[Air-L] CFP: Special Issue on The Social Implications of Influencers

Robert Kozinets rkozinets at gmail.com
Wed Nov 29 09:39:36 PST 2023

Dear AoIRers, My co-editors and I invite you to submit your work on the
social and individual impacts of influencers and influencer marketing to
our special issue of the Journal of Business Research (11.3 IF).

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.



*Call For Papers - Special Issue of Journal of Business Research on
‘Influencers & Influencer Marketing: Implications for Consumers & Society’ *

Guest Editors: Rebecca Mardon (Cardiff University), Hayley Cocker
(Lancaster University), Kate Daunt (Cardiff University) & Robert Kozinets
(University of Southern California).

Submission window opens: 2nd January 2024

Deadline for submissions: 1st March 2024

*View the CfP on the JBR website at * tinyurl.com/InfluencerSI

The emergence of influencers – personal brands that build an audience over
social media with a consistent flow of distinctive content (Kozinets et al.
2023) - has had important implications for marketing and consumer culture.
Whilst some influencers are niche, unknown outside of a small circle of
devoted and highly engaged followers, others have followings that rival
those of mainstream celebrities (Campbell and Farrell 2020). Brands have
been quick to capitalise on influencers’ fame and influence and are
forecast to spend over $32.5 billion on influencer marketing in 2023
(Nasrin 2022). Marketing research on influencers has largely focused on
identifying factors that impact the effectiveness of influencer marketing
strategies (e.g., Hugh et al. 2022; Leung et al. 2022a, 2022b; Wies et al.
forthcoming; Borges-Tiago et al. 2023; Ren et al. 2023) and exploring
issues of transparency and media literacy surrounding the disclosure of
influencers’ commercial activity (e.g., Boerman et al. 2017; Eisend et al.
2020; De Jans et al. 2018; Karagür et al. 2022). Yet, the emergence and
increasing prevalence of influencers and influencer marketing presents
important societal implications that require further investigation. Indeed,
this phenomenon appears to present a complex and contradictory mix of
positive and negative implications for consumers and society, with which
both researchers and consumers must grapple.

For instance, ‘greenfluencers’ can drive sustainable consumption (Kapooret
al. 2022), yet influencer culture appears to be promoting materialism (Lee
et al. 2022; Dinh and Lee, 2021) and driving overconsumption (Reid 2022) as
consumers strive to keep up with the ever-changing trends showcased by
influencers. Similarly, whilst influencers can help consumers make informed
purchase and consumption decisions (Scholz 2021), they can also spread
misinformation and disinformation that can have important implications for
consumers and society (Barrett 2022; Fisher 2021; McGowan 2021).
Additionally, whilst many consumers follow influencers to experience a
sense of connection and community that can boost their self-esteem and
benefit their general wellbeing (Bond and Miller 2021; Hoffner and Bond
2022), influencers can also

stimulate feelings of envy and dissatisfaction (Chae 2018) that can
negatively impact consumers’ mental health (Valkenburg 2022). Furthermore,
whilst influencers can empower consumers by disrupting normative beauty
standards (Duthely 2022; McFarlane and Samsioe 2020; Veresiu and Parmentier
2021), raising awareness of marketplace discrimination (Södergren and
Vallström forthcoming), and striving to achieve greater inclusivity within
markets (Scaraboto and Fischer 2013), they can also shift beauty standards
in more problematic ways, encouraging body dysmorphia and driving consumers
towards cosmetic procedures as they attempt to imitate the idealised faces
and bodies of their favourite influencers (Rodner et al. 2022).

Influencers also present contradictory implications for consumer
collectives. Likeminded consumers often congregate around influencers’
content and many influencers actively cultivate supportive communities that
provide a sense of unity, identification, and empowerment, which can be of
particular importance to otherwise marginalised or oppressed groups (Bond
and Miller 2021; Jenkins et al. 2019; Sobande 2017; Södergren and Vallström
forthcoming). However, the emergence of influencers within consumer
collectives, and in particular their engagement in incentivised brand
endorsements and other brand collaborations, can threaten the value that
consumers gain from participating in these collectives and prompt some
members to disengage from these collectives entirely (Mardon et al.
forthcoming a). Further research is needed to understand the impact of
influencer marketing strategies on consumer collectives. Consumer
collectives may also form surrounding influencers that perpetuate
controversial or potentially damaging views, as in the case of Andrew Tate,
who amassed an active and loyal online fan base despite being banned from
multiple social media platforms for perpetuating extreme misogynistic views
(Das 2022). Problematic online consumer collectives are not a new
phenomenon, however the role of influencers in creating and cultivating
these collectives warrants further investigation.

Research is also needed to understand consumers’ relationships with
influencers, and in particular to understand when and how they may become
problematic. Prior research emphasises the positive, friendship-like
parasocial relationships that consumers may form with their favourite
influencers (Hwang and Zhang 2018; Reinikainen et al. 2020). However, the
intimate parasocial relationships that influencers cultivate with their
followers can become negatively charged if not effectively maintained,
potentially leading consumers to participate in anti-fan communities
dedicated to obsessively critiquing all aspects of influencers’ lives
(Duffy et al. 2022; Mardon et al. forthcoming b), or to engage in trolling
or cyberbullying behaviours such as sending abusive or hurtful comments or
direct messages directly to influencers (Abidin 2019). Whilst these
behaviours do not typically shift into the offline domain, they may
nonetheless involve active attempts to negatively impact influencers’
relationships, careers, and general wellbeing. Further research is needed
to understand when and why consumers’ relationships with influencers become
dysfunctional, how these dysfunctional relationships and resultant
behaviours impact

consumers’ and influencers’ lives, and how these problematic behaviours
might be avoided or managed.

These are just a selection of the salient issues raised by the rise of
influencer culture, which has far-reaching consequences that are yet to be
fully understood. This special issue seeks to delve deeper into the wider
implications of influencers and influencer marketing for consumers and
society. We welcome both conceptual and empirical papers, quantitative and
qualitative research, and work from other disciplinary perspectives beyond
the field of marketing. We encourage the submission of papers exploring
topics such as (but not limited to):

   - Implications of influencers for consumers’ values, beliefs, and
   aspirations (e.g., shifts in materialism, beauty standards, anticipated
   lifestyles), and resultant consequences for consumers’ wider consumption
   behaviours, lifestyles, and wellbeing (e.g., sustainable consumption,
   financial stability, mental health)

   - The implications of influencer marketing for consumer collectives and
   their members.

   - The formation and implications of online consumer collectives
   surrounding influencers that perpetuate misinformation, disinformation,
   and/or problematic views and beliefs.

   - Problematic or unhealthy consumer relationships with influencers and
   their implications for consumers and influencers.

   - Collective and individual consumer involvement in, and perspectives
   on, contemporary cancel culture, and the implications of this phenomenon
   for influencers and brands.

   - Diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the influencer
   marketing industry and their implications for consumers.

   - The implications of virtual influencers for consumers and society.

   - Consumers’ coping mechanisms for dealing with the contradictory or
   paradoxical implications of influencers and influencer marketing.

   - Regulatory responses to issues surrounding influencers and influencer
   marketing, and their implications for consumers and society.

   - The role of social media platforms’ affordances in creating,
   amplifying and/or addressing influencers’ implications for consumers and

   - Critical reflections on the future of influencer marketing and
   influencer culture; where will we go, or s*hould *we go, from here?

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