This article investigates how fashion companies build their relationships with digital influencers (DIs), a new group of cultural intermediaries who are increasingly central to brand communication strategies. Scholars have mostly studied DIs' role in influencing the market, but largely neglected the process through which they build their work. Through a qualitative inductive research directed at 21 Italian fashion companies, we describe the process through which companies fabricate the authenticity work, while collaborating with DIs. By taking the overlooked perspective of the company brand owner, we identify the underlying dynamics of achieving co-fabricated authenticity, unpacking the mechanisms through which companies select DIs, shape the connections and regulate the reciprocity with them. Our findings highlight how companies and DIs' practices become intertwined, with the commodity of authenticity being constructed at the crossroads between the former's commercial needs and the latter's grassroots narratives and practices. 'Co-fabricated authenticity' ultimately emerges as the result of the work of those actors who are engaged in managing the authenticity or processes of authentication of marketable goods: the intangible and ephemeral value of authenticity is made tangible and co-produced through the collaboration between brands and cultural intermediaries such as DIs.

Got to be real: An investigation into the co-fabrication of authenticity by fashion companies and digital influencers

Pedroni, M
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

This article investigates how fashion companies build their relationships with digital influencers (DIs), a new group of cultural intermediaries who are increasingly central to brand communication strategies. Scholars have mostly studied DIs' role in influencing the market, but largely neglected the process through which they build their work. Through a qualitative inductive research directed at 21 Italian fashion companies, we describe the process through which companies fabricate the authenticity work, while collaborating with DIs. By taking the overlooked perspective of the company brand owner, we identify the underlying dynamics of achieving co-fabricated authenticity, unpacking the mechanisms through which companies select DIs, shape the connections and regulate the reciprocity with them. Our findings highlight how companies and DIs' practices become intertwined, with the commodity of authenticity being constructed at the crossroads between the former's commercial needs and the latter's grassroots narratives and practices. 'Co-fabricated authenticity' ultimately emerges as the result of the work of those actors who are engaged in managing the authenticity or processes of authentication of marketable goods: the intangible and ephemeral value of authenticity is made tangible and co-produced through the collaboration between brands and cultural intermediaries such as DIs.
2022
Colucci, M; Pedroni, M
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2497554
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