• 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.

  • 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. 

  • Brands’ competition is at its peak during the holiday season, and the race has already started. 

    Over the last five years, holiday sales in November and December have averaged about 19% of total retail sales*, most of which were driven successfully by influencer marketing strategies. More precisely, 49%* of Christmas sales happen during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but there’s still that 51%* will purchase all the Christmas gifts during the following month.

    Holiday influencer marketing campaigns are typically prepared well in advance to benefit from this crucial sales period.

    How to approach Holiday season campaigns

    From micro- to nano-influencer to macro-influencers, as a brand, you will see that the ones that click with your values and vision are the perfect fit for your campaign.

    Influencer Marketing has become a much more complex solution than it used to be. This is why we want to share the essential tips to succeed in the Holiday season campaign.

    Technology is there, then use it!

    Since 2013 at SamyRoad, we have developed predictive technology aimed at enabling brands to understand crucial variables such as Brand Affinity, an index that quantifies the affinity between the brand itself, the influencer and the audience, or the Content Affinity, which means the identification of the subjects with the highest volume of mentions and interactions through social listening.

    Be emotional and diverse, be authentic

    Influencer marketing is not just about finding the right influencer; we must remember that the message and the way we communicate are essential too. 

    Our target audience is slowly losing their capability of attention, it’s hard to accept, but it’s true: they feel overwhelmed. When you think of all the messages they see simultaneously, only the ones that reach their mind will succeed. 

    Entertainment is king

    Entertain your audience, and make it exciting for them while you keep the brand’s values on point.

    Stay away from the static world; try experimenting and introducing the video format to your campaigns. 

    Think out of the box

    Paid media must be part of your brand’s strategy to increase traffic, sales, and a conversation around your product and brand. You will reach your target and future audiences faster through paid media, especially if you use it accurately and truthfully. The more tools you can use for a more successful influencer campaign, the better outcome you will get from it. 

    It’s time to make a choice: consideration or performance

    It is essential that there is strategic planning in your influencer marketing campaign to be able to define an action plan that is aligned with what the brand expects to obtain from the campaign.

    That’s why as a brand manager you need to define what you expect to obtain from the campaign and whatever you decide it should be easily linked to any of these two goals: consideration or performance.
    Consideration campaigns in Holiday season

    Back to the basics. When you look for a higher consideration towards your brand, you need to either educate or re-educate your customers on all the benefits and features that your brand, products or services offer. Once your audience knows all these positive things about your brand, you need to ensure that they are aware of them during the purchase process and ready for any problem or urgency. 

    Here are the main tips to boost the consideration of your brand: 

    Be part of the influencer’s storytelling 

    As a brand, we cannot intervene as outsiders inside the influencer’s storytelling; you need to be part of it. It needs to feel natural, not an imposed collaboration. The more the brand lives inside the influencer’s story, the more the audience will believe in your brand. 

    Use your product to generate higher empathy in Holiday season

    Create content based on moments or situations the audience will experience in the coming days. Content that empathizes with the audience generates a greater bond with them. The more authentic and relatable content, the more your audience will listen to what you say. 

    Teach your audience how to use your product or when its best to use or consume it, especially for these special dates. 

    If you are in the  food industry, have your influencers cook the perfect Holiday season recipe with your product. If you’re in the makeup industry, have your influencers show how they will use your product for New Year’s Eve. 

    Explore the power of Hashtags

    Choose your format according to the medium you will use, and remember the power of hashtags. Using a hashtag that sticks throughout the campaign will make it easier for your audience to track you. It’s a way of organizing your content under the same folder. 

    Performance campaigns

    We’ve seen during black Friday how influencers not only shared a discount for specific brands but also shared which products they love from the brand. This helped users choose the product from the brand because their influencer uses it.

    Make the audience desire the product.

    The more the influencer leads and guides how to use and when to use specific products, the more the audience will feel like buying them.

    Guide the audience through the influencer

    Using a live format, having the influencer create live content and giving your audience a testimonial about specific products will help them decide and buy the product in less time. 

    Be accessible, always

    The more accessible the audience to access the products, the more traffic your website will get. Therefore make sure that your social media links to your website and your Instagram shop, and make your audience swipe up their favourite.

    “How to create the perfect influencer marketing campaign? Combining all the mediums and platforms we have and constantly reinventing ourselves through creative strategies. And by not living by the book and experimenting with different formats such as case studies, Ebooks, In-person events, podcasts, videos and other types of content.”

    Ricky Pombo Head of Brands & Campaign Strategy At Samy Alliance
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • “Avatars are a key building block for the future of personal identity in the Metaverse,”  said Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram. 

    Said and done.

    Instagram has announced/released a new feature that is oriented to keep getting closer to the Metaverse. We are talking about its new avatars.

     The Metaverse is a big puzzle, still to be understood and defined, but these digital personas are the first part of the puzzle.

     Instagram Avatars are customizable 3D personas, and they can reproduce your physical features or reflect how you want to be perceived online.

    Adam Mosseri states that these avatars will be the virtual identity people will use to show up across the Metaverse – whether in an app built by Meta or any other company. 

    They are another forward step towards making the Metaverse a reality. 

    Who are these avatars?

    In the Metaverse, users will be able to interact with each other in a virtual environment. However, not everyone has access to a VR/ AR headset. Therefore, Meta has found its way of bringing a glimpse of Metaverse to its users in 3D avatars.

    These 3D avatars are functional, and users can customize them to be more aligned with their virtual identity. 

    Manish Chopra, Director and Head Partnerships at Meta, said, “Representations in the Metaverse should reflect the real world’s diversity. Avatars are just the first step toward enabling everyone to express themselves in their unique ways.”

    Why create your digital avatar?

    We see people comfortably talking to the camera, posing and feeling themselves, while we, on the other hand, can’t. Creating our avatar can help us confront this struggle and feel comfortable in front of the camera. Creating an avatar maximizes your creativity and freedom to be whomever you want. You can create a fictional character that does not depend on your physical barriers, just like when you are playing a video game, and you have to choose your skin. It encourages you to boost your creativity and develop new, breaking content beyond the physical world. 

     

    How can these avatars help your brand?

    The possibilities that an Instagram avatar will have for brands and advertisers is something that we will be able to assess in time. This inclusion of avatars has a lot to do with Meta’s attempt to enhance the Metaverse. Therefore, we can assume that Instagram avatar applications will follow this line. And trying to draw some conclusions, the avatar of a brand may become a communication channel for the brand with its customers. Suppose the avatar is sufficiently developed and capable of creating a loyal audience. In that case, it may replace some Instagrammers when promoting x-brand products or offering content. 

    However, it will be difficult for the avatar to supply the impartiality that flesh and blood Instagram is supposed to have when choosing what to tell us. 

    Everything that we choose to offer through the avatar of our brand will have to be measured because we run the risk that the public will finally assimilate our avatar as a mere customer service channel.





  • 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 large companies.

    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.

    Because of their continued growth and high engagement, large companies choose them to create advertising collaborations.

    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.

    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 ident

    ifies 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 organizations 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. 

    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 as alongside being cheaper to work with, they also reduce the risks of working with a human influencer. The team behind each virtual influencer decides what the avatar should look like, what it publishes, its principles and values, and what brands they work with.

    Virtual Influencers could be less controversial than human influencers; these 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. Working with an influencer who aligns to the brand values is monumental.

    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 their 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 Coronel 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 perfect example of how creating your brand virtual influencer can help you control what they say, how they say it and where. Prada 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 are an example of how 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. 

    Virtual reality is the new reality. 

  •  

    Source: @mahaha0

     

    The first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week took place in Decentraland from March 24th to the 27th. 

    Over 60 different fashion brands showcased more than 500 looks throughout the event. 

    From virtual runways, meets with designers to opening stores and afterparty events, the MVFW was one of the biggest game-changers for the fashion industry we have ever experienced. 

    The MVFW opened their audience from a small niche to a vast audience; anybody on Decentraland could assist since it was free.

    Visitors could buy NFTs of the fashion brands using cryptocurrency MANA’s platform through their digital wallets. They could either buy the look digitally or later transform it into physical. 

    The highlights 

    The MVFW started with London-based retailer Selfridges opening its flagship store with an immersive experience from Paco Rabanne + Victor Vasarely’s collection. 

    Estee Lauder launched NFT wearable, inspired by their famous serum Advanced Night Repair that users could claim and give their avatar a unique glowing by stepping in the virtual Advanced Night Repair “Little Brown Bottle”. 

    Tommy Hilfiger showcased its spring collection and opened a virtual store during the MVFW.

    The items for visitors to buy NFTs were the madras shirt for women and a unisex hoodie bearing the Hilfiger logo. Visitors could obtain physical versions of the items by redeeming the NFTs.

    But, the biggest highlight at the Metaverse Fashion week was the presence of Sophia, the world’s famous humanoid robot created by Hanson Robotic from Hong Kong. Inside Decentreland, visitors were encouraged to spot Sophia take a selfie with her and then share them on Twitter by #findingsophiatherobot.

    The new fashion influencers of the Metaverse

    One of the new world’s most exciting fields is what kind of marketing and content creation can brands offer in the Metaverse—knowing that more data will be available for advertisers and that targeting will be new. 

    Brands will have to create their digital twins and follow or dictate new trends in the Metaverse.

    Influencers have already started thinking about creating their avatars to work with brands in the Metaverse. Post for Rent has built a centre for digital influencers in Decentraland to become the “bridge” between the physical and virtual world.

    Brands like Prada, Puma and Yoox have already created their influencer avatars like Shudu and Lil Miquela. Prada’s new muse and influencer named Candy is an avatar dressed as Prada from head to toe, even adorned, and looks exactly like any other influencer.  

    The Metaverse gives influencers a whole new playing field, not only with their fans but also with other influencers. They can share brand experiences more efficiently, be connected and interact in the same space simultaneously. 

    However, this new virtual horizon for brands raises a big question for the world of influencer marketing. 

    Should influencers build their avatar replica for the Metaverse? Or should brands create a new separate and distinguished influencer world inside the Metaverse?