Over the years, brands have worked hard to control their image, and critique was limited. Today, critique has free rein. Brands recognize the power of social media — both good and bad — but many still try to control it. This is most apparent in the advent of paid-for-endorsement by bloggers. Although consumers consider multiple sources when making their purchase decisions, it is peer-to-peer influence that carries the most weight, especially for Gen Y.
Brands need to be conscious of how they insert themselves into that conversation. Authenticity is crucial to Gen Y, and when brands pay bloggers to endorse their product, members of this generation quickly sniff it out and stamp it “fake.” The credibility of the brand and the blogger are both weakened. This is not to say you shouldn’t use blogs in your marketing efforts. As research shows, this is one of the most powerful tools marketers have today. Our study, “Why Y Women,” showed that 42% of Gen Y women have discovered a new brand or product from a friend mentioning it in a status update, and 31% of Gen Y women have favorite blogs that they read regularly.
I’m curious to know what demographic group still favor display ads?