Brands’ use of famous faces are often thought to drive key feelings of desire in consumers, but amongst the shifting landscape and values of Gen Z – is this still the case? How can brands utilise other types of influencers in order to drive brand loyalty and purchase decisions?
Brands have been using the influencer marketing method for years, knowing full well that a face can bring the reassurance of instant familiarity, association, interest and emotional engagement. Seeing people in an advert, particularly touching or using a product, can generate feelings of wanting in humans, a phenomenon called ‘mimetic desire’.
Brands benefit from influencer marketing because of increased consumer exposure and brand awareness. Brands need to create trust and loyalty between themselves and the consumer, so choosing carefully which type of influencer your brand uses is key.
In any industry, there will always be influential people. Influencers aren’t always globe-trotting bikini ‘grammers, they can also be cosmetics connoisseurs, cybersecurity genius bloggers, celebrity chefs, or even motivational marketers on LinkedIn. Essentially, what gives these people power to affect the purchasing decisions of others is their targeted followings on the web and social media.
The scale of influencers shown promoting a product and our individual associations with them can drastically affect our feelings towards the product and subsequently your brand. The types of influencers range through the size of their audience. They may only have 10,000 followers or they could have millions; take a look at the breakdown of the tiers of influencers below:
There has been a radical societal shift in values over the last few years, particularly within Gen Z (the generation born between 1997 and 2012). Research shows that Gen Z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in history, with their gender and identity views consequently being largely untraditional.
Unlike Millennials before them, Gen Z no longer forms opinions of brands based solely on the quality of their service or products, nor simply because a ‘cool’ celebrity uses it. Gen Z focuses more on the ethical and social practices of a brand, reflecting their untraditional views.
This has led to a fall in the effectiveness of traditional celebrity endorsed macro, hero and mega-influencer marketing techniques. Whilst it was previously the case that famous faces were seen to imply status or glamour, Gen Z desires authenticity and transparency.
Brands recognise now that steering away from the use of large scale influencers and towards nano and micro-influencers creates stronger brand trust and brand loyalty. A word from a small influencer can have a much bigger impact than one who has hundreds of thousands of followers, through their authentic following and closer relationships to their audiences.
Influencers with an Instagram or TikTok following of 1,000 to 50,000, have engagement rates over double someone with a following of 50,000+, meaning using smaller influencers is a cost-effective method to attract relevant customers to your brand and give you a competitive edge over your rivals.
At Bulla Connect, we understand that friends buy from friends, and we harness the power of the student market, knowing that students have a predominantly student following, meaning we know who will be seeing your brand.
Essentially, if you want your brand to succeed in the scrutinous eyes of Gen Z, ditch the famous faces and use small-scale influencers and relatable people to promote your products!