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INFLUENCER MARKETING

How the ‘benign envy’ of influencers can drive online purchases

By our News Team | 2023

Consumer must feel that buying the product will somehow elevate them so that they sit more squarely alongside the influencer they follow.

In a commercial world often dominated by social media, new research in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising reveals a mysterious, invisible force that lurks behind many a purchase decision when social media personalities, or influencers, are involved. 

 

This force of ‘benign envy’ could be used to guide marketing and advertising strategies towards the most effective influencers and allow more persuasive campaigns to be developed for a range of products and services.

Influencer Marketing

Photo by George Milton from Pexels

Researchers from the School of Business and Economics at the Universiti Putra Malaysia have used well-established social comparison theory to investigate the connection between benign envy and an audience’s desire to purchase products promoted by influencers.

 

Fundamentally, consumers who identify with a particular influencer and perceive themselves as being a peer, or otherwise similar, to that influencer will be more inclined to follow that influencer’s recommendations.

 

To maximise the effectiveness of their influencer marketing, companies need to carefully select those influencers with whom they wish to showcase their products and services, as these must align with the influencer’s own preferences, values and way of life. 

 

Campaign must match the audiences’ benign envy

 

Moreover, a campaign must also match with the benign envy felt by the influencer’s audience.

 

Cynically, perhaps, the consumer must feel that buying the product will somehow elevate them so that they sit more squarely alongside the influencer they follow. Influencers often embody the ideal self-image of their audience and the lifestyle and status they crave.

 

Consumers following influencer recommendations will somehow imagine they are closing in on this ideal by making the right purchases guided by their influencer, regardless of how real that ideal actually is. 

 

Indeed, as with many kinds of aspirational endeavours, a single purchase may well make the consumer feel better, but its impact is often short-lived and there’s always another recommendation from their influencer to envy.


You can find out more about the research ‘Xiaofan Yue et al, The role of audiences’ benign envy in influencer marketing’ here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.