How Brands Can Stay Relevant as Consumer Behavior Shifts Away From Influencers
Demand for authenticity and representation from brands has caused the traditional influencer marketing model — which centered on brand-sponsored content from high-profile social media users — to decrease in its ability to engage and build trust amongst consumers. And with consumer spending starting to decrease as prices continue to climb, retail brands wanting to maintain customer loyalty should consider stepping away from traditional influencers and begin understanding the type of marketing content that will have the most impact in building and maintaining brand favorability.
To understand what type of content resonates with consumers and will have the most impact on consumer buying decisions, a recent survey from EnTribe polled 819 Americans in April 2022 to gather their attitudes towards traditional influencer content.
Consider these findings:
- 85 percent of those surveyed found influencers inauthentic and/or unrelatable;
- only 21 percent stated influencer content positively impacts their perception of a brand, while nearly one-in-three (29 percent) report it negatively impacts their perception;
- if brands incorporated user-generated content (UGC) into marketing initiatives, 84 percent of those surveyed report being more likely to trust the brand, and 77 percent of respondents would be more inclined to purchase their products or services; and
- nearly two-in-three (65 percent) respondents between the ages of 18-44 would be more loyal to a brand if it requested and used content from the respondent in marketing initiatives.
These survey results highlight the opportunity to increase brand loyalty by the strategic use of UGC within marketing initiatives, especially as it relates to social media. This is because UGC allows brands to provide both new and existing customers with confidence in their purchasing decision as they showcase how a relatable, everyday person is benefiting from this brand — similar to receiving a product recommendation from a friend or family member.
In addition to consumers trusting UGC, retailers should also take note that the abundance of brand-sponsored content is starting to wear on consumers. Sixty-four percent of respondents report seeing sponsored content almost every time or every time they open social media apps, with 29 percent reporting sponsored content negatively impacts their brand perception.
So how can retailers effectively utilize and gather UGC?
Brands hoping to begin implementing UGC into their marketing initiatives will need to create a campaign that entices customers to participate. A few ways to initially activate a creator community is through strategies like social media contests or hashtag challenges and providing specific guidelines on the content you’re looking for. Providing customers with low-cost rewards like discount codes or free brand swag that your brand already has on hand is also a quick and easy way to encourage consumers to create and share content.
Of course, to gather content that's of value and can be used within marketing campaigns, retailers will need to work with their customers and provide clear guidelines on the type of content they’re looking to receive to ensure it’s high quality and can be shared. Retail brands can provide QR codes on packages or throughout their stores that bring users right to a submission page, explaining everything consumers need to know about the campaign and providing tips for capturing the best quality content. This can include tips for lighting, camera placement, and ensuring the brand logo is included in the photo. After users submit or upload their content, brands can then obtain clearance from consumers to use it for future marketing initiatives.
As there continues to be a shift of consumer preference towards content that's authentic and meaningful from brands, retailers will need to begin moving away from the traditional influencer model, especially as the market becomes increasingly competitive with a looming recession influencing customers' spending habits. Brands beginning to prioritize their own customers for marketing campaigns will be able to stand out amongst competitors and will ultimately create a community of creators that will have long-lasting impacts on their overall brand.
Adam Dornbusch is the founder and CEO of EnTribe, one of the first SaaS platforms helping build a community of creators for brands.
Adam is a digital media executive with more than 20 years of experience developing content strategies for the world's largest brands. Prior to founding EnTribe, Adam spent four years building the groundbreaking Community Content & Rewards program at GoPro (GoPro Awards). During his tenure at GoPro, Adam’s team licensed millions of photos and videos from the GoPro community for Super Bowl Ads, The GoPro Channel, Out Of Home and In Store marketing.
Before GoPro, Adam was licensing citizen journalism from over 50 countries for Al Gore’s Current TV (acquired for $500M). Adam has spent his career building scalable content communities for GoPro, Current TV, Tribeca Film, Starz/Encore, Jaman, Access 360 Media, and Ripe Digital. Not finding any suitable CRM solutions for creator communities, he decided to build EnTribe.