Influencer marketing makes everyone agree. Virtual influencer is part of the influencer marketing offering and uses computer-generated personas to promote products or services on social media. Focusing on those who are behind digital personas helps to better understand the opportunities of virtual influence in terms of brand voice, and explain why investments in this area are increasing.
Understand the origin of digital characters to discover new marketing levers.
First of all, we must rule out technological start-ups that sell “humanoid robots” or “digital workers” in order to humanize interactions and provide a service dimension (reception terminals, information counters , chatbot, customer support…). It is essential to distinguish them from virtual influence to avoid frequent confusion.
What about digital characters from the communications and marketing industry? The technologies are similar, if not identical, but these characters are sized for entertainment. They start out as digital personas, not virtual influencers, because the digital persona only becomes influential if they gain the engagement of large audiences.
Digital Personas: The Future of Social Media Influencing and Advertising.
On the one hand, the social media industry has understood that the future heroes of collective imaginations will emerge on their platforms. This is what motivated John Brennan (formerly Snap Inc, responsible for Snapchat’s sports partnerships) to bring together celebrities such as Serena Williams and Jennifer Aniston around its cartoon character creation and animation studio, Invisible Universe. According to him “the world has fallen in love with cartoon heroes through film and television for generations, but the heroes of tomorrow will debut on TikTok and Instagram and the ever-expanding world of Web3.”
On the other hand, media agencies and in particular advertising agencies have also understood that audiences can only be captured through touch screens. In France, there are Arvi the Fox (+2.4 M followers on TikTok), collaborating with Monoprix and managed by Webedia, as well as Bee_nfluenceur, collaborating with Carrefour (exit La Fondation de France and the Instagram account at +250K) and managed by Publicis. These big players are pre-empting these new advertising formats with all the necessary skills to design and animate characters that take time, time and money before being monetizable.
Then come the virtual characters who embody the brands, projects inspired by advertising agencies or agencies with a culture of content (brand content) advising their advertiser clients to embrace virtual influence as the advantages are numerous. This is the case of Livi “the innovation insider” of the LVMH Group, revealed at Vivatech 2022 and presented as the ambassador of the group’s technological innovation strategy.
Explore new horizons with virtual influence, avoiding pitfalls and adopting an innovative approach.
By identifying such issues, virtual influence can be used strategically in influencer marketing without putting it in competition with real influencers. Instead of simply imitating human beings, or even copying them, digital characters offer new perspectives. The creation of virtual characters such as Lil Miquela (the most famous influencer in the West with +2.8 million followers on Instagram and +3.6 million on TikTok) or Image.gram (its equivalent in Asia/Japan and Korea) to perfect aesthetic standards in idealized lives can be misleading for younger generations and does not represent a sustainable solution. You have to elevate the virtual influence to give it a distinctive value proposition.
Three lines of thought are possible for a brand:
- Has the brand “cracked” its narrative on social networks?
- Who to represent the brand in a safe and sustainable way?
- Who can talk about the brand when brand preference is no longer based on the product (commercial communication)?
Muriel Ballayer, President and Founder, Kol Me Iconic, will be the guest of Journal du luxe 3.0 on Thursday February 16 for a