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Influencers and brands need to acknowledge consumers’ informed trust, says ASCI report

What triggers trust among the users? And what are the ‘fails’ and ‘wins’ that keep alive the “influencer-brand-consumer” ecosystem? India’s ad regulator ponders in its report

“..the audience is no longer an innocent ‘receiver’ being ‘injected’ with messages of persuasion by large entities. The awareness of one’s value as an audience should make us consider the concept of ‘trust’ with some difference. Influencers and brands need to acknowledge the consumer’s ‘informed trust’,” observes the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) in its report ‘Wielding Influence, Nurturing Trust’. At a time when the influencer sector is witnessing significant growth and popularity, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of their attention and the ways in which their data can be used to target them with sales pitches. Amid the dangers of “blind-faith” in online content, influencers are—in a way—bridging the gap between brands and consumers because of the trust factor that exists between the two entities. The ASCI says that audiences today need a new model and definition of trust which addresses the audiences’ dissonance with commercial posts and gives them the power to negotiate their role in this relationship. What triggers trust among the users? Competence: The report states that the audience is looking for expertise and depth in the content of influencers. Influencers need to be “expert of their domains”—whether it’s infotainment or entertainment, there’s no space for mediocrity. Empathy and affirmation: It’s not just about information about the product, but also addressing “the hidden emotional needs behind the act of consumption”. “The influencer is an interpreter of the brand, not its puppet: As audiences are awakening to the reality of the ‘marketplace’ that…

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Curious about the intersection of technology with education, caste and welfare rights. For story tips, please feel free to reach out at sarasvati@medianama.com

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