The continuous evolution in the marketplace today presents opportunities for technology, consumers, and brand to interact to change consumer experiences. In particular, there is an emergence of brand influencer roles afforded by consumer interactions about brands on social media. Consumers that take on such roles are known as social media influencers. Social media influencers have revolutionized the way brands view their marketing strategies. With their vast reach and informative segments, social media influencers can promote products and brands without their audience even realizing it. Furthermore, this form of advertisement is appealing to consumers since it presents an organic approach to promoting brands. This study investigates this kind of advertisement to understand how messages that social influencers send during this process drive behaviors such as consumer preferences and consumer brand wellbeing. For this exploration, we focus on consumer brand preference and consumer brand wellbeing because they have been identified as important outcome variables in the literature (Inman et al. 2020). Brand preference is the act of choosing one brand over another (Ebrahim et al. 2016), and consumer wellbeing refers to a level of fulfillment that a brand causes the consumer to have (Suranyi-Unger 1981). Consumer brand wellbeing involves measuring how the brand will increase long-term satisfaction for its customers and assesses how their life is, in turn, better for purchasing from the brand. To understand the extent to which social media brand influencers affect consumer preferences and consumer brand wellbeing, we designed an experiment to investigate how consumers would react to influencer messaging. The stimuli created for this experiment were formatted as Instagram posts. Instagram biographies and photo captions were manipulated to fit into one of four conditions: sustainable, consumerism, hybrid (a combination of the two categories mentioned earlier), and control. Each message was tailored to match the influencer's brand to make the advertisements seem as realistic as possible and based on prior research that shows consumers respond positively to influencer messaging that aligns with the influencer's brand (Kim and Kim 2020). The stimuli were designed to mimic the feeling of scrolling on Instagram and to have the participant imagine that these pictures had just popped up on their feed. Preliminary data from a pilot study of university students from the United States shows that consumers respond more favorably to sustainable and hybrid messages unfavorably to consumerist messages. In addition, consumers responded to influencer messaging in the sustainable manipulation more than the others. Findings from this study will inform influencer marketing strategies on social media. In addition, we are interested in feedback on how to better position this research in the Information Systems space and other methodological and analytical approaches that will help us investigate how social technologies influence consumer behaviors in new ways. References Ebrahim, R., Ghoneim, A., Irani, Z., and Fan, Y. 2016. "A Brand Preference and Repurchase Intention Model: The Role of Consumer Experience," Journal of Marketing Management (32:13-14), pp. 1230-1259. Inman, J., Campbell, M. C., Kirmani, A., and Price, L. 2020. "JCR Call for Papers: “The Future of Brands in a Changing Consumer Marketplace” Special Issue: August 2021," Journal of Consumer Research (Editorial). Kim, D. Y., and Kim, H.-Y. 2020. "Influencer Advertising on Social Media: The Multiple Inference Model on Influencer-Product Congruence and Sponsorship Disclosure," Journal of Business Research (In Press). Suranyi-Unger, T. 1981. "Consumer Behavior and Consumer Well-Being: An Economist's Digest," Journal of Consumer Research (8:2), pp. 132-143.
Osatuyi, Babajide James and Love, Taylor, "Impact of Social Media Influencers on Consumer Behaviors" (2021). AMCIS 2021 TREOs. 4.
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