#Deinfluencing or #Reinfluencing? What the trend means for marketers | #MarketingMonth

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As of February 21st, #Deinfluencing videos had accumulated over 200 million views on TikTok. But what is the trend and why is it so popular? Tatum Greig, Senior Community Manager, EMEA at Billion Dollar Boy, might just have the answers for us.


The 2023 trend of #Deinfluencing has emerged amid a growing cost-of-living crisis with persistent inflation tightening the purse strings for many consumers, and comes hot off the heels of the conflicting 2022 trend #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which encouraged modern fast consumption culture.

Instead, de-influencing is now promoting a culture of considered purchasing and sustainability - in theory, at least.

Take a look at any of the videos which are behind the trend and you’ll see that the influencers featured - rather than selling products - are urging viewers to avoid overhyped products, often highlighting lower-price or lesser known alternatives based on personal recommendations.

The concept behind de-influencing seems to come from a good place when viewed at surface level, however the reality is that the trend is really less #deinfluencing and more #reinfluencing.

Creators are still using their influence to inform the purchase decisions of their followers but simply adapting the practice to resonate in an economic downturn.

While participating creators may have the best intentions of their followers at heart and are keen to help them save on big name brands, they know that authenticity and relatability are powerful tools in driving engagement, and #deinfluencing is the trend du jour.

Should marketers be worried about this trend?


First and foremost, it’s important to remember that trends by their very nature don't last forever. The de-influencing trend in particular could have a short lifespan because it’s not possible for brands to put the type of ad spend behind it which can often help to amplify trends and increase their longevity.

Scepticism around the trend’s own authenticity - including whether de-influencing truly delivers on the sustainability message it claims to embrace - could also eventually result in a consumer backlash.

While the trend continues to drive strong audience engagement, some brands may be concerned about its impact on their sales or reputation. In particular, established brands and B2C sectors where competition is high and the effects of the cost-of-living crisis are most acute - such as beauty, where de-influencing currently seems to be most prevalent.

In a worst case scenario, a brand’s new product launch could potentially be impacted by creators ‘de-influencing’ it and promoting rival products. However, on the whole, brands shouldn’t be too worried and likely won’t be too concerned.

They will be well versed in battling negative word-of-mouth marketing or bad PR. Not everyone is going to like a brand’s products, the task is not how they respond directly to those dissenters but how they ensure the positivity of the marketing campaign and the quality of the product outshines that.

In some instances, de-influencing may even be a positive for some smaller brands. The trend encourages creators to promote ‘dupe’ products, giving smaller and usually lesser known brands significant exposure on a contra basis, with potentially increased impact due to the perceived authenticity of the plug.

How can affected brands adapt?


Any potential damage limitation from de-influencing can be effectively managed through a good crisis communication strategy - something which established, heritage brands will be well versed in and well resourced on. 

More broadly though, it can be preemptively mitigated by building a creator strategy that’s focused on longer-term partnerships. This year, we’ve repeatedly heard creators advise that they’re pivoting their focus to securing ambassadorships for brands as opposed to one off collaborations, so the interest from creators is there.

Ambassadorships give creators a sense of security working with genuine affiliated brands, and in the case of de-influencing, also gives brands security with their pool of talent too. 

Can brands capitalise on de-influencing?


Value and dupe brands are naturally getting a lift from de-influencing anyway, but ensuring they are listening to the conversations that are happening and identifying when they are brought into those conversations is the most effective way to engage with the trend.

Smaller brands could take the opportunity to use the new, genuine interest generated from some creators, following on from their positive inclusion in de-influencing videos by collaborating with them in paid content. 

Brands must remember however that de-influencing is first and foremost a user-generated trend, powered further by creators. If brands want to engage with any exposure associated with de-influencing, they should prioritise community management, for example by leaving comments on posts to show their appreciation and support. 

As for the more established brands that are more likely to be ‘de-influenced’, getting involved is tricky. However, it’s still important that they keep an eye on creators getting involved in the trend for potential future collaborations. Such creators will be building trust with their followers through de-influencing content.

Brands will understand the value of a loyal and engaged audience and realise that de-influencing may actually be increasing followers’ trust in a creator’s future recommendations.


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