Advertising has certainly evolved dramatically over the years, however its purpose has remained the same – to persuade a group of people to believe in something, buy something or act on something. The way in which a message is presented, has also evolved. Once upon a time, ads were exceedingly product-focused. In the early 1900s for example, advertisements sought to coax consumers into purchasing products through misleading information and slogans. In the 1940s, cigarette company Camel went as far as trying to make tobacco appear healthy, in an attempt to drive sales. Today, these techniques simply don’t work. The only effective way to convince an audience to engage with a brand is to communicate a solution to a common problem.
This poses an interesting challenge for brands trying to sell their products to the modern consumer. Striving to make sales on a product to a specific target audience that isn’t aware they’re being sold to, is no easy feat. This why brands are working closely with social influencers to reach their target audiences. Large retail companies have discovered that leveraging the reach of an influencer to their followers is helping them break through the noise and stand out.
What makes influencer marketing so effective, is that followers are able to hear the benefits of a product from real people. Today’s audience does not want to be sold to. We live in a world where brands no longer speak directly to consumers. People now speak to each other about brands. Let’s take Crest white strips for example. People are more likely to believe a friend that tells them through word of mouth that white strips work, than to trust the tv commercial of the model girl with sparkling “fake” teeth.
So, what’s the psychology behind it?
Real people are more relatable. Let’s face it, most of us have nothing in common with the rich, glamorous rock star with no apparent imperfections and a seemingly perfect life. The real influencer mom on the other hand, cooking from her authentic kitchen is the kind of life we’re more inclined to understand and connect with on a deeper level. Influencers today utilize their authenticity and voice to speak to the right audience in a relatable way. In addition, they are much easier to engage with on a collaboration. Getting a celebrity with a huge following to promote a product can cost a brand millions of dollars. This is nowhere near the costs correlated with blogger outreach and attracting an influencer to commit to a campaign.
Consumer buying behavior has shifted dramatically, especially after the pandemic hit. People no longer want to wait long lines in their favorite stores for that pair of running shoes. They prefer to do their research, learn what other people are saying about it and make their purchases online. The surge in online shopping means retailers need to differentiate themselves from their competition to survive. Now more than ever, staying ahead in this digital world means collaborating with influencers for brand awareness. According to BigCommerce.com, nearly 90% of marketers found ROI in influencer marketing campaigns in 2020 alone. And, this number will only continue to grow.
Trust is key when it comes to the relationship between social media influencers and their followers. The level of trust built by influencers is almost impossible for a brand to achieve. People follow, and people listen to people they trust. Psychologists have preached for years about how a healthy relationship is one built on trust. Well, influencers build so-called “relationships” with their followers. Thus, you had better believe a dedicated following will be more inclined to make purchases after hearing their favorite blogger’s product recommendation.
Interestingly, people connect with things and people they are familiar with. This is what makes brand logos so important. A brand needs a symbol to be remembered by, therefore the more your customers see your logo, the more trust is created. This might explain why McDonald’s symbolic golden arches have not changed since their inception back in the early 1960s. The big “M” is one of the most recognizable logos in the world and its lasting impression has been a key contributor to the success of this massive fast food chain.