Opinion makers

In 2016 the communications and marketing consulting firm called Porter Novelli, conducted a research entitled Study of Authority of Digital Influencers. The objective of this project was to understand how the position of influencers has an impact on the communicative process and what their influence on the positioning of a brand with respect to the audience is. In addition, it analysed the importance of these people when reinforcing values such as truthfulness and relevance in an environment full of post-truths such as social networks and the Internet.

The study showed that digital influence in Colombia is led by people/influencers (71 percent), media (18 percent) and brands (11 percent). According to these results, the group of people who have been called influencers impact more than 50 percent in the opinion of those who follow them, which are usually between 18 to 38 years of age. As many other countries in the world, social media such as Twitter have gradually become in an important source of information for most news media. Influential political leaders such as Alvaro Uribe uses Twitter to inform about different topics of the national agenda, which are then quoted in most print and broadcast media. The information tweeted by Senator Uribe tends to be questioned/commented by different political and social actors, creating a series of loops that allow positioning Uribe's theme on the national news agenda.

The Study of Authority of Digital Influencers has identified five categories:

  1. Fashion, where it was found that the most followed profiles are those of actresses or presenters such as Carolina Gómez, Beatriz Arango, Yuri Vargas and Jennifer Leibovici; the relevant brands of the sector are Studio F, Bata Colombia, Abril One and Bésame Colombia; and the media are Caracol News, Caracol TV, RCN Channel, El Tiempo and RCN Radio.
  2. Technology, with most influential brands such as LG, Samsung, Sony and Playstation; media such as Caracol Radio, La FM, Enter and Dinero Magazine.
  3. Consumption, which reflected that the most influential people in Colombia are Carolina Gómez, Felipe Arias and José Carlos García. Falabella, Éxito, Samsung Colombia and Panamericana brands are leaders in this sector; while in the media El Tiempo, FM and Marketing to Marketing are very influential.
  4. Sports, where the most influential personalities are Falcao, James Rodríguez, the Colombia National Team, David Ospina and Freddy Guarín. The outstanding brands are Samsung Mobile, Cerveza Águila, Huawei Mobile, Adidas Colombia and Puma.
  5. News and Politics, where the prominent people are Daniel Coronell, Antanas Mockus, Daniel Samper and Vladdo, while the most influential media in this sector are Semana, El Espectador, El Tiempo, W Radio and Noticias Uno.

This latest data is confirmed by a study developed by the firm Cifras y Conceptos, which in a report of 2018 showed that the most read columnists in the political sphere are Daniel Coronell (24 percent), María Jimena Duzán (12 percent), Daniel Samper Ospina (11 percent), María Isabel Rueda (6 percent), Antonio Caballero (6 percent), Mauricio Vargas (4 percent), Salud Hernández (3 percent) and Rudolf Hommes (3 percent). In addition, traditional print media often have informal opinion columns. Examples of this are La Pulla, which is an audiovisual opinion column of El Espectador, and El Colombiano Blog, which honours the newspaper that precedes it. Other news and opinion blogs consulted by Colombians are Equinoxio, Las 2 Orillas and Café Guagua. On Twitter, the most followed politicians are former President Juan Manuel Santos and Senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez, who has 4.89 million followers and is usually controversial in his tweets.

The main conclusion that can be reached with these results is that people understand reality in terms of what they assume as true according to their own values and to the beliefs that reinforce a personal vision of the world. Therefore, this tends to foster ideas when there are relationships with other people who think similarly, even without knowing each other. In a similar way, it is also fair to say that many people tend to trust celebrity figures or public figures whose ideas and opinions about different public affairs issues are aligned with their own views.