim Kardashian have to worry about their fortunes just yet. But if brands really want to partner up for long-term campaigns, they’re better off turning their attention to micro-influencers with a real passion for their product.

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