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Deinfluencing: Are we reaching the end of the influencer era?

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What is deinfluencing?

So, you may have heard of influencing. Influencers (individuals with a significant number of followers) on popular social media sites, like Instagram and influencer marketing hub TikTok, either try products sent to them for free and give their honest feedback or advertise products as part of brand partnerships to their followers. But have you heard of deinfluencing?

Deinfluencing is sort of the opposite of influencing. It’s similar, in that it consists of influencers trying to persuade their followers, but different in that deinfluencing tries to encourage followers not to buy things. Essentially, deinfluencing hinges itself on ending “vapid consumerism” by discouraging over consumption. However, this isn’t all deinfluencing is. After all, what is it to marketers if it is simply discouraging consumption?

The rise of cancel culture

Deinfluencing is actually more specifically about honesty. In fact, honesty is an effective influencing tool – part of the reason why certain influencers have so much sway with their followers is that they don’t promote products and services they don’t genuinely believe to be worthwhile.

This trend has something a little to do with the rise of so called cancel culture – something influencers, known for being chronically online with their thoughts and behaviours, are uniquely vulnerable to. While the term cancel culture itself is hotly debated – is it a real thing or is it a scaremongering technique? – it’s certainly not contested that online accountability is more of a thing than ever before.

As a result of online accountability, influencers are clearly being more selective over the brands they align themselves with, leading to the rise of deinfluencing.

How influencer marketing made and then broke a brand

Morphe, a make up brand founded in Los Angeles, was once valued at $2 billion thanks to partnerships with influencers such as Jeffree Star and James Charles. The brand had worked with influencers for years and its rise in popularity could be largely put down to the work of youtubers like Jaclyn Hill.

However, in 2020 Jeffree Star was accused of using racist language. And in 2021, sexual misconduct allegations were leveraged against James Charles. As a result, 2021 profits plummeted overall by about 20%. But particularly for the revenue tied to Charles and Star - who didn’t just promote the products but had their own sections of the store – which fell by 66%.

Consequentially, in early 2023 the brand announced it was closing all of its US based stores, indicating the pros and cons of influencer marketing and its power to both make or break a business.

So, is influencer marketing over?

Well, no. In fact, it could be said that deinfluencing is actually just another arm to influencing, and perhaps an even more powerful one at that. Because while digital marketing influencers may discourage the over consumption of products and services that they feel aren’t worth the price brands are asking, their selectivity over which brands they promote will speak much louder than indiscriminate product pushing.

Deinfluencing, therefore, argues that it’s not about how much consumers have. (As we know that overconsumption is bad for the planet.) Rather, deinfluencing encourages selectivity to ensure high quality purchases from brands that are known for being good to both people and planet.

So, it could be said that deinfluencing is actually the process of consumers influencing brands themselves. Consumers have shown where their loyalties lie – when Matter’s 2020 Influencer Survey asked what the most important attribute was when learning about a company, product, or brand, consumers’ top choice was authenticity (39%). Digital marketing influencers are simply responding to this preference by leaning into deinfluencing, and brands who understand this are best placed to profit from the trend.

 

What brands might benefit from deinfluencing?

Brands that want to tap in to the deinfluencing trend need to have a grip on this concept of influencer authenticity. Because authenticity is the nucleus of what deinfluencing is all about. Essentially, just because your brand has used influencers before and seen success in this area doesn’t mean that your brand will benefit from deinfluencing. To capitalise on deinfluencing, your brand needs to represent something that influencers can ethically, socially, and genuinely get behind.

That means, if your product or service is the best of its kind, if you know you will comparatively come out tops to other brands in your arena (regardless of price point), if your customer service is exemplary, if you are a diverse business, and if you tend to put your money where your mouth is, you could benefit from deinfluencing.

Taking advantage of this, however, isn’t as simple as engaging influencers in promoting your brand, because that’s still just influencing. Deinfluencing relies on deinfluencing certain products to build follower trust, allowing influencers to then promote other products in the long run. Firstly, this requires playing the long game. Secondly, this requires a willingness to say why your product is better than your competitors’. So, in this case, if your brand isn’t afraid to make a few waves and, perhaps, a few enemies, deinfluencing is for you.

 

Ready to make some waves?

To find out more about the pros of influencer marketing and how your business might make the most of deinfluencing to grow your business in 2023, drop us a message here and we’ll be in touch.

 

What is deinfluencing?

So, you may have heard of influencing. Influencers (individuals with a significant number of followers) on popular social media sites, like Instagram and influencer marketing hub TikTok, either try products sent to them for free and give their honest feedback or advertise products as part of brand partnerships to their followers. But have you heard of deinfluencing?

Deinfluencing is sort of the opposite of influencing. It’s similar, in that it consists of influencers trying to persuade their followers, but different in that deinfluencing tries to encourage followers not to buy things. Essentially, deinfluencing hinges itself on ending “vapid consumerism” by discouraging over consumption. However, this isn’t all deinfluencing is. After all, what is it to marketers if it is simply discouraging consumption?

The rise of cancel culture

Deinfluencing is actually more specifically about honesty. In fact, honesty is an effective influencing tool – part of the reason why certain influencers have so much sway with their followers is that they don’t promote products and services they don’t genuinely believe to be worthwhile.

This trend has something a little to do with the rise of so called cancel culture – something influencers, known for being chronically online with their thoughts and behaviours, are uniquely vulnerable to. While the term cancel culture itself is hotly debated – is it a real thing or is it a scaremongering technique? – it’s certainly not contested that online accountability is more of a thing than ever before.

As a result of online accountability, influencers are clearly being more selective over the brands they align themselves with, leading to the rise of deinfluencing.

How influencer marketing made and then broke a brand

Morphe, a make up brand founded in Los Angeles, was once valued at $2 billion thanks to partnerships with influencers such as Jeffree Star and James Charles. The brand had worked with influencers for years and its rise in popularity could be largely put down to the work of youtubers like Jaclyn Hill.

However, in 2020 Jeffree Star was accused of using racist language. And in 2021, sexual misconduct allegations were leveraged against James Charles. As a result, 2021 profits plummeted overall by about 20%. But particularly for the revenue tied to Charles and Star - who didn’t just promote the products but had their own sections of the store – which fell by 66%.

Consequentially, in early 2023 the brand announced it was closing all of its US based stores, indicating the pros and cons of influencer marketing and its power to both make or break a business.

So, is influencer marketing over?

Well, no. In fact, it could be said that deinfluencing is actually just another arm to influencing, and perhaps an even more powerful one at that. Because while digital marketing influencers may discourage the over consumption of products and services that they feel aren’t worth the price brands are asking, their selectivity over which brands they promote will speak much louder than indiscriminate product pushing.

Deinfluencing, therefore, argues that it’s not about how much consumers have. (As we know that overconsumption is bad for the planet.) Rather, deinfluencing encourages selectivity to ensure high quality purchases from brands that are known for being good to both people and planet.

So, it could be said that deinfluencing is actually the process of consumers influencing brands themselves. Consumers have shown where their loyalties lie – when Matter’s 2020 Influencer Survey asked what the most important attribute was when learning about a company, product, or brand, consumers’ top choice was authenticity (39%). Digital marketing influencers are simply responding to this preference by leaning into deinfluencing, and brands who understand this are best placed to profit from the trend.

 

What brands might benefit from deinfluencing?

Brands that want to tap in to the deinfluencing trend need to have a grip on this concept of influencer authenticity. Because authenticity is the nucleus of what deinfluencing is all about. Essentially, just because your brand has used influencers before and seen success in this area doesn’t mean that your brand will benefit from deinfluencing. To capitalise on deinfluencing, your brand needs to represent something that influencers can ethically, socially, and genuinely get behind.

That means, if your product or service is the best of its kind, if you know you will comparatively come out tops to other brands in your arena (regardless of price point), if your customer service is exemplary, if you are a diverse business, and if you tend to put your money where your mouth is, you could benefit from deinfluencing.

Taking advantage of this, however, isn’t as simple as engaging influencers in promoting your brand, because that’s still just influencing. Deinfluencing relies on deinfluencing certain products to build follower trust, allowing influencers to then promote other products in the long run. Firstly, this requires playing the long game. Secondly, this requires a willingness to say why your product is better than your competitors’. So, in this case, if your brand isn’t afraid to make a few waves and, perhaps, a few enemies, deinfluencing is for you.

 

Ready to make some waves?

To find out more about the pros of influencer marketing and how your business might make the most of deinfluencing to grow your business in 2023, drop us a message here and we’ll be in touch.

 

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