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Partnering social influencers delivers mixed bag of impacts for fashion brands

New research from Trinity Business School has revealed that working with social media influencers can positively influence the new product development activity of fashion brands, but also that the perceived ‘attractiveness’ of the influencer can ultimately detract from the success of new product lines.

The study finds that the involvement of fashion influencers in the value co-creation process can positively influence the performance of new product development.

However, surprisingly, if the influencers are deemed as ‘attractive’ it can have a negative effect on the success of the product.

Dr. Xiaoning Liang, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Trinity Business School, said: “Our study has identified and validated five key attributes of fashion ‘cewebrities’; attractiveness, trustworthiness, expertise, interactivity, and intimacy.

“The research reveals that different attributes of fashion celebrities exert different impacts on new product development. For instance, the expertise and interactivity of fashion celebrities are found to improve product design, production, and commercialisation performance, whereas intimacy is found to affect only the performance of product design and commercialisation.

“Surprisingly, ‘attractiveness’ is found to have negative impacts on both product design and production performance. Where influencers are regarded as ‘traditionally attractive’, the perceived uniqueness of their fashion products may be correspondingly reduced as exclusivity and uniqueness are considered more important attributes.”

The study, co-authored by Professor Hao Zhang, Northeastern University (China) and Professor Hakil Moon, Eastern Michigan University (USA), was recently published in the Journal of Business Research.


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