Campaign India Team
Nov 17, 2017

The rise and rise of the influencer

A study by the InterPublic Group in association with FCB Cogito consulting is a reminder that authenticity is the principal root of healthy brand-consumer relationships.

The rise and rise of the influencer
IPG and their group company FCB Cogito Consulting have released the findings of a global research that looks at changing consumer behavior in the context of digital disruption. The research covers 7 countries -- India, Russia, Brazil, China, South Africa, the USA and the UK. The 600 sample-size per country is equally split across youth, young adults and baby boomers, with an equal number of males and females in each age group. This is the fifth wave of the research, findings of which are unveiled every 18 months. 
India scored the highest on ‘initiating product conversations and actively advocating brands’ 
- “giving brand opinions to friends more often”
-  the perceived value of this activity in terms of the respect earned. (Attribute: people value me and my knowledge about certain products)
From the buyers’ side, India also scored the highest among all countries on 
“I regularly consult blogs (and social media) for finding new ideas about products”
Rapidly growing consumer referrals activity are heavily influencing the consumer choice. One fall-out of digital disruption is the mountain of information getting beamed at consumers. Does this overwhelm them? Bore them? Disturb them? Force a disconnection? No. Consumers around the world (except China) are increasingly claiming that such ‘information availability has made them more confident in their brand choice’.
What’s more? As per consumers, increased information has increased their satisfaction with the brands. Consumers have given rising ratings to ‘finding information on brands as a fulfilling activity’. India leads the world in ratings on all these three parameters. Information, therefore, is probably one of the most cost effective ways of boosting customer satisfaction. 
Globally, one can witness rising ratings on ‘My knowledge about brands enhances my self-esteem’ and ‘people value my knowledge of certain product categories’ tell the story behind. In fact, social value of such information has shown a dramatic rise in India and Brazil. 
In all countries (except Russia), consumers are holding brands to a higher standard. Year after year, India tops the list. 
The prevalence of “fake” news has increased the focus on seeking authentic brand information. The rating on ‘I am spending more time evaluating products’ has gone up rapidly. But not all information on digital media is equally trusted. In 6 out of 7 countries in survey, including India, consumers are claiming that they always seek out trusted sources of information. 
Where is this trusted information to be found? In US, Brazil, China and India, consumers are admitting to have purchased based on recommendation of someone whose content they follow on social media. 
The survey highlights the rise of the influencer and their advocacy in countries like Brazil, China and India. These countries and the US show high and rising ratings on: 
- I regularly initiate conversation with friends about some brands
- I feel strongly about some brands and I’m an advocate for them
- I influence friends, family or colleagues on which brands to buy
The young Indian consumer segment strongly supports this behavior:
- I feel strongly about some brands and I’m an advocate for them…76% (against 67% average for other age groups)
Interestingly, the key reason for the rise in advocacy is not fiscal. It is the feeling of being valued and admired for expertise in products and categories. 
(To be continued)

Campaign India