Diminishing returns of social media influencers for branding and marketing
Influencer marketing is heavily used in Nepal. Afterall, a lot of especially TikTok users must have come across some popular TikToker’s covertly or overtly pushing a certain brand’s product. Through popular social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, brands have been using ‘influencers’ to push their products and services to the general public. However, research suggests that brands’ use of media influencers has been on the decline. So, why are brands moving away from social media influencers?
- Purchase of fake followers
While a brand used to typically contract a media influencer with a belief that a certain celebrity/ ‘influencer’ has a certain number of followers, it has come to light that even the top celebrities invest in fake followers. An independent investigation by Influential, an Ai-based influence market place(ICMP), revealed that even top tier celebs like Ellen Degenereas and Kourtney Kardashian had almost half of their Instagram followers as fake ones. This has led to caution with brands as it revealed how they are not getting the best bang for their buck.
- Repulsed by controversial actions of influencers
Controversial acts by some influencers like PewDiePie and Logan Paul have made brands rethink their position. While ambassadors and influencers can add their value to the brands, it can also go the opposite way. Even in Nepal’s case, Laure’s drug-related arrest was a major embarrassment to the Roadies brand.
- Customer’s distrust of influencers
Some of you might remember the infamous incident where Gal Gadot ‘promoted’ the Huawei phone from her iPhone. By and large, most customers today understand that influencers are not always authentic product users; that they are simply ‘spokesperson’ who charge absorbent money to do the same thing a salesperson does. Also, while most influencers pitch any products as long as they are paid money including FMCG products to tobacco products, consumers are put off by influencers living lavish lifestyles while selling consumers’ basic day-to-day use products and brands.
Research shows that customers tend to trust other customers’ opinions more than any brand ambassadors or social media influencers. Since the Return on Investment(ROI) seems to be unworthy, brands are moving away from media influencers.
At BrandGuff, we have talked about the diminishing returns brand ambassadors provide. Especially in Nepal’s context, the laziness with which influencers or ambassadors used, i.e. with yesteryears celebrities’ iconic characters like that of Maha Jodi or Magne buda, and with global data showing that customers do not trust influencers, it seems like an apt time for Nepalese brands to rethink their marketing and branding strategies. If we think about some of the most nostalgic Nepali ads, very few of them feature known faces. For example, Wai Wai’s ‘Himal Pahad Tarai, hami sabai ko Wai Wai, Chiso vanekai Coca Cola, Jhilke dai all are timeless classics that do not warrant a celeb or influencer to sell their brand/product. Instead of brands spending exorbitant money on faces that are not even trusted, we suggest brands spend their advertising and marketing budget on producing creative ads and marketing campaigns instead. Influencers could help your brand reach more audience( even that is not sure since we talked about celebs and influencers buying fake followers and likes above), however, they can also be a handicap. A brand’s value should be independent of who endorses/ promotes the products. Just an example, Berger Paints still features Kareena Kapoor in their ads on some of the national dailies( cough cough barha bhais) clearly violating our clean feed policy. It is funny that the brand thinks Nepalese consumers buy their products because of a foreign actress endorsing it. Well, there is a popular saying ‘12 barsa kukur ko puchar dhunga ma rakhyo, jasta ko testai’. Unfortunately, the old way of marketing and advertising in Nepal seems to be the same case!