The aim of this dissertation was to examine the use of the different types of influencers used on Instagram by equine brands and how they build value for consumers and the brand. Existing literature, theories and concepts around the topic were explored, such as celebrity endorsement frameworks, the increase of social media marketing, leading to the increased use of influencers on Instagram.
The study involved the collection of qualitative data through three semi-structured telephone interviews with equine brands, five semi-structured face-to-face interviews with equine consumers and netnography research of the Instagram accounts of the equine brands which were interviewed. The collection of this primary data allowed the researcher to identify the importance of influencer marketing within the brands’ marketing strategies and the extent to which they use this to build value for the consumers and the brands.
Over all, the three equine brands were all aware of the growing importance of social media marketing, particularly on Instagram. The majority of the consumers looked to Instagram for inspiration before the purchase of an equine product; emphasising the importance of the platform for brands. It can be concluded that the different types influencers build value in different ways for the brands and consumers. The professional rider used as an influencer, to endorse products and the brand, had the most effect on consumers in terms of purchasing decisions, perceived brand images and trusting the band due to their status, success and knowledge of the sport. However, the non-professional riders and typical consumers used as influencers can create a ‘reality’ around the product, which was found to add value for brands and provide consumers with additional information.
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