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Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

MARKETECH APAC webinar discusses how influencer marketing can empower brands in 2023 and beyond

Singapore – The influencer marketing industry and creator economy is booming thanks to a wave of new innovations we’re seeing happening across social media channels. Influencers are becoming household names across the globe, and brands are responding by jumping into the influencer channel to drive successful marketing strategies. As we head into a new calendar year, how should brands maximise the value of their investment in content creators to reach more audiences at scale?

MARKETECH APAC’s latest webinar, ‘What’s NEXT 2023: Influencer Marketing in APAC’, provides answers to this question. In his presentation, Aaron Brooks, co-founder & president of influencer marketing platform Vamp, discussed the evolution of influencer marketing as a brand strategy, the key trends to watch out for in the space, and shared insights on how brands can best participate in the creator economy moving forward. 

According to Brooks, the emergence of digital web 2.0 technologies changed the way marketers interact with their audiences, and that said evolution has greatly benefitted the influencer marketing space. In fact, global influencer marketing is expected to reach $143b by 2030 — amounting to a compound annual growth rate of 33.4%.

Despite this anticipated growth, brands are looking for a seamless experiences collaborating with creators, and there are still actions the company is taking to remove the complexities of the creator economy. To this, Brooks said, “For this efficient experience to happen, we need to think of ourselves as being part of a broader ecosystem that connects the brands and the agencies to the community that helps them activate social content. We already have the critical masses on each platform, and it’s where brand activity needs to happen. Our role as a technology provider is connecting all these parts back to creators, who really exist at the core of this ecosystem.”

He shared key insights brands should consider adopting, in order for them to future-proof their influencer marketing strategies. This includes moving away from a one-size-fits-all perspective and instead thinking of platform-based approaches to be in line with the brand’s overall marketing objectives.

Speaking from his experience with Vamp’s clients, Brooks likewise mentions the importance of boosting creators’ organic content to drive results. “This is really important for a few reasons. When clients boost their organic content through paid media, you are basically giving the content a second lease of life that helps push customers further down the purchase funnel and drives the performance element of a campaign,” he explained. 

He specifically mentioned the importance of leveraging the power of video for content creation. According to Brooks, about 79% of TikTok users said they discovered new brands through the app. From a content format performance perspective, he referenced Instagram reels being 29% more efficient than stories, and 3.8 times more cost-efficient than feed posts. Reels also have 25% more return on ad spend (ROAS) than other IG content.

As Brooks wrapped up his presentation, he shared some actions brands can apply to their influencer marketing approach. His first tip is to apply a squad strategy when selecting a creator mix for your brand, in order to reach all consumer types and sub-niche audiences. This includes recruiting micro-creators who tend to have much more engaged audiences, and using creators from a broad selection of interest groups. He also mentioned it is important for brands to “mirror the fabric of everyday life” by creating authentic advocacy content. Lastly, he recommended using creators to build a digital asset library that has a constant stream of original content, so brands can rise to the challenge of continuously engaging with consumers on different online channels.

Brooks was later joined by industry experts for the panel discussion during the latter part of the webinar, including Ruben Ahmed, director of marketing at HP ANZ; Isabel Falco, chief digital & marketing officer at L’Oréal Philippines; and Jonathan Gerard, head of production at VaynerMedia Asia Pacific.

On-demand access to the What’s NEXT 2023: Influencer Marketing in APAC webinar is now available here.

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Platforms Featured APAC

Jellysmack, WebTVAsia ink deal to invest US$30m in content creators within APAC

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Global creator company Jellysmack has recently inked a deal with creator economy company WebTVAsia to allot US$30m of investment across content creators in the Asia-Pacific region to accelerate their growth.

The funding means WebTVAsia’s content creators can propel growth forward with capital to take their businesses to the next level through hiring teams, building new studio space, launching products, increasing quality content creation, and more.

Said deal also marks one of Jellysmack’s significant investments in the region.

In addition, the new partnership further strengthens Jellysmack’s support of top global creators and aligns with WebTVAsia’s mission to empower Asian Pacific creators with opportunities and resources to maximise the return on the investment of their content.

Ezechiel Ritchie, general manager for APAC, at Jellysmack, said, “Partnering with WebTVAsia to deploy capital to APAC creators is a unique opportunity. They are a key partner that understands the pulse of Asia and can foster creators’ growth via our creator financing program.”

He added, “This initiative is going to have a huge impact on content creators in the region enabling them to scale up through a variety of new financial technology solutions personalised to their unique needs, and I can’t wait to see the results.”

Meanwhile, Fred Chong, group CEO and founder at WebTVAsia, commented, “WebTVAsia was one of the first to invest into the creator economy of Asia since 2013. In the past 3-year pandemic-hit period alone, we have generated over US$100m in direct income for creators. Our long term relationship is built on 3 ‘F’ values that creators desire most: Fame, Fortune and Freedom (to create).”

He added, “As a creator myself, I see this partnership with Jellysmack as a game-changer that will open up new possibilities for creators to bridge the Web 2.0 and 3.0 worlds. The next 6-12 months will see us launching exciting new creator tools and solutions including content NFTs, digital wallet, virtual identity for metaverse, fan community, and Web 2.5 monetization models.”

Jellysmack, whose roster includes major creators like MrBeast, How Ridiculous, JianHao Tan, Food Kingdom, Junya, and PewDiePie, uses artificial intelligence to detect promising creators and helps skyrocket their social growth with multi-platform content optimization and distribution. To date, Jellysmack has earned over US$175m for creators. 

The partnership is a part of Jellysmack’s newly established creator finance division, JellyFi, which is a US$500m initiative to help creators achieve their boldest ambitions, as well as nine-figure Series C investment from SoftBank.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

True Digital launches new content creator business ‘True Creators Studio’ in PH

Manila, Philippines – Technology organisation True Digital in the Philippines has announced the launch of its ‘True Creators Studio’, a new studio services, influencer, and multi-channel network (MCN) business, during an event at Yes Please in BGC with Influencer Council of the Philippines (CICP), which aims to bring together industry professionals and talents.

‘True Creators Studio’ offers to become the content creators’ ultimate playground for producing quality and engaging content. It also announced the launch of its website www.truecreators.studio where both brands and creators alike can book services easily. 

Moreover, through the True Creators Studio, brands can also conceptualise and create customised videos for their marketing campaigns, website, or social media content, internal communications, and virtual events, amongst others. 

“The launch of True Creators bolsters True Digital Philippines’ presence in the country, adding to the already existing digital solutions business for enterprise clients,” said True Digital.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Ezechiel Ritchie takes on expanded regional role at Jellysmack

Singapore – Global creator company Jellysmack has announced that current ANZ and SEA country manager Ezechiel Ritchie, has taken on an expanded regional role as general manager for APAC. In his expanded role, he brings rich experience in brand partnerships, advertising, and digital content and leverages his deep expertise with content and creators to establish meaningful partnerships.

Ritchie, who joined Jellysmack last year as ANZ and SEA country manager, previously held executive roles at Google and Taboola, and was at the helm when Jellysmack launched its Creator Program in Australia last October.

Commenting on his new role, Ritchie said: “Creators across Australia, New Zealand and Asia are having incredible success, not just on a local level but with fans and subscribers across the globe. In Australia alone there are 6 million content creators, which has grown by 48% since 2020. There are 18.5 million content creators in Japan and 17.5 million in South Korea.”

He added, “However, there is a big difference between a content creator and a successful content creator who can make a living from doing what they love. This is where Jellysmack can help by growing new audiences and revenue streams for local creators and I’m looking forward to growing our presence in the Asia Pacific region even further.” 

Meanwhile, Youri Hazanov, chief international officer at Jellysmack, commented, “Growing the creator economy across Asia Pacific is a top priority for Jellysmack, and following the success Ritchie has driven across ANZ and Southeast Asia, we are delighted to have him take the reins of the region.”

Jellysmack has partnered with over Australian and New Zealand content creators since the company launched here last October, including some of the biggest YouTubers such as How Ridiculous, JoshDub, Whippy, Vincenzo’s Plate, Indigo Traveller, Living Big in a Tiny House and How to Cook That. 

The company has also expanded its Asia Pacific presence, signing popular creators such as Junya who is Japan’s biggest YouTuber, TikToker, JianHao Tan from Singapore and Food Kingdom in Korea. 

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Platforms Featured APAC

The ‘everyday creator’: Let’s talk about the creator economy

Who said you can’t earn money from following your passion? Thanks to today’s digital world, it’s now possible for anybody to monetise their hobbies and passions – not just full-time professionals – such as influencers and content creators. 

From purchase reviews to how-to videos to self-help discussions, digital platforms make it easier than ever for people to enter the creator economy and earn revenue through the content they create around their interests. Nearly any topic or subject has monetisation potential, providing equal opportunities for everyone to access and create alternative income streams. 

The advent of the ‘everyday creator’

Technological advances, evolving definitions of work and our transition to a digital-first world have led to the rise of the creator economy – an inclusive, accessible ecosystem where independent creatives can earn revenue from their creations.

With devices such as mobile phones becoming increasingly sophisticated, as well as the prevalence and accessibility of feature-rich social media platforms, people no longer need a sophisticated setup or professional production team to produce content in their spare time.

Such ‘everyday creators’ can spend as much (or as little) time and effort as they want to create content, often with just a smartphone in hand. This provides them with a significant amount of flexibility and freedom in creating – particularly with regards to monetisation opportunities and content genres. 

Monetisation opportunities for all

Previously, traditional monetisation channels mainly allowed digital content creators to earn money through ad revenues and brand sponsorships. However, this required them to have amassed a significant following or achieving partner status on digital platforms – a difficult task for casual creators to undertake without significant effort. 

Today, however, there are many levels of monetisation for all levels of content creators – especially earning revenue directly from the audience. For instance, the creation of cash-convertible in-app currencies on apps allows audiences to support creators through virtual gifting.

Instead of having to chase a minimum number of postings or followers, content creators are now free to create and post their content as they like, while generating income. This means that they do not have to constantly source for corporate sponsorships or post excessively to maintain their partner status; both of which could dilute content quality and require an outsized amount of effort. 

Additionally, if their content gains popularity over time, creators can make the seamless transition from a hobby that occasionally earns money to a full-time career providing a main income stream.

Built-in support facilitates passionate creation

Monetisation aside, the tell-tale sign of a successful content creator is their ability to engage with audiences and build a following around their content. Half of this battle is already won due to the multitude of supporting mechanisms present within content platforms. 

For instance, through community detection algorithms that are based on commonalities among audiences such as their interests or location, creators can identify, segment and reach their intended viewers automatically. Furthermore, the real-time nature of content such as livestreaming enables impactful and personalised social interactivity between creator and consumer, further building their following. 

For the ‘everyday creator’, these systems are key to achieving greater discoverability and reachability. It means that they only have to focus on creating the content they want instead of basing their creative efforts on content that will attract the most eyeballs.

This means that there are now endless varieties of content and themes that creators can choose to make and monetise. For instance, while a significant amount of content is entertainment-based, such as funny videos or trend responses, many creators may also choose to create educational and helpful content. These may revolve around issues and subjects that they have some expertise or experience in, such as in fields like parenting, self-help, cooking and wellness.

Social media provides a platform for and amplifies relevant content based on audience interests and needs, enabling the content to reach the people who need it. This is further enhanced by the creator’s natural charisma and relatability, as well as the social community that forms around the creator as a result of the content produced. Aside from the audience’s interest in the content, creators’ inherent charisma and relatability can further gel the community. 

Platforms like Instagram, Whatsapp and even Bigo Live have recently launched features that enable creators to build communities to connect users of similar interests and act as a cradle for the sharing of ideas. These virtual communities foster a sense of belonging while motivating creators to actively produce content.

The future of content is inclusive

Inclusive growth has been the model of economic development in modern times, and the creator economy has evolved into a sterling example of inclusivity and accessibility. It has removed the high time and effort investment barrier that previously separated revenue-generating creators from pure hobbyists, allowing everyone to translate their passions into monetary benefits.

Anybody with access to the internet can participate in this burgeoning economy; the only prerequisite is their love of producing content. With content platforms now enabling round-the-clock monetisation and engagement, it is also more feasible and seamless than ever for an ‘everyday creator’ to go full-time if they wish. Given this freedom and flexibility, we look forward to seeing the creator economy expand and flourish even more in the future – for everyone.

This article is written by Mike Ong, VP of BIGO Technology.

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Platforms Featured Global

Jellysmack launches new YouTube catalogue licensing venture

Australia – Full-service creator company Jellysmack has announced the launch of its new catalogue licensing venture for the video sharing platform giant YouTube. Through that venture, Jellysmack invites YouTube content creators to some upfront capital in exchange for licensing videos in the creator’s YouTube library.

As part of that venture, the company is offering lump sum payments ranging from US$50k to US$50m or more to qualifying creators. This catalogue licensing venture brings the Jellysmack Creator Program’s total plan for creator investments to US$750m.

Jellysmack’s new catalogue licensing model gives creators an upfront cash infusion to take the next steps for business growth without giving up any equity in their intellectual property, brand, or new ventures. While many creators are expected to use the funds for common needs like scaling content creation, hiring additional team members, launching new business ventures, or securing studio space, creators can use the capital for anything they choose. 

Additionally, the company does not participate financially in any newly uploaded YouTube video content. This non-dilutive design allows creators to remain fully independent and at the helm of their burgeoning enterprises.

Laurent Hulin, general manager for APAC at Jellysmack, said, “Whether a creator is looking for upfront capital to invest in production or to focus on long term multi-platform growth, we’re ready to back creators with over US$750m committed to catalogue licensing. Between the Jellysmack Creator Program and the introduction of Catalog Licensing, Jellysmack is committed to empowering creators as solopreneurs. It’s all part of our creator-driven mission to empower creators behind-the-scenes to go bigger.”

The catalogue licensing venture established yet another pathway for Jellysmack to support creators as business owners. Creators can either opt for a deal to receive immediate capital in exchange for licensing some of their YouTube catalogue, take part in the Creator Program for multi-platform monetisation over time, or participate in both.

In addition, Jellysmack got its start by building and scaling dozens of its own video channels like Beauty Studio, Oh My Goal, and Gamology into the world’s leading social communities. This first-hand knowledge plus the company’s unmatched technology, puts Jellysmack in a unique position to support individual creators not just financially, but also strategically. 

Ezechiel Ritchie, country manager for SEA and ANZ at Jellysmack, commented, “Jellysmack is creator at heart. We have grown some of the largest communities on social media. Unlike pure financial partners, we think like creators and understand how to support creators’ big dreams. Our Catalog Licensing offer enables creators to access the value of their back-catalogue today, instead of waiting to collect the revenue over the next three to five years.”

He added, “By receiving the revenue upfront for their old videos, creators no longer have to wait years for YouTube to pay out back catalogue earnings and can invest that revenue to grow their business. It’s not a loan and their past content can fund their future success.”

Jellysmack has partnered with some of YouTube’s largest content creators such as MrBeast, PewDiePie, and Nas Daily.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

voco Hotels marked first SEA location in SG with pop-up on Orchard Road

Singapore – The upscale hotel brand of IHG Hotels & Resorts – voco Hotels – has recently officially unveiled its first-ever location in Southeast Asia in Singapore. To mark the milestone, the brand recently mounted a pop-up along Orchard Road in January to showcase the refreshed hospitality brand to consumers. 

The new opening follows the rebrand of voco Orchard Singapore which was launched at the beginning of the year. IHG said that it aims to introduce guests to a new and refreshed dining and stay experience this 2022 which promises to be “charming, unstuffy, and playful.” 

In January 2022, two activations were located outside ION Orchard and voco Orchard Singapore. The pop-ups brought to life voco’s said charming and unstuffy character and aimed to reinforce its essence of “always staying interesting, but being reliably different.” 

IHG said voco Hotels are meant to be bold, contemporary and inviting, with playful touches throughout. The pop-up introduced highlights of a typical voco Hotel room – which features plush bedding and a cosy nook, encouraging guests to indulge in ‘Me Time’. 

Furthermore, the pop-ups’ experience were augmented with interactive brand and creative-led content to further create buzz and hype at the time of the installation’s viewing. 

“The vibrancy and playfulness of voco Hotels attract guests who are confident to be themselves,” said IHG. 

In line with this philosophy, voco Hotels invited local creatives and brands to spend time inside the hotel room, doing what they do best, and present to be ‘unapologetically themselves’, and use the room to create, unwind, and showcase their passions. 

Participated by Campari brand ambassador David Yeung, movement and mindfulness coach Brandon Chong, local lego artist Jeffrey Kong, as well as sustainable loungewear brand Rawbought, and local design label Peachier Studios; voco Hotels engaged consumers with a range of interactive lifestyle activities such as masterclasses, yoga sessions, and photoshoots, which were all held at the latter part of January.

In example, David Yeung conducted a live cocktail masterclass, walking viewers through the cocktail conceptualisation process of one of voco Orchard Singapore’s Signature Cocktails. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Kong, the founder of Artisan Bricks, which offers Lego sculptures and workshops to clients across Singapore, spent his time in the voco Hotels pop-up room creating an exclusive voco Orchard Singapore Lego sculpture, modelling the architecture of the newly-opened property.

In addition, the pop-up was made an opportunity to introduce for the first time in Singapore, voco Hotels bedding, which makes use of over 150 recycled plastic bottles, turning plastic waste into a sustainable sleep. 

IHG shared that another three hotels under the brand are set to open in the coming months which include voco Bonnington Dubai, voco Johannesburg Rosebank, and voco Seoul Gangnam. 

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesia comes out as top creator of K-pop content on TikTok

Jakarta, Indonesia –  The Indonesian market takes the lead in producing K-pop related videos on the short video platform TikTok, according to the latest data from the platform itself in collaboration with Kpop Radar, a K-Pop fandom data service operated by music start-up Space Oddity.

Indonesia takes up 16.4% of all K-pop related TikTok videos made outside of South Korea. This was closely followed by the Philippines (13.5%) and the United States (8.7%).

Overall, around 92.8% of these K-pop related TikTok videos were made outside South Korea.

Both the huge popularity of the short video platform TikTok and the rise of ‘Hallyu’ or Korean wave has resulted into over 97 million TikTok videos related to K-pop, thrice the previous 33.5 million K-pop-related TikTok videos made in 2019.

Jay Bae, head of global business development at TikTok Korea, said that TikTok has certainly made its mark in the music industry, joining the ranks of LPs, radios, and television

“We are grateful to be a part of this ongoing movement to support the genre and its community,” said Bae. 

Bae adds, “TikTok has changed how people consume and experience K-pop, with fans, from Korea, Singapore and across the globe, now having the space and tools to re-create and re-imagine their favourite content. As K-pop is so well-loved by the global TikTok community, we will continue to drive initiatives to support both the artists and the fans.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

airasia finally debuts first virtual idol

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – As the pandemic amplifies digital adoption, companies from different industries have been developing their online content and embracing digital trends.

On airline airasia’s side, it has started efforts bolstering online content, where in last March, it launched ‘Project Kavvai’, a program that seeks to discover and develop the next big virtual idol to be showcased as a streaming digital avatar content creator in ASEAN.

After a long wait, airasia has finally announced its first virtual idol named Aozora Kurumi and is set to debut on 8 May 2021, which will be live-streamed on YouTube at 8:00 pm MYT.

Clad in a Victorian-style outfit with her trusted pet Jetson, Kurumi is designed by a renowned illustrator artist in the virtual idol community, Yueko. She was brought to life by industry veteran Iron Vertex, with vocals provided by a talent chosen from the ‘Project Kavvaii’ open audition. Kurumi will be responsible for generating exciting online content in gaming and lifestyle categories with live broadcasts while participating in engaging online and offline activities in the near future. 

According to airasia, the airline will also be working with pixiv, the top online community for artists in Japan and across the world, to produce an exclusive fan art contest for Kurumi in September, and a dedicated pixiv channel on airasia wifi that showcases exclusive content from the pixivision platform.

Rudy Khaw, the chief brand officer of airasia Group, said that they are proud to introduce the first virtual idol, which they foresee will be a game-changer in the future of streaming content in ASEAN. 

“As a digital company, the constant change in the way people consume online content drives us to explore cross-industry innovations with Project Kavvaii to stay relevant and ahead of trends. We are also very excited to have pixiv onboard this journey which would bring us closer to the community and hope to see Aozora Kurumi taking the content world by storm very soon,” added Khaw.

For more updates on Kurumi, fans may follow her on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as Facebook.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

airasia unveils new ‘Project Kavvaii’ program, seeks the next big ‘virtual idol’

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Airline airasia has launched a new program called ‘Project Kavvaii’, which aims to discover and develop the next big virtual idol – a streaming content creator in the SEA region who uses a digital avatar.

The new program seeks to provide potential talent with full resources to be the best virtual idol in the region and represent ASEAN on the world stage through charting a career trajectory, searching for potential clients, providing marketing support, tracking monetary channels from their streams, and supporting the business side of streaming.

The open audition will commence today 10 March until 28 March 2021 in ASEAN and the rest of Asia. Participants must submit a 5-minute video to introduce themselves. 

The winner of Project Kavvaii will get full access to a support team, receive a complete streaming setup, and secure a one-year contract with airasia as a paid content creator.

Rudy Khaw, the chief brand officer of airasia Group, said that the company has transformed from an airline to a lifestyle brand with the airasia super app, and now, they continue to innovate and be a game-changer as a virtual talent producer, believing that this is an opportune time to fast-track airasia’s growth leveraging on their digital capabilities, such as artificial intelligence and facial recognition.

“Certainly, the success of a virtual idol is about talent, not just the technology behind it. So we are looking for those who are multi-talented, creative, and have a larger-than-life personality to connect with virtual idol fans across ASEAN and beyond! This is your chance to be a full-fledged virtual idol and a part of a creative team that will shape the future of streaming content in the region,” said Khaw

airasia’s first virtual idol was created by a renowned illustrator artist in the virtual idol community, Yueko, and the character will be rigged and animated by industry veteran Iron Vertex to fit the personality of the virtual idol. Project Kavvaii’s first virtual idol is expected to start streaming in the second quarter of 2021.