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Influencers Are Replacing Celebrities In Brand Awareness

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hofstra chapter.

TikTok influencers have re-shaped how fashion brands are using big names and faces as a marketing tool. Gen Z and the younger generations need authenticity. This is not fresh news, but some fashion brands are only just beginning to see the value in attaching an influencer to their brand. In the past it’s always been celebrities, but can you tell me what Zendaya really has to do with dairy products for Got Milk? Or what Vanessa Hudgens really has to do with Nexplanon birth control besides her also having it?

Where celebrities are fan favorites for their roles in traditional media such as movies and magazine shoots, influencers create their fan bases based on who they are on social media. Fans become obsessed with the character the celebrity is playing, but they don’t have a way to learn more about them and feel like they know them as a friend. This is how influencers differentiate themselves from celebrities, because the connections with their audiences are more “real”.

So if campaigns such as the Got Milk campaign seeking Zendaya and Nexplanon seeking Vanessa Hudgens genuinely work on the public, imagine how the sales in fashion companies rise when a favorite influencer is attached to the name. Think Hollister/Abercrombie with Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. Charli D’Amelio, a TikTok influencer who was the first to reach over 100 million followers on the platform, and her sister Dixie co-created a continuous collection called, “Social Tourist.” The launch of the collection skyrocketed sales and the brand awareness in teens and pre-teens throughout the pandemic.

On the other side, think about American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch’s most intense competitor. WWD says that Addison Rae, “generated $4.26 million in Media Impact Value for American Eagle over a six-month period, according to a new Launchmetrics report.” Abercrombie snagged the D’Amelio sisters, American Eagle saw the value in it and got Addison Rae to promote their product.

The closer someone feels with the person who is promoting something, the more likely they will be to buy it. It feels more authentic when Addison Rae tells me to buy a pair of jeans than when Zendaya tells me she drinks milk to stay healthy. This is the interesting part of influencer relations. The fans want to feel like they know who you are, behind the scenes. The influencers that share the most are often the influencers that have the most influence and traction. The D’Amelio’s have a reality Hulu show now, so their fans can see almost every aspect of their lives and look up to them.

Another influencer, Emma Chamberlain, podcasts to her audience about real life issues and problems she goes through and deals with, creating a more authentic relationship with her fans. Chamberlain released a coffee company owned by herself with help from her team and it became hugely popular amongst her viewers. Her fans are so loyal that they would want to help her with any life goal she has. Emma Chamberlain became popular through her thrifting videos posted to Youtube and we have seen her drinking coffee in every single one of the videos. Her company is an extension of herself and her own brand, so it works and makes sense. People feel like they are buying a little piece of Emma Chamberlain. In those videos she thrifted tons of pairs of old jeans. This is why Levi’s partnership with Emma feels authentic and real. Her fans know that she thrifts and buys Levi’s jeans, so including her in their promotion is true and genuine marketing.

Companies are quickly going to be latching onto influencers who have real connections with their viewers. Whether it be TikTok influencers or YouTube vloggers, companies will continuously be dropping celebrities for these social beings for their marketing this year.

Maggie is a senior at Hofstra University in New York. She is majoring in public relations and has minors in design and journalism. She loves to write, share her opinions with the world and is eager help build her experience in any way she can.