• Yukiko Sakata

Influencer or WOM - Japan

Is the influencer marketing really working and is it okay that we keep on trusting this strategy? This is not new as a topic and there has been many researches about how people feel about advertising, what are their purchase decision triggers, what influence their purchase behavior and how.

Indeed, as the technology innovation keeps on going, the consumers becomes smarter and smarter. It used to be the status and the feeling of fame that moved people's hearts and wallets. It used to be the companies that had more power onto employees than the other way around. It used to be the largest bank that people trusted the most, and it used to be the products that got them pride. This is the neighborhood comparison era and it is still like that. However, as the time passes, the power balance has been shifted.

So the purchase behavior now reflects the neighborhood coliving ear, not competing era, which in fact, brings us back to the days we all had to live together with much closer distance between each other simply because we could not afford luxurious living for each one of us.

Yet there still is the hidden "neighbor comparison" purchase that can be defined as the purchase behavior as a result of their unconscious prioritizing their short-term victory over their neighbor in terms of material possession. It is understandable because rivaling benefits both parties anyway. But what is it that the "hidden" part does to their overall purchase decision?

According to Nielsen research, Japan does trust advertisement but they trust their friends referral more. They like rankings that gets on the magazines, such as "beauty product ranking 2018 Autumn" or " the top 10 laptop for graphic designers". Recently there have been too many of those on the internet and even though they obviously look like affiliate marketing, it speaks to people's mind - they care the majority's choice, sentiment, and the rankings that are voted by ordinary people or those who can be feel close to by them, i.e., a beauty blogger, a magazine editor, etc.

As for the brand ambassador usage for the marketing, the casting itself could go viral. The TVC and the video advertisement are no longer just the TVC, but are something the audience "enjoy" watching, and "gain" something like fun and useful information. This attitude toward the advertisement let them get the feeling of control over what has never been reachable, like the top celebrity world of the movie stars, and by getting engaged to it talking about the new models in the TVC and such, there becomes even more satisfaction and fulfillment. 

In conclusion, the influencing elements have been shifted and yet the same elements still work, but in slightly different ways. As for the influence on the direct purchase, the feedbacks, recommendations, rankings and WOM are still necessary.

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