When did we start trusting strangers?

“When did we start trusting strangers” is a new research from Universal McCann done in September of this year and is part of their Wave global digital research program. The research/survey was done in 29 countries involving 17.000 internet users.

“It explores how the web and in-particular social media have made it incredibly easy to source and share personal opinions. This has created a revolution in where we source information and what we trust that has massive impacts for the role of professional media and marketing communications.“

I strongly recommend that you take a look at the presentation as it holds some pretty valuable and recent information on consumer behavior and commercial influence. You can find the presentation below, there’s one thing I wanted to highlight specifically though. At a certain point the research talks about superinfluencers:

“In a world of mass influence – some people rise above the average. These are the individuals that influence regardless of category. This is why we call them superinfluencers – they go beyond the average.”

Now that is nothing new, but then they look at these superinfluencers motivations to recommend products or services to their peers (indexed against all respondents) and then you get this:


You’ll notice that these motivations are pretty similar to all respondents when you look at good or bad personal experiences or when it involves high quality brands, but that they are a lot more driven than the rest of the population by values such as celebrity endorsement/usage, fashionable brands or in case brands are unknown amongst their social group. Now I found that pretty interesting.

Anyway, as said, interesting research and good presentation so go check it out below:



  1. Paul Soldera says:

    Good old UMC is trying to make a point about the value of ‘advertising’ on influencers and I think it’s true, but not quite in the way this slide shows. While I would say this group is more inclined to listen to celebrity endorsers than the rest, it’s still a small difference in the grand scheme of things. Personal endorsements from friends/family and a good product experience are still as important among these guys as anything – especially if, as an influencer, they are going to be basing their ‘reputation’ on the quality of the things they endorse.

    What this really shows (and I have seen this heaps of times) is that when asked, people are always, always reluctant to say that they are swayed by advertising or official endorsements.

    The single worst question to ask in a survey is a generic question about influence. Influence isn’t generic. It’s very specific. You can ask very specific questions about what influenced a specific purchase. But general questions about what influences you in general have this consistent pattern – myself and my friends are more important and ads, companies or celebrities.
    We love to think we are immune to persuasion. Sometimes we are, sometimes we;re not. But we’re never going to tell you we care.

    Thanks for the link though. It’s a good presentation and there are a lot of lessons in there Marketers from around the world need to heed.

  2. Kris Hoet says:

    True. Every enterprise/agency research is some kind of plug to sell more of what they believe in, but I’m pretty sure you agree there are some interesting lessons to learn from it (as you mention as well).

    Since the chart looks at these so-called superinfluencers vs. the index of all respondents, it only shows that there is no real difference between them and everyone else which doesn’t show mean the good/bad product experience isn’t the main driver overall. I just found it interesting which motivations stood out vs. the average, such as the fashionable element or the celebrity endorsements.

    And yes indeed, influence is a fascinating subject and not something that can be solved through a generic question. Part of the research as you say as well is a way for the agency to confirm their self-defined ‘superinfluencer’ target audience of course.

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