The power that influencers have to affect the buying habits of others is nothing new. Back in 1655, King Louis XIV of France became the original influencer when he started wearing wigs. The fad quickly spread throughout Europe and was all the rage for over two centuries. It’s how the word “bigwig” came about and why lawyers in Great Britain wear powdered wigs to this day.

Although there wasn’t a name for it in the 17th century, we’ve come to recognize this piece of psychology as the authority principle, or more commonly the “white coat” effect. The idea that “if an expert says it, then it must be true” has been especially popular in marketing. If someone were to ask which sugarless chewing gum is preferred by dentists, most people would automatically think of Trident because for decades we’ve been told that 4 out of 5 dentists said so.

The authority principle refers to a person’s tendency to comply with people in positions of authority. In the past, those people were often government leaders, doctors, lawyers, and other perceived experts in different fields. With the rise of social media, the face of influencers looks very different. These days, the number of degrees or doctorates isn’t nearly as authoritative as the number of followers on TikTok.

Which brings us to the question many brands are asking as they plan their marketing strategies for 2022: should I use influencer marketing? According to a recent survey by the Influencer Marketing Hub, the answer is yes. Their Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report revealed that $13.9 billion was spent on influencer marketing in 2021. But perhaps more importantly, the survey found that 90% of respondents believe influencer marketing is effective.

Even going back to 2020 as the pandemic unfolded, influencer marketing was still a highly popular and effective form of marketing, despite the uncertainties brought about by COVID. And while most brands continue to use Instagram for influencer marketing, the biggest change from 2020 to 2021 was the massive increase in TikTok influencer marketing. The bottom line: influencer marketing is here to stay and brands should expect it to be part of their mainstream marketing mix now. 

Understanding consumer psychology in marketing helps us realize the importance of influencer marketing and why the authority principle, even in its most recent form, can still play a significant role in your brand’s marketing strategy. Give us a call at 833-579-1905 or email us at info@intermarkgroup.com to discuss how we can help you turn psychological insights into great creative advertising.

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