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Birkbeck lecturer wins award for research into social influencers and corporate reputation

Dr Benedetta Crisafulli won the best paper award for a research paper exploring the impact of social influencers’ presence in crisis responses on corporate reputation.

Dr Benedetta Crisafulli from Birkbeck’s Department of Management has won the best paper award at the 4th International Colloquium on Corporate Branding, Identity, Image and Reputation (COBIIR) for her research into corporate crisis management, and the use of online influencers to mitigate reputational crises.

The paper, co-authored with academics from Kingston University London and the University of Westminster, examines how partnerships of corporations with influencers impact public trust, particularly in the event of crises.

It is the first study to assess the impact of social influencers on post-crisis corporate reputation, at a time when over two-thirds of multinational brands plan to increase spending on influencer marketing.

Dr Crisafulli explains: “Global spending on influencer marketing is rising, and expected to reach $10 billion dollars by 2022. While prominent social media influencers can be invaluable in boosting the reach of brands and their overall sales, our research found that in times of crisis, they may be detrimental to corporate reputation.

"Our study indicates that consumers are suspicious of messages delivered by social influencers affiliated to the corporate brand in crisis. The presence of social influencers increases the perception of the corporate brand as manipulative in its intent.”

The COBIIR was organised by Middlesex University London and took place in Italy on the 3 – 4 September 2018.

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