This study aims to test the effect that the perceived legitimacy of influencers has on the attitude toward the brand from the consumer point of view, as well as the mediating effect brand trust has on the relationship between the perceived legitimacy of influencers and attitude toward the brand.
By using Google Forms to distribute links on various social media platforms, data were collected between January 15, 2021, and February 20, 2021. The population participants were all over 18 and had social media accounts. In the questionnaire, participants were asked to write down three influencers that they followed. They were then asked to answer the other statements in the survey with these three influencers in mind. Participants were included through convenience sampling from the population. A total of 514 people answered the questionnaire. These questions were then subjected to a statistical analysis using PLS-SEM.
The results showed that cognitive, moral and pragmatic legitimacies significantly affect brand trust. Moreover, the moral and pragmatic legitimacies significantly affect the attitude towards the brand. Regarding the mediation effect, results showed that brand trust has a mediating effect between the perceived legitimacy of influencers and attitude towards the brand.
One of the main limitations of this study is that the data were collected by convenience sampling. Therefore, the research results cannot be generalised. Another limitation is that the study measures general perceptions of influencers' legitimacy, so it has not been addressed in terms of a specific product group, follower or influencer self-branding issues.
The managerial contribution of this research centers on the ability to evaluate the influencers and their legitimacy in society; not only by their follower count but also by the legitimacy factors that can be named under the name of primary legitimacy norms. Managers will then be able to use this framework to determine which influencers they want to work with.
When the literature was reviewed, no study was found that examined and measured the perceived legitimacy of influencers in terms of social norms, values and morals. This research aims to add the concept of the perceived legitimacy of influencers to the discussion in the literature, embody the legitimate framework of influencers' activities and provide a more general conceptual basis for persuasiveness in influencer marketing.
This study is a significantly expanded version of the abstract paper presented at the 25th National Marketing Congress in Turkey on July 1, 2021.
Bora Semiz, B. and Paylan, M. (2023), "A study on the mediating effect of brand trust between perceived legitimacy of influencers and attitude toward brand: evidence from Turkey", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 35 No. 9, pp. 2181-2197. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-08-2022-0702
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