Emerging from the booming social media market, influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing strategies for getting a message across. As it evolves, it will continue to help brands reach and engage their target audiences. However, it is clear that a strong image of perfection is conveyed as the norm, leading to a change in behavior among users, but contested by more and more brands…
Influence is a strength but beware…
Celebrity, relative or just a close friend, at one time or another in our lives we have all been influenced by someone. Influence is strength. Influence is a tool with the power to persuade.
Applied in the digital marketing market, influence has a great reach conveyed by influencers. And for this, social networks are an excellent communication channel. Today, however, a strong image of perfection is conveyed leading to a behavioral change among users.
According to a study carried out in April 2022 in France by HypeAuditor, an AI analysis platform for transparent and fraud-free influencer marketing:
- 12% of French influencers claim to have already declined a partnership opportunity, because the brand that contacted them usually posts retouched photos;
- 70% of respondents claim to retouch their photos often, even systematically, before publishing them on their social networks.
Faced with this situation, more and more brands are rebelling and want to change these “norms”.
L’global advertising agency Ogilvy for example, announced a few weeks ago that it no longer wanted to collaborate with influencers who modify their appearance, both in terms of body, face and skin color. It encourages the preservation of the sanity of users who may be under some kind of pressure to resemble the ideals presented to them on social networks.
Influencer marketing and the fight against body dysphoria
For Alex Frolov, CEO and co-founder of HypeAuditor:
“This initiative is an important and commendable step in the combats body dysphoria which can be caused by unrealistic “body perfectionism”. However, it must be nuanced, discussed and controlled.
Some alterations are made with an artistic goal and not aesthetic or perfectionism. They can make it possible to highlight certain aspects, for example. It is also necessary to differentiate between touch-ups and filters, the latter being used in particular to make the skin more beautiful, the eyes more luminous, etc. “.
This study also revealed that:
- Only 4% of respondents admit to making changes to photos of their face or body;
- Retouching mainly concerns the size of the image or its cropping (19%), colors or the addition of filters (23%, contrast and brightness (53%);
- 70% of French influencers say it would be a great idea if more brands made it a point to only work with influencers who don’t retouch their face and/or body in their photos;
- 10% think it would be a bad idea.
What about the legislation?
Influencer marketing is a very recent area where legislation is just beginning to take shape. Legislators from different European countries examine the initiatives of their neighbors and learn from their best practices.
In the United Kingdom, for example, a bill is still under consideration to fight against altered body images and thus respond to this challenge. If approved, the text would require influencers to mention when one of their photos is retouched.
It is not impossible that France will also adopt this initiative…