Belanche, D., Casaló, L. V., Flavián, M., &Ibáñez-Sánchez, S. (2021). Understanding influencer marketing: The role of congruence between influencers, products and consumers. Journal of Business Research, 132, 186-195.
According to the author of this article, there exists psychological mechanisms used in influencer marketing to achieve their goal while persuasively communicating to their audience. In the study, consumer behavioral intentions were evaluated after they encountered products on social media (Instagram). The researcher addressed in three basic contributors of influencer marketing which included the influencer, the follower (customer) and the sponsored brand. Cognitive dissonance theory was used to explain consumers’ situation when faced with two conflicting choices. During this process, an individual will strive to get out of the discomfort even if it means changing their cognitions or beliefs and attitudes towards one of the available choices. The balance theory was used to predict how people seek cognitive consistency in a psychological balance form. It can be simply explained as a relationship that exists between two parties because of the association of one of the two parties with the third one. According to this theory, the absence of a balance would also lead to a psychological distress. The third theory used in the study is called the Congruity Theory which leans on the communication and persuasion side in this context. According to the proponents of the theory, individuals prefer cognitively consistent elements. The researchers used a qualitative analysis to understand the congruence forms among influencers, customers and the advertised product. Data was collected from participants aged between 18-34 years. Findings indicated that there was a gap in the scientific research of influencers on Instagram. It was established that followers would be congruent with influencers who reflects their behavior and values. Therefore, the follower attitudes generates positive behavioral intention to purchase a product and recommend the same to others. It was concluded that influencers are a source of admiration and inspiration to their followers.