A recent report by Yuvaa, a youth media insights company reveals that Gen Z (Born between 1997 and 2012) are 50% more inclined to purchase products based on friends’ recommendations rather than relying on influencers or celebrity endorsements.
This shift reflects a significant change in consumer behavior. The era of passive audiences is fading away, replaced by active engagement and formation of communities based on shared interests and values- what we refer to as ‘tribes’.
Social media platforms have become saturated with sponsored posts and advertisements, causing social media users to demand authenticity. Generic, staged content featuring celebrities endorsing teeth whitening kits, boutique clothing or appetite suppressants no longer resonates. Users seek genuine unscripted content to connect with.
Moreover, the rise of fake influencers with artificially inflated engagement on Instagram and Twitter as further contributed to user fatigue and scepticism.
Another factor leading people away from online influencers is an excessive reliance on big name endorsements. How many products will Virat Kohli, Amitabh Bachchan, Alia Bhatt or Deepika Padukone will sell?
Additionally the trend of influencers or brands feigning dedication to global causes for momentary spotlight has raised concerns.
However, this doesn’t imply that influencers don’t have a place in today’s marketing landscape. Instead brands must redefine ‘influencers’. Consumers no longer want to see the same influencers dictating which slimming teas to drink, which fashion brands to buy or where to go on vacation.
Successful brands are those that understand the creation, evolution and defining characteristics of tribes over time.