How to win the right friends – and influence the right people
Younger audiences are choosing very different sources of inspiration and influence – and marketing strategies need to respond.
By Kantar TNS — November, 2016
At the recent Milan fashion show for Dolce & Gabbana, editors of long-established industry bibles like Vogue found themselves relegated to the second row. Most of the young people on the sought-after seats in front of them didn’t work for major media brands or established fashion magazines; instead their influence comes from the number of people following them online. They were there because Dolce & Gabbana’s key audiences have decided they are a more relevant source of style ideas and inspiration.
Those in charge of the seating arrangements at fashion shows aren’t the only marketers reacting to this fundamental change in where influence comes from. If brands are to form the right partnerships and influence the right people, it’s vital they understand how the new influence works.
How social media shifted authority
One of the most striking findings in this year’s Connected Life survey from Kantar TNS is the extent to which authority and credibility has shifted. Four out of ten 16 to 24-year-olds say that “most of the content I watch is produced by individuals: either other users/people like me, or celebrities I follow.” And it’s not just the younger generations that have made this switch. In several markets we can see pretty significant consumption of influencer-generated content across the generations.
Those new influencers include the likes of Swedish gaming blogger PewdiePie (the most watched individual on YouTube with 48 million followers) and Wang Sicong, son of China’s richest man, who boasts 21 million followers on Weibo. However, they also include many thousands of less famous influencers, who may specialise in areas as niche as clean eating, hair styling, exercise, or training dogs, and have established large networks of people who regularly consume their content..
Social media has changed the landscape of influence, with the user-friendly nature of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat lowering the barriers to entry when it comes to producing content that looks and feels credible. Influence depends less on having expensive editorial and technical resources – it resides with those who instinctively understand what makes an audience tick.