Influencer marketing; A risky business or just the perfect one?!

Letting an Influencer create content could be a risk, taking away some power of the brand and a company should therefore consider their infl...

7 Mar 2019 3709 Views

Written by Helena Wictor

influencer marketing impact
Image 1, Screenshot from Isabella Löwengrip on her Instagram (Bloggbevakning, 2018)

What have Isabella Löwengrip, Kenza Zouiten, and Kylie Jenner in common? Of course, they are all influencers, but they have also posted at least one picture on Instagram with a specific watch. The brand of the watch is Daniel Wellington, a Swedish company that saw an opportunity in 2011 with influencer marketing emerging on Instagram and took advantage of it. By picking up different social media personas, which they sent their watch to and only requesting an Instagram post in return. The company has since then grown from a turnover of 200k SEK to 2,8 bn in 2017 (Björkman, 2018; Byttner, 2015). So, despite the fact that a influencer marketing strategy built on social media could imply several risks, is there no doubt that Daniel Wellington has done it successfully.

impact influencer marketing
Image 2, Screenshot from Kenza Zouiten Instagram (Instagram, 2018a)

The Shift >The Shift of Powerimpact of influencer marketing

of social media has made it possible for brands to reach their consumers in several new channels and it has also opened up for a more direct communication between the brand and the consumers (Deighton & Kornfeld,2009; Holt, 2016). Hence, brands have shifted their focus from a more traditional to a marketing strategy based on influencers. In this way, companies are able to create trustworthy and authentic content that reaches all of their audience in all channels (Walsh, 2018).

Influencer marketing is done primarily by companies letting trusted online personas, talk about their products and communicate their message to their followers (Brown & Hayes, 2008) using for example Instagram, one is of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing with 1 bn active users in 2018 (De Veirman et al.,2017; statista,2018). However, the brand will expose themselves to a greater risk by letting an influencer be in charge of creating the content and communicating it to their followers transferring some of the company’s power of their marketing and presentation of the product to this person and his or her followers (Deighton & Kornfeld,2009).

When choosing to incorporate influencer marketing is it therefore important to select the right one for your brand. The person that represents your brand should be someone that is liked by their followers and can recommend your products (De Veirman et al., 2017). Hence, it should also be someone who communicate the same or similar assumptions and desires as the brand. Because the influencer already has an identity which may transfer to the brand and when a consumer purchases a product from a certain brand is it to communicate their identity (Reed, 2012). Three strategies found in the literature that could be used to reduce the risk when choosing the right influencer is:

Firstly R>Firstly – They Should Spread the Word about your Brand

marketing is about making consumers talk about your brand, which can be compared to an electronic word of mouth, eWOM (Brown & Hayes, 2008). People uses the platforms to communicate with others about everything from what they had for dinner to which brand their favourite watch comes from. These communications play an important role, since it can affect consumers behaviour towards your brand (Berger & Iyengar, 2013). However, for you to take advantage of this will the content have to be interesting and engaging and seen a part of the person’s daily life (Abidin, 2016; Berger & Iyengar, 2013).

Instagram is a good influencer marketing platform to spread eWOM about your brand, since it allows possibilities to share a post that can show the brand both through visual content and through a caption connected to the photo or video (De Vierman et al., 2017). With these possibilities can the influencer decide on how they want to communicate your brand. It is important that the influencers know your brand and can create content that is in line with what your brand stands for otherwise can it lead to negative eWOM. Negative eWOM has showed to have a greater impact on the brand than positive (Kannan & Li, 2017).

Secondly >Secondly – They Should Be Your Consumers Best Friend

ia have erased the differences between consumers and brands social networks. Brands are now a part of consumers personal life, acting like another friend in their social network (Gensler et al., 20). Sometimes do the consumer consider the brand a family member, some even argue that they are equivalent of native marketing since they have similar impacts on the consumer (Walsh, 2018). It is important for you to find the social media personalities within these social networks (Kannan & Li, 2017).       

Influencers are people who built a social network where people follow them and their everyday life. By creating posts about brands on social media have they become trusted tastemakers, which brands have acknowledged (De Veirman et al., 2017). Unlike the typical celebrities are influencer considered to be more intimate, believable and accessible but also more relatable since they share more personal content about themselves (Abidin, 2016). Their content can create an illusion of face-to-face relationship which makes the consumer believe more in the influencer’s behaviours and opinion and sometimes even trust them like a friend or family member (De Veirman et al.,2017; Knoll et al.,2015).

Thirdly –>Thirdly – They should Help You with Creating Credible Content

nts their brands to be authentic and one way to become authentic is by creating user generated content. Brands have lost their power of creating brand stories due to social media. Instead is it up to the consumers to share their brand stories, which is based on the consumers expectations and experiences (Gensler et al., 2013).

In this case is the influencer the consumer and they are sharing their story of the brand with trusted and engaging content. By social media personalities posting pictures and promoting your brand are they sharing their consumer generated story to their followers, which can make them win both the consumers heart and wallet (Forbes,2018). However, they are busy people who gets a lot of different offers every day from different brands. That is why it is important for you to create reasons to why influencers should engage them in your brand and to make them create user generated content that will engage with your consumers (Barker, 2017).

The Case of Da>The Case of Daniel Wellington

el Wellington influencer marketing may be one success story that have incorporated influencer marketing. For their brand, is the use of social media the core of their marketing strategy. Primarily are they focusing on being where the consumers are, which is mostly Instagram, where they on the 27 of November 2018 have 4,4mn followers (Wallenberg, 2016). This is a lot more than other possible competitive watch brands such as Swatch (987k), Omega (2mn) and Fossil (1mn). Here they are encouraging their consumers to post pictures under the hashtag #DanielWellington. Some pictures do even look professional, which the brand acknowledge and later uses on their own account and is one of the factors to why the consumers want to engage with the brand (Wallenberg, 2016)

daniel wellington influencer marketing
Image 3 Screenshot from Daniel Wellington Instagram page (Instagram, 2018b)

By Daniel Wellington also use their own consumers as brand ambassadors to spread the word about the brand and generated content. In 2016 was 95% of DW´s marketing based on their influencers, with their pictures are they creating the brand (Wallenberg, 2016). The influencers are posting pictures of the watch in different environment, situations and countries which implies that the watch is a part of their daily life. A successful example of this is the Kylie Jenner post from 3 December 2017 which has been liked almost 4,7mn times and commented 392,3k times.

impact of influencer marketing
Image 4, Screenshot from Kylie Jenner Instagram (Instagram, 2017)

Influencers love to Influence Influencers love to Influence

fluence, and your brand is giving them the tools to do so (Brown & Hayes, 2008). They help you expose your brand by spreading the word through eWOM in their networks, but also to create user generated content. However, it is important for companies to understand how it can affect your brand. By using an influencer marketing strategy will the company lose some of its power over the brand and the presentation of a product, but it could also be the key to success as for Daniel Wellington. Since influencers and social media platforms have more power than many brands dear to think, so make sure that the person you choose to talk about your brand will be able to help you. By presenting the brand and the product in the best way possible. Influencer marketing impact on brand is undeniable.

Read our other post on information overload.

Reference list

Abidin, C. (2016). Visibility labour: Engaging with influencers’ fashion brands and #OOTD advertorial campaigns on Instagram, Media International Australia, 161,1, pp. 86–100. Available through: LUSEM Library website [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Berger, J. and Iyengar, R. (2013). Communication Channels and Word of Mouth: How the Medium Shapes the Message, Journal of Consumer Research, 40, pp. 567-579. Available through: LUSEM Library website [Accessed 120 November 2018]    

Björkman, F. (2018). Daniel Wellington ökar miljardomsättningen, DI Digital, June 27, Avaliable Online: [Accessed 21 November 2018]   

Brown & Hayes. (2008).  Influencer Marketing: Who Really Influences Your Customers?. Elsevier Ltd. Available through: LUSEM University Library website [Accessed 19 November 2018]

Byttner, K, J. (2015). Byggde 30-åringen en miljardäraffär på rekordtid, Veckans Affärer, August 1, Available online: [Accessed 19 November 2018]

Deighton, J., Kornfeld, L., 2009. Interactivity’s Unanticipated Consequences for Marketers and Marketing, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 23, pp. 4-10, Available through: LUSEM Library website [Accessed 19 November 2018]

De Veirman, M., Cauberghe, V., Hudders, L., (2017). Marketing through Instagram influencers: the impact of number of followers and product divergence on brand attitude, International Journal of Advertising, 36, 5, pp. 798-828 Available through: LUSEM Library website [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Forbes (2018). 12 Marketing Trends To Take Advantage of This Year, Forbes, February 14, Avaliable Online:  [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Gensler, S., Välckner, F., Liu-Thompkins, Y., Wiertz, C. (2013). Managing Brands in the Social Media Environment, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 27, pp. 242-256, [Accessed 20 November 2018]   

Holt, D. (2016) Branding in the Age of Social Media, Harvard Business Review, 94, 3, pp. 40-50, [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Kannan, P,K., Li, A. (2017). Digital marketing: A framework, review and research agenda, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34, pp. 22-45, [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Knoll, J., H. Schramm, C. Schallhorn, and S. Wynistorf. (2015). Good guy vs. bad guy: The influence of parasocial interactions with media characters on brand placement effects, International Journal of Advertising, 34,5, pp. 720–43. [Accessed 19 November 2018]

Mottola, I. (2016). Daniel Wellington perfect Instagram marketing strategy, Medium, October 19, Available Online:  [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Reed, A., M.R. Forehand, S. Puntoni, and L. Warlop. 2012. Identity-based consumer behaviour. International Journal of Research in Marketing 29, 1, pp. 310–21. [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Statista. (2018). Number of Monthly Active Instagram Users from January 2013 to June 2018, Statista, June, Available Online: [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Walsh, M. (2018). The Real Problem With Influencer Marketing: You’re Focusing On The Wrong ‘Influencers’, Forbes, October 5, Available Online: [Accessed 20 November 2018]

Wallenberg, B (2016) Från noll till en miljard på fem år – så här gick det till, Veckans Affärer,July 1, Avaliable Online: [Accessed 19 November 2018]


  1. Bloggbevakning. (2018). Det Där med Trovärdighet och Samarbeten. Available Online: [Accessed 19 November 2018]
  2. Instagram (2018a). Kenzas, Instagram. Available Online: [Accessed 19 November 2018]
  3. Instagram (2018b). Danielwellington. Avaliable Online: [Accessed 23 November 2018]
  4. Instagram (2017). Kyleiejenner. Avaliable Online: [Accessed 23 November 2018]     

Like this post? You'll find more marketing insights in my new book: International Brand Strategy: A guide to achieving global brand growth, now available from booksellers globally. Order your copy here.

BrandBase | @BrandBa_se
Students from the International Marketing and Brand Management program at Lund University are the contributing authors for the BrandBase blog.