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The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Influencer Self-identity and Brand Equity

Project Description

The research will focus on identity, brand equity and social media influencers and how influencers, as content marketing creators, positively, or otherwise, impact on the brand. Over the past decade, within the fashion and lifestyle sectors, there has been an emergence and subsequent exponential growth of influencer marketing. This is happening at the same time there is a rise in mental health issues, particularly, in teenagers and young adults. Links between use of social media and well-being are well documented in the media wherein negative postings have been reported as being detrimental to a person’s health. Influencers who use highly curated and photoshoped images can contribute to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and poor self-identity. Less well documented is the influencers who themselves can suffer from the pressure of presenting tailored representations of their self-identities. Further, given influencer marketing is a new area, there is limited understanding of the effect of the influencer’s self-identity on brand equity. Within this context:

What is the impact on influencers of monetising their identities through brands?
What are the impacts of influencer marketing on brand equity?
What are the implications for influencers own well-being in building brand equity?

This interdisciplinary research will draw upon and contribute to knowledge in the subjects of marketing, specifically, branding and word of mouth marketing, and identity.

Brief description of supervisor esteem

Dr Ruth Marciniak: is a member of Fashion Marketing & Consumption SIG in the Academy of Marketing ( and a member of the British Academy of Management ( Subject expertise is in fashion, digital marketing and retailing. To date she has had 3 successful PhD research completions, currently supervises 4 PhDs (2 as first supervisor, 1 as second, 1 as third) and has examined 2 PhDs.

Dr Dina Khalifa: has supervised masters’ dissertations in the UK during the past five years. Her research interests and potential PhD supervision topics include the following: Identity threats and Luxury consumption, Luxury brand status threats, Luxury Brand rejection and group conformity and Luxury value perception

Dr Lindsey Drylie Carey: is a Senior Lecturer in Consumer Behaviour and Research Methods from Glasgow Caledonian University and she also leads on international development of partnerships across the Glasgow School for Business and Society. Her teaching expertise lies within the discipline of Marketing and she teaches at both undergraduate and Masters levels and Doctoral level. She is actively involved in research in the area of consumer behaviour and sustainability particularly looking at the context of organic food (including farmers’ markets), ethical fashion and organic beauty products. An emerging area of interest is also wellbeing and social media, particularly through blogging and influencer marketing. She has presented on these topics at conferences and published in peer reviewed academic journals. She is also an external examiner, a reviewer for academic journals, member of the scientific committee of a research methods conference and she is called upon to comment on consumer and retail issues within the national press as she is currently the consumer expert for the Mail on Sunday (Scotland).

Specific requirements of the project:

Applicants should be able to demonstrate an interest in at least some aspects of the topic area i.e. fashion and lifestyle industries, branding, identity, well-being and content marketing.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate experience in using either quantitative and qualitative methods.

Candidates are requested to submit a more detailed proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of the application.

How to apply:

Project Reference Number: GCUL-2019-001 Marciniak


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. Applicants should complete the online GCU Research Application Form, stating the Project Title and Reference Number (listed above).

Please attach copies of academic qualifications (including IELTS if required), 2 references and any other relevant documentation to the online application.

Please send any enquiries regarding your application to:

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

For more information on how to apply and the online application form please go to:

Funding Notes

This project is self-funded. A variety of scholarship packages including funded studentships (tuition fees and stipend) and fees only scholarships are available to UK/EU and international candidates. The studentships are not guaranteed and candidates interested will be competing against others in the funding opportunity.

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