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Vero: Online influencers have greater effect on young Vietnamese

Released at: 09:49, 30/12/2019

Vero: Online influencers have greater effect on young Vietnamese

Photo: Vero

New study by regional marketing agency demonstrates a generational shift in purchasing decision-making.

by Hong Nhung

The digital revolution in Vietnam has changed how young people interact with brands, according to a new study of Vietnamese Millennials and Gen Z by ASEAN integrated marketing agency Vero.

The study, entitled “Vietnam’s New Influencers: Gen Z, Gen Y, and the Shift of Trust”, documents the ongoing rise of online influencers as part of broader generational changes in Vietnam - many of which are tied to advances in technology. It is based on a survey of a representative sample of 300 members of Generation Y (known as Gen Y or Millennials, born from 1980 to 1994), and Generation Z (Gen Z, born from 1995 to 2010) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Traditional advertisements and celebrity endorsements are losing ground in Vietnam, the study found. While celebrities from the worlds of TV and music have learned to engage fans online, online native influencers have become equally popular and are more influential. For this reason, brands that wish to reach young consumers in Vietnam will benefit from familiarizing themselves with the new influencer-based marketing landscape.

“Influencers were once considered merely support tools to share branded content,” said Mr. Phuc Ngo, Vero’s IMC Strategic Planner in Vietnam. “Now, however, they play a key role in the communications landscape by allowing brands to connect directly with specific communities to build trust and maximize reach, in contrast to TV ads, which by their nature must appeal to a broad audience.”

“An influencer’s fan community will follow them across platforms, proactively seek out their content on a regular basis, and place more trust in products and brands the influencer endorses. Success in modern influencer marketing requires a willingness to see influencers as essential elements of the communications process.”

One of the study’s most prominent points is that young Vietnamese perceive modern influencers as fundamentally different from traditional advertising. Besides acting as product spokespersons, influencers are first and foremost “sources of information and relatable individuals with genuine and relevant stories to share.” This means that those brands that can harness the power of Vietnamese influencers will engage a highly active audience that deliberately seeks out their content.

The study reports that nearly half of Vietnamese followers say they like it when influencers promote brands, and 66 per cent say they are more likely to trust a brand after seeing an influencer post about it.

As a result, the study found that influencers rank first among communication channels in the level of trust they inspire. Seventy per cent of followers in the study say that influencers believe in their own endorsements, even if they are paid or gifted by brands. It speculates that this is because trust among influencers is a kind of currency - the primary thing that separates them from ads, and are therefore at the core of their value.

The study shows that Gen Y have warmed to influencers but the attitudes and behavior of Gen Z are friendlier still - they follow more influencers and topics, consume more influencer content more often using more platforms (Instagram didn’t start to catch on in Vietnam until Gen Z came of age), engage more readily with influencer content, and buy more products recommended by influencers. They also care less about an influencer’s fame compared to the quality of their content.

“Vietnamese Millennials have led the charge towards the modern digital society, and PR specialists of their generation are creating some of the most effective marketing campaigns today,” said Mr. Raphael Lachkar, Director of Vero’s Vietnam office.

“However, the internet they grew up with was different from the one Gen Z now spends much of their lives in. Millennial marketers should not appeal solely to an audience of their own generation - they must also reach the consumers of the future, who are part of an influencer-first generation.”

The study also identifies some intriguing differences between Vietnam’s north and south, as well as between men and women. Hanoians are more trusting but more demanding, it found, while women have more positive feelings for influencers and men purchase more influencer-endorsed products.

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