• Do you know how when you are shopping for a product, you are more likely to choose a brand that you have heard of before, rather than one that is totally unfamiliar to you? That’s called brand awareness, and it plays a big role in shaping our purchasing decisions.

    Brand awareness is all about how familiar consumers are with a particular brand, and depending on that, they would be more likely to consider it when making a purchase. That’s why building brand awareness is such an important part of any marketing strategy: it could be a decision changer. 

    To get to this point, we need to pass the old-ways of thinking. People are aware no brand is perfect, and they are not looking for that. It’s important to communicate a message that actually is appealing to the consumer to build that kind of relationship where a person sees a brand and feels connected to it, the “I won’t even hesitate” while they take the product or buy the service. 

    There are a few different ways that brands can build awareness: traditional advertising, like TV commercials and radio spots, are still on the go, but we can all agree that, these days, it’s all about being strongly present in social media and as we indicated in our State of Influencer Marketing report, using influencer marketing is on the top list of marketing strategies in every 8 out of 10 marketers. 

    By partnering with influencers who have a deep influence in some consumers, brands can reach a wider audience and get their name in front of more people, but without the “I just want you to buy me” tag; when people see their favourite influencer using or promoting a particular product, they’re more likely to remember the brand and consider it in the future, or the feel the FOMO if they don’t belong to the “brand group”.

    Actually, as we reported in our study based on Communications Matters data, 66% of Gen-Zers are more likely to trust recommendations from friends, family members, or influencers on social platforms. More than just that, 82% have purchased, researched or considered purchasing a product or service after seeing friends, family, or influencers post about it.

    Of course, it’s not just about getting your brand in front of people, it’s also important to make sure that your brand is memorable and stands out from the competition. This is where things like branding, messaging, and product design come into the equation: by creating a unique and memorable brand identity, driving the correct message, you can make yourself room in the mind of the consumers.

    Overall, brand awareness is all about making sure that people know who you are and what you have to say, but here comes a tricky situation: being aligned with your target and consumer values needs to be based on real actions, and not being there just by words. 

    One key to building your brand image is brand trust. When you build trust in your brand, you solidify your image in the minds of consumers.”

    Forbes, 2023

    Being “woke”: what’s the strategy? 

    The answer is: it’s not a strategy. Or, at least, it should not. 

    The highlighted audience of these past years and upcoming ones are the Gen-Zers and Millennials, both audiences that are strongly committed to social causes, taking action in protecting their moral values and changing the cultural rules to build a better future. Words like revolution, deconstruction and emotional responsibility are strongly present in their daily vocabulary. For them a classic ad with the benefits of the brand is not the way to go, so we need to care about what they care about, and we need to be in their relevant topics to be considered one of them.  

    A brand can be considered “woke” if it demonstrates a commitment to this social justice concept and equity in its practices and messaging. This can include taking a stance on issues related to race, gender, and other marginalised groups, actively engaging in social and political causes, and promoting diversity and inclusivity in its products and marketing. This last scenario is extremely important, since we need to actually care for all types of people, and not only the ideal buyer. 

    However, it’s also important to note that being “woke” is not just about making statements or using the right buzzwords. A brand that wants to be seen as “woke” must also be willing to take action and make real changes to its practices and policies: diversifying its workforce, promoting equitable hiring and promotion practices, and supporting causes that align with its values; actions that sometimes are not published in some media or drive leads, but that’s what being empathetic is about: we cannot do it for the likes. 

    It’s indispensable for brands to be authentic and transparent in their messaging and practices, since consumers are increasingly aware of “woke-washing”, where brands use social justice causes as a marketing ploy without actually making substantive changes to their practices, and this can lead to the feared cancellation on social media. In order to be seen as truly “woke”, a brand must be willing to back up its messaging with real action and demonstrate a genuine commitment to the social cause they stand for. 

    Influencer’s role in brand awareness

    Influencers can play an important role in a brand’s awareness strategy since they can help humanise a brand and make it more relatable to consumers, create a sense of social proof, as consumers may be more likely to trust the opinions and recommendations of people they follow on social media, ultimately, a brand can drive its values through the right choice of influencer representation.

    Influencer marketing can help brands reach niche or hard-to-reach audiences. For example, if a brand wants to target a specific demographic or group, they can partner with micro influencers who have a large following within that group. This can be particularly effective for brands that operate in niche or specialised markets, and at SAMY we have studied these niche decentralised communities to understand how to get brands in there without disrupting the environment they protect so dearly. 

    However, it’s important to note that influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it cannot protect a brand from woke-washing and, without the proper selection, it can backfire the communication of a brand to be involved with certain digital-famous people. It’s important for any brands to carefully consider their target audience, messaging, and overall marketing strategy before investing in influencer marketing, and not stopping at that point. Brands should be transparent about their partnerships with influencers and ensure that any sponsored content is clearly labelled as such.

    Cancel culture is another proof that Gen-Z and Zillennials are, each day, taking more control over their digital spaces and are willing to fight for the protection of their ideals, and will call out any practice that they consider dishonest. According to the Insider, some see it as a necessary means of holding people accountable for their actions, while others view it as a form of “justice” that can create a toxic and intolerant environment. Whether it’s a good practice or not, brands need to be aware of the damage it can represent to the reputation of the brand, and the only way they can protect themselves from cancel culture is by being coherent and authentic with their actions and words, monitoring social media, having a crisis communication plan in place, engaging through different channels, and taking responsibility and action if needed.

  • TikTok is the most trusted source for many Gen-Z users, who choose this platform over everything, even a doctor’s appointment, because of its accessibility, affordability and approachability, reported Forbes. But, why does a huge majority of young people rely on TikTok so much? 

    The answer is as simple as voluminous: micro-influencers 

    This social media tool; TikTok is not only a platform that connects people with their favourite artists and idols, but it also allows small and medium sized content creators to grow and reach new audiences, and this audience love to see their “friends” rise. 

    And that’s the key of the success possibility in TikTok for micro-influencers. It is a place for them to build a strong community in a relatively short time, and of course it implies effort and constancy, but it’s indeed faster than any other platform in the market right now. This happens because the social network is managed by an algorithm that shows users selected clips based on their content preferences.

    This means that content creators can talk about their expertise, show their growing business, interests, likes and dislikes, daily life, struggles, goals and projects… And they will find an audience for all that. An audience that will see them as their friends, as long distance but loved friends, and will show their affection and care by interacting and sharing their content, helping them to reach similar people. In this sense, micro-influencers don’t need to be “perfect” or have a huge career like famous idols, they just need to be real, creative and charming. 

    Of course, it’s a huge pool of competition, because there are many options for many people to become an influencer and grow in their stages (nano, mid, macro, mega and micro-influencers), and TikTok requires 10.000 followers y 100.000 views in the last 30 days to participate for the Creator Fund and get paid by them, even then it’s still a possibility for more than one, and that’s shown by the +90.000 of influencers that registered in the platform between 2018 and 2020. 

    Tiktok influencers x brands 

    For brands, this is game-changing, because by working with influencers, they don’t have to interrupt the audience’s content flow with a post or video advertising that results in violent and disruptive action, and could lead to a backfire reaction. By choosing the right influencer, they can introduce themselves and their brand’s product or service with ease and naturality, and they gain the confidence the influencer already has with the consumers. 

    As reported by the Financial Times, TikTok requires up to 62% less investment than Snapchat to reach 1,000 impressions and almost half as much as Reels; it almost triples impressions per video compared to Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts. The results of this huge-reach dynamic are obvious, and that’s why brands increased their investment in this social network by 66% in 2022.

    TikTok and the gate for new business

    TikTok is so aware of the opportunity it represents for many brands, and especially many growing business or personal brands, that they launched in January 2023 TikTok Academy, a Europe-wide online education platform, meant to train all-sized brands and agencies in the corporate use and business possibilities of the app.

    “The TikTok Academy is designed to educate advertisers through a gamified journey full of interactive and engaging experiences. This will help advertisers at all stages learn how to create engaging content on TikTok that captures the audience’s attention while driving desired business results,” said Trevor Johnson, marketing director, of global business solutions EUI at TikTok

    It aims to turn digital advertisers into TikTok experts. The courses include topics such as creativity, advertising and community safety, and it also offers a specific course for small businesses, which will help them create content that connects with their audience and drives better business performance.

    In the eye of advertising, everything is a tool and we, as marketers and experts, need to learn how to use the data of these platforms to create smart, creative and effective strategies, either working with influencers or through the brand’s own channel, understanding the possibilities allows us to think forward. 

  • Even the biggest luxury brands can take their game even higher with the correct choice of ambassadors and representatives.

    This is such the case of Dior with Kpop singer and BTS member Park Jimin. We might believe that there are brands that “already made it”, that do not need more upgrades or changes or are already so positioned that they just follow their own rules, but that’s far away from the truth. All brands need to move forward, based on their values and improve what they do by listening to their customers’ to meet their needs and desires.

    That was the case of the luxury fashion brand DIOR, which was selected in 2022 as the second most popular luxury brand in the world by Luxe Digital Magazine, when it announced on January 16th that BTS member Jimin is their ambassador and he would be attending the Paris Fashion Week. 

    In less than a week Dior became the biggest winner in the market, and we can see it both socially and financially.

    On the socially-digital topic, we just need to check the announcement posts by Dior’s social media: they became the highest liked in the history of the brand’s account on Twitter and Instagram

    Then we can check the brand’s financial status: Investing, one of the top three global financial websites in the world, shows that Dior’s stocks hit an all-time high after Jimin was named as their new brand ambassador. The brand, listed on the stock market since 1992, saw its stock price rise to €775.50 EUR on the day of the announcement (Jan 16), and reach €789.00 EUR by Jan 18, marking its highest record in 31 years.

    As Dior expands its reach in South Korea, the brand is taking advantage of the country’s high spending on personal luxury goods. At $325 per person per year, South Korea has the highest spending on fashion-luxury items, according to Reuters and Morgan Stanley, making smart alliances is not only about entering the country’s market but also sharing its reach. And that leads us to the final point: ambassadors.

    Dior has maintained its presence as a luxury fashion house for decades, so, why do they need new ambassadors?

    Precisely to get new audiences. KPop has been rising and has a global reach, so it’s not only about getting the Asian market to buy their goods, it is getting popularity among the Gen-Z and Millennials, who are known for being superfans with the Kpop universe. The kind of energy and love that drives people to meet their idol in a venue, either in Seoul, New York or Paris, is what brands are looking for to be involved. 

    According to fashion executives, KPop partnerships (from singers to actors and so called idols) are seen as good investments in the industry because of their influence among their audience, who often see buying the products stars promote or represent as a way of showing their love. Of course, this is the place every brand wants to be in. 

    Luxury houses like Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Valentino, Givenchy, Loewe, Alexander McQueen and many others have signed deals with Kpop idols in recent years. Louis Vuitton, for example, announced all 7 members of BTS as their global ambassadors and their stock value achieved its all-time highest point as well, surpassing $600k stock price (+58k compared to previous month).

    So, we are not talking about small numbers, closing the right deal with the correct ambassador could make a difference in terms of popularity and rentability for a brand (even for those in the big leagues). The ultimate goal of the brands is to increase their credibility and appear more authentic to reach the new generations, and that’s by showing they are connected with people’s favourite idols.

    We need to remember that representatives and influencers transfer their “value” to the brand’s communication, and this happens on all kinds of levels. It’s not only about a luxury bag or scarf anymore, but it is also the brand that Park Jimin uses and fans want to be closer to him and support his actions at the same time, and that is thus becoming a fan of the brand as well.

  • Live shopping or social e-commerce happens on our social media platforms in real-time. How does it work? The brand or one of its influencers shares in real time what products are for sale, their benefits, and even the brand’s favourite products. It reminds us a bit of what we used to see back in time with telecommerce programs; the brand would deeply explain every product in each category. 

    Why should we consider using this tactic as a brand for holiday and after-holiday sales? 

    As mentioned in our “Consumer Trends 2022” report, by 2026, 60% of millennial and Gen Z consumers will prefer purchasing on social platforms over traditional digital commerce platforms. 

    TikTok, the pioneer in video format, is also a pioneer in live video formats.  Live shopping surfs this wave of video content, generating the most powerful bond with the audience.

    Live shopping brings closer the relationship between the brand and the influencer to the audience. When an influencer recommends a brand, customers experience real-time engagement with the brand. They believe the influencer, follow their recommendations and want what they have. Making it live gives the customer a chance to ask all their questions, get some inspiration and ideas and access the most authentic part of the brand. Thanks to this, customers shop smarter. 

    On the other hand, thanks to a live shopping experience, the influencer or the brand can give a more detailed review, giving the audience access to the behind-scenes of the brand. 

    This way they can learn about the values, their way of work and exciting and fun facts about the products. 

    “Nearly one-third of B2B and B2C organizations have included selling on social platforms as part of their digital commerce strategy — motivated by growing customer purchase activity on social channels. As e-tailers vie for market share, brands need to rethink the customer experience and how organizational design supports it.”

    Charles Ruyant Global Head of Performance at Thyga. State of Influencer 2022

    The impact of our influencers over live shopping

    Social e-commerce is expanding fast and is accelerating influencers’ effect on the retail industry by raising the competition. According to RetailDive, 72% of consumers buy and consume influenced by something or somebody they saw on Instagram. Social e-commerce is rapidly evolving, and brands seek to capitalise on all the purchase avenues available. Even McKinsey estimates that by 2026, live stream commerce sales could account for as 20% of all e-commerce. 

    As said in our State of Influencer 2022, Live shopping represents the ultimate expression of retail and Influencer Marketing. The main benefit of live shopping is that it creates an actual real-time shopping experience in which customers and brands become closer. Live shopping allows customers to interact directly with the brand via live Q&As over products. Live shopping is an opportunity to share product details, demos and the ones on sale at that specific moment. 

    If we prioritise our relationship with influencers, we will be on the correct path to building a successful live shopping experience for our audience. Influencers already have their audience, and it’s an audience that believes in them. So, since viewers are already interested in what the influencer has to say, brands have a smaller gap to close when motivating their customer’s purchase decisions. Use the power of your influencer over its audience correctly. 

    Watch out! Some platforms have new ideas for their live shopping experience!

    From YouTube to You

    Three YouTubers have come together to celebrate the holiday season on Youtube. Their mission? Promote beauty products in a stimulating cosy cabin in the woods. But unlike these YouTubers’ typical edited content, this collaboration is broadcasted live for their fans. Opening a new era for Youtube, this unique action “From Youtube to you” opens the holiday shopping season and the expansion of the platform to the live shopping format. 

    POG Picks

    Twitch is restoring its Pog Picks live shopping. Pog Picks, produced by Twitch’s Brand Partnership Studio and hosted by Twitch streamers, showcases products from editorial picks and brand sponsorships and encourages viewers to compete to win the products. 

    Types of POG Picks:

    There are many different types of POG Picks. Holiday Hive, a POG Pick in the US, is a live, interactive game show hosted by streamers sharing products from brand sponsors to inspire viewers to buy during Black Friday and Cyber Monday or other Holiday dates such as Christmas. 

    The POG Pick MultEHevers is a three-hour livestream in Canada featuring viewers predicting the winners of streamer challenges. Brands like Samsung, Chromebook, Doritos and the Source sponsored the MultEHvers. The Black Friday Battle Deal showcases products and head-to-head gaming, where viewers can win sponsor prizes, giveaways, and Twitch gift subscriptions.  

    TalkShopLive

    As we’ve seen in our State of Influencer Marketing 2022, TalkShopLive events statistically have three to nine times more sales than other online pre-orders with a 45% organic cart-to-purchase, so this new in-store experience makes total sense for the platform and the user. Now, the leading live shopping marketplace announces that it will offer customers the option for in-store pickup for the first time in partnership with Best Buy. The platform’s newest innovation eliminates costly shipping expenses while getting products to customers faster than any other live shopping marketplace. TalkShopLive’s in-store pickup is another step in creating a seamless shopping experience for live commerce consumers and connecting the retail landscape.

    Inspired by Amazon

    The Amazon in-app shop allows customers to discover ideas, explore products, and view content created by other customers, influencers, and brands they love. Just like a Tik Tok feed, Inspired features endless photos and videos that the user can swipe through, and once they see something they like, they can buy it with one click. This new in-app shop solves one of the biggest eCommerce websites, the absence of users. This new way of shopping will invite more customers to spend time on Amazon, though they will still have to compete with the other social media apps that offer more than just shopping experiences. 

  • It is undeniable that today’s creativity and advertising go hand in hand with social media platforms. The familiarity that this new way of targeting the consumer transmits has managed to achieve an even more significant impact in a short time than traditional media. However, is it worth it when it comes to generating content? The answer is no. Although the platforms have achieved excellent results in recent years, the truth is that the consumer needs new stimuli. The excess of advertising is becoming increasingly exhausting and is beginning to generate rejection among the audience.

    How to solve it? Brands are transparent; creativity must be the main ingredient for Influencer Marketing campaigns to be accepted naturally and organically. And the primary goal of campaigns with influencers is to generate brand awareness and increase engagement with their audiences. This has raised different debates within agencies about influencers’ participation in the creative process of campaigns. After all,  they know their followers and what works for them.

    Influencers as a creative part of the process

    It is impossible not to have heard of the latest advertising campaign for the Spanish food service start-up specializing in hamburgers: Vicio. A campaign around a play on words with the name of the competition (GOIKO) and the leading influencer (Jessica Goicoechea). 

    “This is the first campaign of this style that we carried out in Vice, and we wanted to be faithful to our style. Having Jessica as the first visible face of Vice could not make us more excited since we both share values and principles when it comes to communicating. At Vicio, we are natural and honest, and we like to define our style as “Elegant Flash”. We believe that our values fit perfectly with Jessica and with the content she creates”, points out its Co-founder and Co-CEO.

    This campaign is a clear example of how unity is strength since it meets all the requirements for success; creativity, innovation and ingenuity through its key protagonist, the influencer Jessica Goicochea.

    Influencers and creativity: the main characters 

    In addition to the Vicio campaign, we find other brands where the strategy spins around creativity, such as the Nutella campaign. In it, not only does creativity stand out, but also the correct choice of the protagonists to transmit the messages. Through “We have good things at home”, the campaign vindicates our land’s beauty, honouring our country’s unique landscapes thanks to its special edition jars. For this, the Samyroad agency created a strategy where everything took place in creating a space called “Casa Nutella”. A set of fun and educational activities were carried out by a group of influencers from different parts of the country, including Tania Llasera, Tomas Páramo, Alma Obregón and Barbesito, who transmitted the event through his Twitch account. This experiential event, where the influencers enjoyed different challenges related to our country’s landscapes and cooking, was a complete success thanks to the fact that it reached the audience in an organic, distinctive and creative way, providing value and content.

    These campaigns are clear benchmarks of how creativity in Influencer Marketing is, without a doubt, one of its cornerstones. With it, we not only manage to generate value in the audiences and position brands, but it also allows us to win over influencers when transmitting their messages. As we mentioned earlier, no one knows their followers better than they do, and nothing is more motivating for them than participating and being part of campaigns where they have a fundamental role and are listened to give their audience the quality content they deserve.

  • TikTok Ads: How to get started

    Date: October 31, 2022

    Category: Social Media

    TikTok Ads provides you with plenty of options to advertise on the platform. But first of all, it is important to recognize that TikTok has taken the internet by storm in recent months and a few years, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. 

    The platform has been downloaded over 2 billion times and has over 800 million active monthly users. 

    And with users spending an average of 52 minutes per day on the app, it’s no wonder that brands are starting to take notice and need to invest.

    If you’re thinking about using TikTok for your business, here’s everything you need to know about getting started with TikTok advertising.

    What is TikTok Advertising?

    As with other social media such as Facebook Ads, TikTok has launched its ad manager, called TikTok Ads or TikTok Business, to help brands and consumers with their campaigns and advertisements. 

    TikTok Advertising is a new and exciting way to reach out to potential customers on the popular short-form video app. 

    With over 800 million active users, TikTok offers businesses a huge opportunity to reach a wide range of people with their advertising campaigns. 

    Getting started with TikTok Advertising is easy and can be done in just a few simple steps.

    First, businesses need to create a TikTok account and start creating engaging content that will resonate with their target audience. 

    Once they have a solid following, they can then start running ads on the platform. TikTok offers a variety of ad types, so businesses can experiment to find what works best for them.

    TikTok and its audience diversity

    As TikTok becomes more and more popular, it’s important to remember that there is a diversity of audiences using the platform. 

    While some users are there for entertainment purposes, others are using it as a tool for marketing, networking, or even education. 

    It’s important to consider your audience when creating content for TikTok, as different types of users will be looking for different things. 

    Keep this in mind as you create content, and you’ll be sure to appeal to a wide range of users.

    TikTok is attracting a more diverse audience than other social media platforms for a number of reasons. 

    Firstly, the platform is extremely user-friendly and easy to use, making it accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. 

    Secondly, TikTok offers a wide range of content, from funny clips and videos to educational content and vlogs. 

    This means that there is something for everyone on the platform, regardless of their interests. 

    Finally, TikTok is constantly innovating and evolving, which keeps users engaged and coming back for more. 

    As a result, it is no surprise that TikTok is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media platforms around.

    Check some numbers:

    • 57% of Tiktok users are women and 43% are men. 
    • 43% of Tiktoks global audience is between 18 and 24 years old  
    • 32% of its users are between 25 and 34. 
    • Only 3.4% of Tiktoks audience is over the age of 55. 
    • 138 million users are from the United States. 
    • 21% of Americans have said that they have used tiktok in 2021. 
    • 90% of tiktok users visit the ap more than once in a day. 
    • Bytedance, the company that owns tiktok, has a collection of apps that has over 1 billion total monthly active uses.

    The Different Types of TikTok Ads

    There are 3 main types of TikTok ads: in-feed, branded content, and hashtag challenges. In-feed ads are the most common and appear in between users’ videos. 

    Branded content ads are sponsored videos from influencers or brands that are clearly marked as ads. 

    Hashtag challenges are creative campaigns that encourage users to submit videos using a specific hashtag.

    Also, we have picked out the various types of TikTok Ads so you can choose what will be most effective in reaching your target audience. 

    In-feed video 

    These are ads that appear for TikTok users on the “For You” page.

    Brand takeover 

    This kind of ad is called “brand takeover” and enables you to dominate the conversation by taking up the whole screen for a few seconds. It then turns into a video ad.

    Spark ads 

    TikTok launched this ad type in 2021, giving brands the ability to sponsor organic content created by influencers who engage with audiences about that brand and its products.

    Image ads 

    Brands can place image ads in video ads that will appear on news-feed apps that are accessible through TikTok: BuzzVideo, TopBuzz and Babe.

    Video ads 

    These ads appear full-screen videos of 5 to 60 seconds in a user’s “For You” feed.

    Pangle ads 

    Pandle, a video management platform integrated with TikTok, offers different options for you to promote your videos on the platform. 

    By using video ads, you can target any audience from a specific country or demographic.

    Carousel ads 

    These ads allow you to provide up to 10 images that appear in TikTok’s news feed apps.

    To get started with TikTok advertising, businesses first need to create a profile on the app. Then, they can create an ad and choose their target audience. 

    TikTok offers a variety of targeting options, including location, age, gender, interests, and behaviors. 

    Once the ad is created, businesses can choose to run it as a promoted video or as an in -app photo story with multiple images

    The Different Types of TikTok Advertising Campaigns

    There are a few different types of TikTok advertising campaigns that brands can use to get started with this new and exciting social media platform. 

    For example, some brands choose to run influencer-led campaigns, where they work with popular TikTok users to promote their products or services. 

    Others opt for more traditional advertising methods, like running adverts in between users’ videos.

    Whichever approach you decide to take, it’s important to ensure that your TikTok advertising campaign is well-targeted and engaging. 

    After all, TikTok users are notoriously fickle, and if they don’t like what they see, they’re likely to move on to the next video in a matter of seconds.

    TikTok advertising might feel completely different from the other social platforms you’re advertising on, like the differences from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. But once you understand how to run ads on TikTok, you could see impressive results for your business.

    Now that you know what TikTok Ads is and how it works, whether you’re a company or an influencer, you can count on an Influencer Marketing team to help you grow. 

    At Samy, we have a community of influencers, who are directed to produce efficient content for your brand, including within TikTok.

  • A new entertainment channel and new frontiers

    The possibility for streamers to adapt classic entertainment (series, movies…) to the virtual world is something that has not stopped growing since the appearance of Twitch. 

    The Twitch series consists of grouping many content creators in a specific game. Once in the game, streamers generally follow a roll. Some are heroes, others villains, and others are. The game and the roles create a scenario where various plots occur, as diverse as the series’ participants or the game’s possibilities and new frontiers.

    What kind of entertainment?

    Although the concept of “series” is not new, you can find examples of this on Youtube (see the different chapters of Rubius in Skyrim 13 years ago). The new direct format that Twitch has made it more difficult for streamers to capture the attention of the public, who can now accompany them for hours.

    Series such as Egoland, for the survival type game Rust, promoted by Alexby, Marbella Vice for GTA and 14 days in DayZ (also survival) created by IlloJuan or Tortillaland in Minecraft; have shown that the narrative format proposed by the series is very successful on Twitch. The public waits week after week for their favourite streamers to broadcast the series. Here we have an excellent example of these new communicators’ influence capacity and a new possibility for influencer marketing in the audiovisual world.

    Streamers manage to adapt real-world series to virtual ones, and the best example is what happened with The Squid Game in Roblox, thanks to Rubius.  Rubius announced that he and 122 other YouTubers would compete for a $100,000 prize. The scenario, the tests and the feeling of tension were identical to the show.   During the event’s day, some participants, such as Auronplay or Ibai, entertained more than  100,000 spectators.

    What opportunities are there for the entertainment platforms?

    Big production companies should start thinking of reproducing the content they intend to release on sandbox-type platforms. Create a series for these platforms with the most successful streamers, as in the Game of Squid case, and create sequels to their greatest hits on Twitch formats. The idea of opening their world to the Twitch streaming world strengthens the relationship with their public and gives a new life to their products.

    Imagine creating special series of Game of Thrones on Twitch, of The Power of the Rings or even a reshoot of Harry Potter. 

    As a marketer, how could we adopt this opportunity for our brand?

    Now that audiovisual products have a better adaptation to the format of the Twitch series, advertisers need to follow this new way of entertainment closely.  Since some of the Twitch series could be the right place to create brand entertainment, add value to the brand, and above all, reinforce the most outstanding attributes of the brand.

    This year, parts of the famous hit Egoland 2 are being adapted to the platform so streamers can enjoy the adventure live and try and survive the whole game. Think of how as a marketer, you could enter these live “games”; how for example, a sports brand or a nature brand could create valuable and enjoyable experiences for their audience and new frontiers.

  • During the last years, we have experienced different adversities that have made us depend even more on the media to be able to inform our knowledge and learn how to face these challenges.

    This is nothing new. Since the first newspaper appeared in England in 1702, the media have served, apart from communicating news, as a tool for disseminating information to society.

    Today, however, younger generations, like Alpha, have exchanged traditional media for social media platforms. These new media platforms must also be understood as a change in how the message is spread and received. An influencer no longer only influences the public in certain aspects of their day; they can become a reference for each of the public’s decisions throughout their lives.

    Influencers that influence 

    Until now, our influencers have always been there to recommend different lifestyles. What to wear, what to eat, what to visit, what to do. These were the questions they answered, but recently, influencers have begun to answer the question of how to be and behave in society.

    We can see a clear evolution from influencer to influential, a personality that influences the behaviour of their followers. In other words, an influencer who affects the final purchase of a product can also directly affect the consumer’s way of life.

    The younger generation, the Alpha generation, looks up to influencers for a more humane and realistic lifestyle. They are looking for a guide, someone to follow, with solid values. They look for a personality that empathises with them and tries to guide them to a more compassionate way of life.

    Influencers being influential 

    Now that it’s time for all of us to go back to school, but above all, for the children to return to their classrooms, we are more aware of what happens inside these enclosures.

    The concern for the smallest among us is palpable. To guarantee the children of our society better day-to-days, to protect them from possible unnecessary and irreversible traumas.

    Empathy is one of our most essential tools, which is why the pain and injustice of others hurt us so much.

    A few weeks ago in Spain, we were able to experience the effect that our most influential influencers had on a case of bullying.

    The viral effect that the most famous personalities in the world of influencers had to share their outrage over a case of bullying significantly impacted the young generations, much more than if it had been just an anti-bullying campaign. 

    “The school bathroom reminds me of my sister Maria’s first day of school when a girl pushed her for being the new one. Thank God the situation did not escalate, and we could stop it. Still, I think of all those people who today continue to suffer this bullying and harassment and take refuge in the bathroom to be able to be calm and that nobody bothers them. My heart breaks.” Shares Marta Pombo, a Spanish influencer with more than 800,000 followers.

    The famous streamer Ibai Llanos declared through his channel his anger towards a case of bullying; he even decided to point out the kid that was suffering from it and celebrated his birthday on stream. He condemned the act of bullying and the people who were acting on it. 

    The power of influencers 

    Influencers today have much more power over the public than we can imagine. The responsibility that comes with this power to be a reference and support to their followers.   

    They are not only people who help brands position themselves and transmit their new products, ideas and values, but they are also helpful channels to transmit essential values to the public.

    We have long seen large organisations work and fight to transmit these values. But we must be realistic when it comes to targeting the younger generations.

    The Alpha generation and those yet to come follow their favourite personalities for guidance. What they do and represent will have much more weight on their followers than what large corporations have.

  • Virtual Influencers are the new avatars that live on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and different brands’ advertising campaigns. Over the last few years, virtual influencers have been a growing reality of internet interaction, and their influence is such that some of them have managed to collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands.

    Although they are not real people, virtual influencers (an avatar created digitally) seek to create a community on social networks and show a lifestyle like anyone else.

    Brands collaborate with them to create advertising campaigns because of their continued growth and high engagement.

    NOT THE FIRST VIRTUAL INFLUENCER

    We tend to think that virtual influencers can separate us too much from reality when the truth is that we’ve been exposed to this fiction forever.

    We must remember that all the characters we’ve created through literature or the movies industry are virtual influencers.

    Imagine if Harry Potter was an influencer? How would his IG be? Which brands would he work with?

    Stories create characters for readers
    or viewers to interact with, fall in love or follow. They create communities and a lifestyle and even dictate trends; in other words, fictional characters were the first virtual influencers.

    44% of people have the same level of trust in a product when endorsed by a virtual influencer rather than a human influencer.

    WHAT ARE THE PROS

    The planned and implemented strategy behind each post or story of the virtual influencer encourages brands to work with virtual influencers because as well as being cheaper to work with, there is a reduced risk over working with a human influencer. The team behind each virtual influencer has full control of the narrative, deciding what brands they collaborate with, what the avatar should look like, what it publishes and its principles and values.

    Virtual Influencers could be less controversial than human influencers as avatars are less likely to receive negative comments, similarly for brands that use these influencers. We live in a cancel culture; anything an influencer says or does can have huge and lasting effects on an influential figure’s public perception so working with an influencer who aligns to the brand values is incredibly important.

    The virtual influencer content is highly customizable; there are endless possibilities for creative and seamless product integration. There is nowhere a virtual influencer cannot go and nothing they cannot do.

    Carlos Mendiola, associate director of the Department of Media and Digital Culture at Tec de Monterrey Campus Santa Fe, states that it may be irrelevant for brands if the influencer
    is an avatar. Brands are looking for someone who can engage with an audience and raise awareness about their products.

    Should brands create Virtual Influencers?

    Brands should be asking themselves whether they should start thinking about creating their avatar. This virtual character can represent them on social media and build a community like any other influencer.

    Today we can see quite a few brands that have already created a character in their likeness, a virtual influencer who shares all their values and aesthetics and intends to create a community.

    KFC’s fast-food brand transformed the iconic Colonel Sanders into a virtual avatar and used him for several campaigns as the new image. Like any other model, the new Colonel performs and acts within the brand’s values and creates a stronger bond with the KFC community.

    In South Asia, the fashion brand Puma launched a new campaign for their Puma Future Rider sneaker and created a virtual influencer for the campaign named Maya.

    Designed by UM Studio and Ensemble Worldwide, Maya’s personality evolves as her interests are built according to her interactions on social media, thanks to Artificial Intelligence.

    Prada is another example. They created
    their first virtual influencer named Candy
    to represent Prada’s aesthetic and values through their campaigns, building a stronger connection with their audience.

    These brands demonstrate that the future is within the virtual world; future generations, such as Gen Zs, believe in these new adaptations and feel comfortable creating a community around these virtual avatars.

    Who are these new virtual influencers

    Lil Miquela

    Describes herself as a “19-year-old robot living in Los Angeles with 3 million followers.” Her publications reach more than 60 thousand likes. Among the brands that have decided to collaborate with her are MINI Cooper, Givenchy, Spotify, and Samsung. She has created a large community with whom she even shares parts of her life that have led her to existential crises.

    Ronald F. Blawko

    Known as Blawko, is a self-proclaimed low-life who identifies as a robot man. He spends his time with his other virtual friends on IG or venting on Youtube to his subscribers.

    Blawko has worked with brands such as Aliexpress.

    KnoxFrost

    Another male virtual influencer with more than 600.000 followers on IG, has partnered with global organisations from the World Health Organization to Rock the Vote. Knox has also appeared in various media: Forbes, Business Insider, AdAge, Fortune, Adweek, Buzzfeed, Mashable, Dazed, Betches and CNN.

    Mar.ia

    Is the first Mexican virtual influencer. Her main focus is to raise awareness about different issues the world faces, such as climate change and other human issues such as gender equality.

    Shudu

    Is a digital supermodel in her mid-to-late 20s from South Africa. Shudu advocates for the virtual human race; having worked with Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Balmain, and Smart Car, Shudu spends her time posing in premier, mystical shoot locations to display eye- popping fashion pieces.

  • I feel very fortunate to be part of the generation that experienced the transition from the analogue to the digital world. I was neither too old nor too young. It allowed me to understand the potential of new technologies and simultaneously experience it as something almost magical: the first email, the first web page, the first search engine… A new world to be discovered, and every day was an adventure.

    But the unforgettable memory that blew my mind was when I was visiting a friend, and he showed me the chat on a page called ole.com. He said, “I’m talking live with other people”. That was witchcraft! To talk to people worldwide in real-time on the computer was completely revolutionary for me. 

    We were living in the early days of the internet with 56k connections, ISDN, and the first ADSL… and we were already using the net to connect with others. Later new sites would call themselves ‘social media”, but these networks were already in place from the beginning of time. We talked to our school friends via messenger, met people with the same interests as us on forums, and shared our first university photos on pages like Fotolog. Social media were always there, although we didn’t call them that. 

    We have empowered our relationships through social media that our physical reality cannot be understood without them. I’m not saying anything new, am I? We all know it, and brands know it. Their perception depends on what they say and do through them, who their digital ambassadors are, and what users talk about. It is well known that a tweet can change your life, and this risk is multiplied infinitely in the case of brands.

    We know the power of Facebook, the revolutions of Twitter, the paradigm shift of TikTok or Twitch… We interact with others, known and unknown, in the same ways. We meet new people, debate, create our own tribes, dogmas, taboos… 

    And now, we are at the forefront of a new community model. Platforms like Discord enable users to create smaller closed spaces only invited people can join. Users enjoy this private space since it is where they can discuss with other like-minded individuals with similar values and knowledge around specific topics. Why should I talk to everybody if I want to interact with particular individuals? This thinking is step-by-step arising, especially after Twitch became the most relevant communication platform of the future.  

    Today, The so-called Internet 3.0 is looming on the horizon, but there is still too much talk about it. We don’t know what’s coming up next, we can only dream about what our following networks will be. 

    Martín Brotons

    Planning and Creative Director at Samy Alliance