The Dark Side of Influencer Marketing
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- Master of Science 
Influencer marketing has over time evolved into a trend within marketing, and more businesses uses it as a tool as they consider this to be an accurate and effective way of doing marketing. As this new trend of marketing products and services has received lot of positive publicity, it's easy to forget that influencer marketing, like many other trends, also has its downsides. This paper addresses the disadvantages associated with influencer marketing, where we want to look further into how negative behavior from an influencer, collaborating with a brand, affects both the influencer and the brand. We want to contribute to the literature by two different studies. Our first study addresses micro influencers negative behavior, by performing between subjects experiments with pre- and post tests. We seek to understand how brands and influencers will be affected due to influencers negative behavior, and if different combinations of influencers (lifestyle- and expert influencers), products (hedonic or utilitarian) and comment section (none, positive or negative) will moderate this effect. We found it to be some differences related to this as expert influencers, when combined with utilitarian products and no comment section, received lower attitude scores from participants on the micro influencers perceived expertise. We found social proof to have an effect when expert influencers were paired with hedonic products. Here, we saw that participants evaluated the expert influencer less favorable when a negative comment section was added. Besides this, marketing products through influencers makes an illusion of the promoted product being a recommendation rather than commercial, which let us believe that influencers will take most of the harm related to negative publicity for bad behavior. We found that brands who collaborates with negatively behaving influencers will experience some form of fallback, as respondents attitude and willingness to purchase the product decreased after treatment. Furthermore, we found this decrease in attitude to be larger for the negatively behaving influencer than for the brand. Our second experiment addresses self congruence. We believe that consumers are more able to identify more with influencers as they fall somewhere between celebrities and personal relations. We find this relevant as brands today have to make trade offs related to whether they should appeal to consumers actual- or ideal self in their marketing. This second study is therefore constructed to compare how consumers relate to influencers and celebrities, and found that respondents had greater ability to compare their actual self towards influencers rather than celebrities.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2019