'To trust or not to trust': The impact of social media influencers on the reputation of corporate brands in crisis

Singh, J, Crisafulli, B, Quamina, L. and Xue, M 2020. 'To trust or not to trust': The impact of social media influencers on the reputation of corporate brands in crisis . Journal of Business Research. 119, pp. 464-480. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.03.039

Title'To trust or not to trust': The impact of social media influencers on the reputation of corporate brands in crisis
TypeJournal article
AuthorsSingh, J, Crisafulli, B, Quamina, L. and Xue, M
Abstract

Corporates often partner with social media influencers to bolster brand image after crises. Although existing evidence suggests that influencers have a largely positive effect on brands, yet there is paucity of research on the role of influencers in corporate crisis communications. Across two studies, we examine the impact of influencers on consumers’ perception of corporate brand in crisis. Drawing on persuasion knowledge theory, we identify pitfalls associated with influencers, such as inferences of manipulative intent, which negatively affect perceived trustworthiness and corporate reputation. The downside of engaging influencers in crisis communications can, however, be offset by influencer and the brand communicating values-driven motives of their partnership. Our findings imply that corporate brands should respond to crises through a bolstering strategy that promotes existing corporate goodwill, without influencer’s involvement. When leveraging on influencers’ support, however, brands should endeavor to inoculate manipulative inferences by communicating the values-driven motives behind the brand-influencer partnership.

KeywordsCorporate reputation
Corporate brand crisis
Influencer marketing
Persuasion knowledge
Crisis communications
Experiment
JournalJournal of Business Research
Journal citation119, pp. 464-480
ISSN0148-2963
Year2020
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.03.039
Publication dates
Published online13 Apr 2020

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