HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

How can influencer marketing be harmful to brands?

Loyen, Jeanne ULiège
Promotor(s) : Dessart, Laurence ULiège
Date of defense : 4-Sep-2023/8-Sep-2023 • Permalink :
Title : How can influencer marketing be harmful to brands?
Author : Loyen, Jeanne ULiège
Date of defense  : 4-Sep-2023/8-Sep-2023
Advisor(s) : Dessart, Laurence ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Ismail, Sophie 
Language : English
Number of pages : 108
Keywords : [en] Influencer marketing, Social media influencers, Social medias, Consumer Behaviour, Brand image, Brand awareness, Credibility, Authenticity
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Marketing
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en international strategic marketing
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] 25 billion euros: that is how much brands spent on influencer marketing in 2022 (Statista, 2023). In an era where social medias play an important role in the lives of many individuals, influencer marketing has become an unavoidable strategy for brands wishing to boost their visibility and reach their target audiences on a more personal level, through the intermediary of social media influencers. Although this marketing strategy has been established for several years now, it has become a real buzzword in the industry. However, a number of abuses have been observed in recent years. Behind the promises of profitability lie significant challenges and risks that brands need to address in a considered way. This piece of research therefore looks at the dangers of influencer marketing for brands, filling a gap in the scientific literature. By analysing the opinions and perceptions of consumers, marketing experts and social media influencers through 20 in-depth interviews, this research aims to consider the problem in its entirety.
Firstly, this study focuses on the definition of certain concepts and phenomena such as user- generated content, social media marketing, influencer marketing and its legal framework, social media influencers and many others. Secondly, the causes leading to image, reputation, notoriety, credibility and consumer relations risks for brands were explored, notably on the basis of existing scientific literature, but also through the qualitative study carried out. In total, this research was able to establish 9 dangers for brands represented by influencer marketing, linked to 13 different causes. Thirdly, another key contribution of this research is the analysis of the impact of influencer marketing on consumers, who desire more authenticity, consideration and professionalism from brands and social media influencers. Fourthly, forecasts for the future of this marketing strategy were formulated, along with suggestions for running a successful influencer campaign. According to the study, long-term partnerships, content creators and nano or micro influencers are an optimal strategy. Finally, recommendations for future research and the limitations of this work were formulated.



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  • Loyen, Jeanne ULiège Université de Liège > Master sc. gest., à fin.


Committee's member(s)

  • Ismail, Sophie
  • Total number of views 749
  • Total number of downloads 629

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