The rise of "genuine" influencers
They are called "genuininfluencers", because they are able to attract followers not only through contents which are more or less advertised, but because of their authority, their independence, their competence and their authenticity. Are they also active in the wine world?
During the scorching days of last summer, I came across a lot of reports and investigations and I tried to understand how the world is evolving, in its various aspects, during this pandemic phase which is more and more difficult to decode.
These insights gave me food for thought, maybe too much to understand which ones are the more realistic and reliable. You might want to read “The Future shopper 2021” by the trustworthy American research company Wunderman Thompson that interviewed more than 28.000 consumers from 17 different Countries (unfortunately Italy is not one of them) in order to analyze which are the present and future buying dynamics.
However, we have the "Rapporto Coop 2021" (released on September 7th) which is very recent and rich in details since it investigates the Italians consuming habits and the today-and-future lifestyle dynamics.
The list is long since it is clear that today we are all interested in understanding where the world is going and, in particular, how the consumers are orienting and behaving: what guides them and what will guide them in the very next future when we will wake-up from this Covid-19 nightmare and its numerous variations.
Today I decided to take inspiration from the influencers. "Influencer" is a word that basically nobody likes, starting from the influencers themselves, but it has become the most direct, the clearest way to point those who, in some way, are able to influence the consumers and the trade’s choices.
Actually, there are no scientific parameters to measure the efficacy of the vast number of world influencers. Moreover, it would probably be impossible, given the various fields in which the influencers act through: they operate on different types of social media (Instagram, tik tok and Facebook).
The best way – and it may be the only way – to understand how the influencer phenomenon is evolving is to observe how some leader companies are behaving in different fields.
If we refer to the influencers, the first field popping in to everyone’s mind is fashion.
About that there is a very interesting – at least in my opinion – article on voguebusiness.com by Kati Chitrakorn. The title alone struck my attention: “Meet the “genuinfluencers” who don’t want to sell you anything”. In the article there are many interesting declarations like the one by Hilary Williams Dunlap, senior vice-president of Digital Brand Architects (DBA), according to whom, the old approach is falling apart: “The overview has completely changed the idea of who is considered an influent person and how we define that word”, she said to Vogue.
Instead of the influencer class there is another category that is affirming, the “geninfluencer”, Williams said. The geninfluencer are able to gather followers thanks to their authentic capacity of sharing free information which are not biased by advertisement. They are much more interested in sharing advices, discussing their passions and spread impartial information instead of promoting a new product or a new collection.
“They tend to be noticed because of their high-quality contents instead of the number of followers they have”, said Cassandra Napoli, senior strategist of WGSN Insight.
The social media themselves are changing from “places of inspiration to sites of education and information”, Napoli said. In this direction there are different emerging platforms like Clubhouse, Discors and Substack that did not only encourage higher quality contents, for which people are ready to pay, but they encouraged a new group of people that can no longer be defined as conventional influencer, gaining success thanks to the value and the authenticity of their contents.
The geninfluncers increased so much that even the greatest fashion Maisons are employing them. Here we can think of a question to ask: how genuine and authentic will this new influencers remain?
Will they be able to remain impartial even in front of great multinational companies?
What is certain is that the Maisons mentioned before, understood that the more they condition the influencer, the more their efficacy will fade.
This is a central topic that involves the wine world from decades now, especially in Italy where we are discussing about the necessity of having a strong and independent wine critic.
Trying to investigate how much the wine information is “genuine”, in its whole, today is not an easy task and it probably would not take us very far. What is essential is to meditate on the importance of having a strong wine information, a competent and useful one for a serious development of our wine system. In this direction, consumers from all over the world are giving precise instructions and among those, undoubtedly, there is the constant research for more authentic, more reliable and more transparent content. It is a legit request that obliges all our sector, media influencers included, to do a step forward.
In my opinion, only the companies will be able to guide this new “revolution”, selecting from the inside of the mediatic/informative system with a meritocratic criterion, where the key factors will finally be competence, authority and trustworthiness.