Consumers’ Desire to Mimic

October 2, 2022

By: Molly Remillard

Figure 1 Photo By: Mateus Campos Felipe via

Would you immediately buy a product if a random person told you, it was their favorite? Why do we all fall into that with online influencers? In a world of social media, online shopping, and the new craze, amazon storefronts, it is easy to get sucked into online shopping. Online shopping is already almost as low maintenance as it gets, and social media influencers make it that much more accessible and easier to be a consumer. TikTok influencers especially have taken the world by storm with their catchy 30 second hauls full of clothes, shoes, toiletries and almost anything else you can think of. But why do we blindly trust these “influencers”? How do these people convince us to not only buy something but think we absolutely need almost anything they show us.

What Makes a Social Media Influencer?

To transform from a regular social media user to a social media influencer, one must win over audiences with their personal taste. This is called Taste Leadership. Factors that play a role in social media influencers attempt at persuading or influencing large masses are, attractiveness, prestige, expertise, information, interaction. These all play a role in taste leadership. After proving their personal taste is good, they grow the power to influence large masses of people or followers. Their ability to persuade an audience to buy something or subscribe to a membership or essentially just sell a product is what gets them involved with brands. Brands will pick up on their ability to sell just by simply saying they use or like a product and will put these people on PR lists and promote them with brand deals.

Personal Taste

Personal taste is something everybody has but what makes an influencer able to persuade a large audience is their proof of elevated or elite personal taste. Attractiveness and aesthetic appeal play a large role in what makes those somebody seem to have elevated or good personal taste. A great example is Emma Chamberlain. She has proven herself time and time again to have an aesthetic, appealing, and attractive personal taste. She is the “it girl” when it comes to influencing and her unique personal taste is what sets her apart and makes her wildly influential.    

Doppelganger Effect

As consumers we develop a desire to mimic especially with “consumption role models” otherwise known as social media influencers. The consumer doppelganger effect is a phenomenon where consumers desire to mimic specifically consumption behaviors subconsciously to look like the influencer they are modeling. This is important to note as consumers of goods and of content on social media. It is very easy to view social media influencers and idolize them. Social media is a large highlight reel where influencers can paint a picture of their life that looks perfect.

Relevance to Integrated Marketing Communication  

This topic discusses how one becomes a social media influencer and is able to convince mass amounts of consumers to buy a product just because they recommended it. This is directly related to IMC because it is how an individual markets a product to consumers through communicating their taste or relevance. Their communication of their taste and relevance is what determines how influential they are in their marketing of items


Ki, C-W‘C’,  Kim, Y-K.  The mechanism by which social media influencers persuade consumers: The role of consumers’ desire to mimic. Psychol Mark.  2019; 36: 905– 922.