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This piece is part of Stagwell’s Marketing Frontiers series on the Creator Economy, Influencer Marketing, and Social Commerce. 

From new monetization channels for Creators to content formats to experiment with, Web3 will unlock a new chapter for the Creator Economy. Just as fast as influencer marketing hit its stride, this next era of the internet is forcing the players of the modern Creator Economy to rethink how influence can drive results. Authenticity, deep consumer-to-creator connections, and compelling content will still be the bread and butter of good influencer strategy. But how will Web3’s focus on a decentralized internet impact the ways creators, agencies, and brands interact? How can Creators help brands explore meaningfully in the budding Metaverse – and bring consumers along for the journey? Explore POVs from Stagwell’s marketing leaders on where the Creator Economy is headed in the Metaverse.

A New Class of Creators

John Doyle, Colle McVoy  

It’s difficult to imagine how the Metaverse will transform human existence writ large, much less how it will impact creators. To anchor speculation in something solid, it’s helpful to focus on three current aspects of the creator economy that may change the most when we turn on headsets, join in the Metaverse, and drop out of our IRL lives: expression, intimacy, and ownership.

Expression — Today, we may not think of event planners, architects, industrial engineers or sound designers as creators because our current social media access points don’t reward this type of talent. But in the Metaverse, it’s easy to imagine a new class of creators who at once will be able to plan an event, design an environment in which to hold the event (including lights and sound), and sell proprietary virtual products.

Intimacy — Following creators on social can feel like keeping up with a friend. As we interact in immersive, live experiences where creators exist in front of our goggled eyes, an already intimate experience will likely become even more so.

Ownership — The Metaverse will likely rewire the economics of how creators get paid. In a business with so many competing players — including tech platforms, talent agencies, and brands — creators have been subject to unfair business practices. They have formed non-profits to help restore balance in a still-forming industry. Like reinvented Bowie bonds, creators and their fans may co-own a creator’s work and the value it creates — in the spirit of Irene Zhao, an Instagram Influencer who explains why she created a DAO token to offer her fans.

Web3: Enter the Age of Virtual Avatars

Donetta Allen, HUNTER 

One of the issues that most creators face today is the indirect way that they earn compensation for work – they work tirelessly to excel in the industry and in turn increase the ad revenue and stock prices for the social platforms that can flip the switch on an algorithm at any time, significantly impacting the potential income of creators. Web3 and its central premise of creating a decentralized internet will provide a more direct link between creators and their fans. Expect this to increase the influence of creators who take steps to establish their footholds in this space now. These technologies, including virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchains, smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies, provide the tools to be fairly compensated for their work and allow creators and their communities to curate and claim ownership of their creations.

Ultimately, new business models centered in Web3 will lead to a more immersive, decentralized metaverse. As digital worlds evolve beyond simple games and marketing campaigns into fleshed-out worlds with avatars, digital goods, and experiences, the curious will seek guides to make the most of the experience, just as consumers currently look at Pinterest to plan a trip, or purchase items based on trending TikTok videos. Smart creators will adapt and prepare to meet – or lead – us in these digital spaces, pushing the boundaries of their current content and tapping emerging technology with the mindset to sell (or gift) it directly to their fans. Can you imagine a personalized birdwatching tour with a creator in a yet-to-be-created digital world or the opportunity to own the copyright of the first-ever video your favorite creator edited in the Metaverse? These unbelievable experiences are here, and creators and collaborative brands will lead the way in making these attainable to those who are currently only passively curious or dismissive of the vast opportunities – and income – available in future digital worlds.

 

Web3 and the Power of Nano-Influence

Sophia Fraioli, KWT Global 

The future and the way we connect is changing rapidly. The terms Web3, NFTs, and cryptocurrency inherently bring up many questions surrounding money and how we will “pay to play” in the digital future. To adequately talk about Web3, we first need to understand Web1 and Web2. While Web1 focused on the consumption of information, Web2 concentrated on creating and sharing information under a 3rd party-controlled system. Web3 has set to disrupt this system, bringing power back to creators and individuals by decentralizing the internet.

What does that mean for the creators and influencers that dominate the spaces Web2 has created? Estimates suggest U.S. influencer marketing will surpass $4 billion in 2022, leaving some to wonder if the practices and apps of Web2 will fall by the wayside once the “switch” to Web3 has become a reality.

However, the switch for these influencers from Web2 to Web3 may not be as complicated as it seems. With the decentralization of the internet that Web3 promises to bring, there are new opportunities for creators to make a name for themselves outside of the platforms that made them famous. DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) will allow creators to make money directly from their fan base without the middleman profiting off their efforts. NFTs, tokens, and cryptocurrency will enable fans to fund creators and potentially upend the existing relationship between creators and brands.

Trustworthiness is increasingly one of the most critical aspects of an influencer’s success, and with that in mind, it’s the nano-influencers who may gain the most under this shift. Authenticity is at the core of what Web3 promises. It will potentially be a place away from the control and persuasion of big business and those who find success in this new digital world will be those who are trusted most by their audiences.

Many say that those who profit most under Web2 will likely profit the least under Web3, but as Web3 unfolds, it’s up to agencies to pay close attention to this shift and see where we can fit into this new space. The best practices we have lived by for all brands in Web2 may be far more complicated in the Web3 space. NFTs will become a huge revenue source for some brands, while others may want to focus instead on activating their presence and engaging in the Metaverse. The change to Web3 won’t be a “light-switch” moment, but now is the time to start discussing and advising clients to be ready and stay close to their agencies as we look to succeed in this new digital universe.

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Beth Sidhu
pr@stagwellglobal.com
202-423-4414

Global Affiliate Brand New Galaxy joins the challenger marketing group to accelerate connected commerce and digital transformation for global brands; will operate as part of Stagwell Media Network

New York, NY & Warsaw, PL – April 21, 2022 (NASDAQ: STGW) – Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing, today announced the acquisition of Brand New Galaxy (BNG), a leading provider of scaled commerce and marketplace solutions for 150+ global brands and 500+ e-retailers worldwide. With 600 experts across Europe, MENA, and the United States, BNG adds deep, digital-first specialization in connected commerce solutions, scaling Stagwell’s broad e-commerce capabilities to service more complex global clients. BNG has served as a partner of Stagwell via its Global Affiliate Program since 2021 and is the first acquisition Stagwell has made of one of its affiliates.

“We are pleased to welcome Brand New Galaxy to the Stagwell platform, expanding the reach of our global e-commerce offerings. Their state-of-the-art e-commerce and digital transformation technology is another reason clients are choosing Stagwell over traditional holding companies,” said Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO, Stagwell.

BNG will join the Stagwell Media Network, a global community of leading omnichannel agencies that collaborate to deliver future-facing solutions driven by digital, data, technology, and media expertise. In addition to complementing Stagwell’s data-led digital transformation capabilities, BNG offers a range of tailored solutions for accelerating end-to-end multimarket commerce, based on international insights that translate into local market opportunities.

“It is incredibly exciting to welcome Brand New Galaxy and their leadership teams to Stagwell Media Network,” said James Townsend, Global Chief Executive Officer of Stagwell Media Network and its global media agency, Assembly. “Their deep and extensive expertise in all things connected commerce sits in perfect complement to our growing portfolio of omnichannel media agencies. The addition of BNG is the natural and front-footed next step for our network to further empower the modern marketeer with more cohesive and integrated solutions across the marketing services spectrum.”

As part of Stagwell Media Network, Brand New Galaxy will continue to go to market under the BNG brand as well as collaborate with other members of the Stagwell Media Network.

Piotr Morkowski, CEO of Brand New Galaxy Holding said, “BNG was born as an ecommerce-native business and over the last five years of incredible growth, we have built a set of unique, world-class capabilities to support our global clients across the entire path to purchase. Building a global business of 600 experts in less than five years is no small achievement, but we are hungry to do much more. Joining forces with Stagwell Media Network at this stage in our journey as part of an integrated go-to-market approach is the best way for us to grow even faster and deliver on our ambitions.”

Stagwell Media Network is now home to more than 3,500 experts distributed globally across more than 20 countries and 40 offices, managing close to $5 billion in media. The Network offers omnichannel media, led by data and digital expertise that challenges the antiquated media models of legacy advertising giants. The BNG acquisition follows the January 2022  acquisition of Goodstuff Communications, one of the United Kingdom’s leading independent media agencies, supporting Stagwell’s scale and global footprint with local activation.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

###

About Stagwell Inc.

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 10,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

About Stagwell Media Network

Stagwell’s Media Network is a group of leading omnichannel agencies home to more than 3,500 experts with an expansive global footprint across 40+ offices in 20 countries, managing close to $5 billion in media. Agencies include AssemblyBrand New Galaxy, MMI Agency, Goodstuff and Grason, creative consultancy GALE, B2B specialist Multiview, multi-lingual content agency Locaria, and travel and media experts Ink. The network offers marketers a more dynamic partner for global B2B and B2C solutions spanning data, technology, media, and creativity aimed at accelerating business growth for brands worldwide.

About Brand New Galaxy

Brand New Galaxy is a fast-growing leading provider of marketing and technology solutions built to drive commerce and digital transformation for brands. Founded in Warsaw, Poland, in 2017, BNG has grown to 600+ employees with offices in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. BNG has been named “Debut of the Year 2018”, “Success of the Year 2019 & 2020,” and “Growth of the Year 2021” by PRESS magazine’s prestigious agency ranking, proving its position as a dynamic global agency. BNG’s data-driven approach makes brands better connected with consumers in complex marketing and technology ecosystems. This gives more than 150 brands and Fortune 500 clients a true strategic partner, both on a global and local level.

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This piece is part of Stagwell’s Marketing Frontiers series on the Creator Economy, Influencer Marketing, and Social Commerce. To view other content in the series, visit our Creator Economy page here. 

 As brands explore the Metaverse, expert investment and experimentation with digitally rendered brand ambassadors to follow. When should brands leverage virtual influencers over IRL creators? How can they navigate anxieties around virtual perfectionism, unrealistic beauty standards, and representation as they play in this space? What opportunities do virtual influencers afford that real-life creators may not? We asked influencer and social experts from around Stagwell to share their POVs:

Web3: Enter the Age of Virtual Avatars

Donetta Allen, HUNTER 

First, let’s answer the question of “what is a virtual influencer?” A virtual influencer is a fictional, computer-generated personality that acts, speaks, and posts on social media or appears in the Metaverse – like a human, but in a much more controlled way. The tech-savvy, faceless creators and brands behind virtual influencers decide how their avatar will act, dress, who they date, and what drama will – or won’t – appear on the timeline. The ability to work with a fictional character whose every move is controlled by a creator has an appeal for brands in a world full of opinions and photo re-shoots, even in a world where “authentic connection” is often a top reason for marketers to work with influencers.

That said, brands should begin exploring virtual influencers ASAP. Digital avatars are becoming increasingly common as brand partners, with companies like Adidas, Samsung, and Fortnite engaging virtual influencers for recent campaigns. It is expected that the prominence of marketers tapping into the virtual influencer marketplace will increase as the metaverse continues to advance.

Virtual influencers’ carefully curated images allow for greater messaging control, alignment with brand values, and less risk of controversy throughout the duration of the partnership. Like real creators, virtual influencers are diverse – from their ethnicity, gender, size, to interests – and brands should prioritize diversity as they do with real creators. While costly to develop, virtual influencers may be less expensive than traditional influencers to engage for brand campaigns. They are also reported to have 3x the engagement rate of traditional influencers, adding yet another compelling reason to consider virtual influencers for your next campaign. As more brands seek to work with these stylized, fictional characters and new opportunities emerge, we’ll start to see the diversification and expansion of the virtual influencer landscape so that it more closely reflects the human experience.

Virtual Influencers & Transmedia Brand Campaigns 

Natalie Goenaga, KWT Global

Digitally-rendered influencers have made a splash on our screens since 2016 when the world was introduced to Lil Miquela. Seemingly appearing out of thin air, Lil Miquela was a thoughtfully curated personification of Instagram and Instagram culture created by a startup in Los Angeles made to “question the social norms of online platforms”- while making the mysterious company millions of dollars in sponsorships. Over the last 6 years, Lil Miquela has amassed a following of over 3 million, participated in campaigns with the likes of Bella Hadid for Calvin Klein, walked with Prada for Milan Fashion Week, modeled for Chanel, Coach, Balenciaga, and named by TIME as one of “The 25 Most Influential people on the Internet.” Did I mention she has a budding career as a pop star with over 198,000 monthly listeners on Spotify? 

As the Metaverse, CGI, and AI continue to creep onto center stage, the rise of these digital influencers is sure to follow. But in a cancel-culture world that holds a magnifying glass to transparency and authenticity from creators and brands how will these perfectly engineered creators navigate the delicate landscape and how can brands appease the masses? In the example of Lil Miquela – it is worth noting that the CGI Brazilian-American 19-year-old has serious activism chops. A vocal ally, she actively supports Black Lives Matter, the Innocence Project, LGBTQ+ Life Center, the Downtown Women’s Center, and Justice for Youth. But is that enough? The digital influencer world is certainly conforming to these changes with perfectly imperfect characters that challenge the beauty industry and their inspiring backstories and diversity to conform to the new mold. And while all creators carefully tread this sensitive landscape, with virtual influencers there is a sense of more control and brand safety and stability as their presence is meticulously and carefully crafted. 

As the most active consumers of influencer content, Millennials and Gen-Z want influencers and brands to do one thing well – and that’s to keep it real. With virtual influencers, that’s admittedly a bit harder to do. Balancing the line of when to activate real influencers and those in the digital space is a new tension brands will have to navigate but provides plenty of creative and unique opportunities. Activating virtual influencers for campaigns in an overly saturated influencer market creates thumb-stopping content for those “big splash” moments – like the recent Adidas collaboration with virtual influencer RUBY9100M who designed a custom sneaker for the brand and released her debut single alongside the launch. 

Another powerful tool that can be leveraged by digital influencers? Transmedia. This newer storytelling technique can tell a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using today’s current technology. Much like a traditional 360 campaign, transmedia campaigns allow digital influencers to tell your brand’s story and transition it across multiple virtual environments with ease. A virtual influencer will remain recognizable anywhere, so brands can leverage them in a TikTok video, Instagram post, or in a video game. And when it comes to costs, brands are able to activate virtual influencers for larger-than-life ideas that may not be possible with IRL creators without breaking the bank. Want to “fly” your digital creator around the world? Want to launch a campaign with them in space? Virtually anything can become possible.

Virtual or Real, the Strategy is the Same
Kelli Goss Johnson, Allison+Partners  

Brands should approach virtual influencers as they would an IRL creator: for authentic brand partnerships, campaigns, awareness and messaging, while ensuring that the brand’s consumers and social audience fully understands that the virtual influencer is exactly that (and not a real human or animal).  Virtual influencers can be utilized over IRL creators when the brand wants more control over the content and its many aspects, in addition to creative freedom of the content developed.

Real or not, these influencers should also be ‘on-brand’ and have the same value properties as the brand, while offering loyalty, exclusivity and brand affinity to the partnership or campaign. They are also brand safe (you won’t catch them in an unflattering paparazzi moment or posting something uncomplimentary on social media) and can be activated when, where and how a brand wants them to. And while virtual influencers have been criticized for their perfectionism, so have IRL creators, leaving the door open for virtual influencers to socially share some of their more imperfect moments and make them more relatable or ‘real.’ There is also opportunity to cross both an IRL influencer into the Metaverse with a virtual influencer, supporting the authenticity of the virtual influencer while introducing the IRL influencer into a fully digital ecosystem.

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By David Baum, EVP, Allison+Partners 

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Miami is the first U.S. city to begin earning revenue from a city-branded cryptocurrency, “MiamiCoin,” and is now the host of the largest national conference on cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin 2022.  Allison+Partners EVP David Baum, who leads the firm’s office in Miami, attended the conference this week. He shares insights on the regulatory landscape around cryptocurrency, how leaders navigate crypto’s environmental impact, and Miami’s journey to becoming the next tech hub.

Read David’s key takeaways below:

Late to the Party but Politicians and Regulators are Finally Getting their Wristbands:

Despite the public perception that the crypto industry is the wild west and has utter disdain for any oversight, there was a strong sentiment at the conference that regulation is the path to widespread adoption. President Biden’s recent executive order that directed federal agencies to consider new regulations and report on digital currencies was notable for highlighting the economic benefits of this emerging sector (a rare nod of approval from the U.S. government). This will spur institutional investors to increase investments and help state officials create local regulatory frameworks.

Adapt or Face Oblivion: Necessity Spurs Energy Innovation:

For years, the criticism from regulators, NGO’s and large swaths of society has been geared toward the vast amounts of energy required for mining bitcoins. Bitcoin’s consensus mechanism (proof-of-work) requires miners to utilize vast amounts of energy (often fossil fuels) to verify transactions. Out of necessity to avoid scrutiny from lawmakers, mining companies have increasingly sought sustainable energy sources, spurring a wave of innovation and new deployments of sustainable energy. While still in the early stages, the industry is shifting towards sustainable energy solutions in the coming years.

Crypto Coast: Miami Flexing its Digital Financial Muscles:

As Communicators, we appreciate the successful development and deployment of a bold narrative, and kudos to the Miami business & tech community, Mayor Suarez, and Mayor Levine for elevating Miami as the new digital financial capital for the 21st century. At the start of the event, organizers unveiled a new “digital bull of wall street” statue, a symbol that Miami is taking aim at New York City as the “Wall Street of the South” powered by crypto technology. Symbols matter and often push a prophecy that eventually becomes self-fulfilling, and if the size of the attendees (over 20,000), quality of the speakers, and acceleration of investments, entrepreneurs, and talent flying in are any indications, Miami will become the epicenter for crypto innovation not just for the United States but for the world.

We have a variety of crypto expertise around the network; If you’re interested in learning more about how we’re approaching this frontier, reach out at hello@stagwellglobal.com.

 

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Amber Roussel (Senior Director, Communications) and Toni Smith (Director of Social Marketing), MMI Agency

 

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Today’s path to purchase inhabits a space foreshadowed in movies like Back to the Future, The Fifth Element, and Minority Report. We’ve moved from brick-and-mortar stores to the metaverse and from cash to credit to crypto, and the social commerce those classics previewed is now a crucial part of our modern marketing lexicon. The question now is no longer if social can become a driver of business but which platforms are leading the pack – and how to maximize value across the ecosystem. TikTok or Instagram? Brand-created environments or Pinterest? For 36 years, we’ve been helping brands navigate new worlds to better connect with their audiences and drive their businesses. Here’s a guide to getting in – and staying on top – of the social commerce game.

Selling Starts with Strategy

Here’s a powerful stat: 98% of consumers plan to purchase through social or influencer shopping at least once in 2022, per Sprout Social. That’s up tremendously from the 68% of consumers who reported doing so in 2021. This trend follows investments from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest into dedicated shopping tabs that allow brands to “set up shop” in-platform and highlight their product catalogs. Soon, we could see these in-app shopping areas enable complete end-to-end purchasing.

To prepare for this new way of shopping, we suggest that brands:

  • Identify the audience(s) they want to reach on social media
  • Set clear goals and timelines
  • Develop a social selling plan that includes paid media, organic social, and influencer marketing
  • Implement a strong channel and content marketing strategy
  • Leverage in-app shopping tools or a third-party e-commerce platform to facilitate social sales

Our advice to brands is always to be clear in your goals at the outset and embrace a test-and-learn mentality. Social commerce can be as dynamic as social media conversation. You need to embrace it and be ready to learn, pivot, and optimize in real-time. Those who are open to ‘experimentation’ will realize efficiency and success.

Maggie Malek

CEO, MMI Agency

MMI clients, including ALOHA and Plant Apothecary, utilize social commerce to create end-to-end shopping experiences for their customers by pairing Instagram Shops with link-out to their websites. ALOHA also employs in-app shoppable links and social media influencers. In a recent ALOHA influencer campaign featuring two mid- and seven micro-tier influencers, sponsored social content received over half a million impressions and generated an overall engagement rate of 3.75%. Four of the nine influencers posted content on Instagram that achieved an engagement rate above 11%, indicating high interest in the brand and its products.

Where Is the Heat? Industries and Categories Seeing Success

Consumer electronics, fashion, and home items are trending in social shopping, with beauty and personal care products not far behind. Influencer partnerships play a significant part in this trend. If the higher-than-average engagement rates on posts containing #ad are any indicator, all influencer content – whether sponsored or not – works.

For Kate Spade, a limited-edition heart-shaped purse became an overnight bestseller when an influencer gushed about it on TikTok. Her post led to a host of user-generated content (UGC) when others posted videos of themselves buying and wearing the purse. The positive response encouraged Kate Spade to offer a version of the bag year-round. MMI also recently integrated a live shopping experience paired with custom influencer content to drive Dell laptop sales on Amazon.com. Gen Z and millennial influencers engaged shoppers in real-time via the Amazon Live Creator Stream. Total sales from promo code redemptions exceeded six figures from a single event.

Smart Brands Leverage Paid Amplification to Bolster Results

Although success is possible with organic social strategies, it can be challenging to break through without a robust paid media component. We believe a full-funnel paid media strategy is crucial for amplifying the overall impact of social selling, and can often lift campaign performance by 2-4 times on average. For one MMI client, clicks increased by 80% when we began testing sponsored creative from an influencer handle versus the brand handle. In a world ruled by algorithms, media campaigns arm brands with the ability to target audiences that may not organically encounter its content or products. We’ve found that Facebook and Instagram are still winning for lower-funnel conversions, and TikTok and YouTube generally outperform in terms of top-of-funnel awareness efforts.

Future Forward

Social commerce spend will reach $1.2 trillion by 2025: undoubtedly, the social media shopping cart is here to stay. How we help clients cash in on this gold rush with innovative social selling strategies will never be a one-size-fits-all approach. Aligning top-notch creative assets with influencer marketing + earned media outreach is a formula for success in today’s marketplace – and a scalable toolkit for embarking on this new frontier of social commerce.

Our DMs are open if you’re looking for partners to help make sense of it all. See you in the meta mall. 

Learn more about how MMI can help you dominate the digital shelf here.

MMI Agency is a modern brand lab where performance meets possibility. Our mission is to inspire action by combining our end-to-end approach to reaching consumers with our tenacity for data.

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Larry joins leadership team alongside chair John Boiler and chief financial officer John Pyne

Headshot of Article Subject

LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Constellation, a group within Stagwell (NASDAQ:STGW) announces Zakiya Larry as Global Chief Communications Officer as the network expands and bolsters business offerings.  She joins the leadership team with John Boiler, Constellation chair and Creative Co-Chair of 72andSunny, and John Pyne, Chief Financial Officer. Larry is the first woman, Millennial and Black professional to join the leaders at the helm of the global collective.

 

Constellation is a formation of best-in-class marketing services agencies spanning data, insights, creativity, technology and experiential that deploys itself to maximize clients’ biggest opportunities and solve their toughest business problems at scale. The Constellation solution is bespoke for each challenge and tailored to deliver maximum impact with peak efficiency.

 

The Constellation collective includes the following Stagwell agencies: 72andSunny, Instrument, Brand Citizens, Crispin Porter Bogusky (CP+B,) Hecho Studios and Redscout. The leaders of these companies sit on the operating council of Constellation.

“This collective is unified by the shared ambition to create a more integrated and powerful resource that will enable clients to access world-class talent from every discipline on their greatest challenges,” said John Boiler, Chair of Constellation. “We’re thrilled to welcome Zakiya who brings the expert skills and passion to unleash our story and amplify our impact on the industry.”

Larry, a longtime communications executive, entrepreneur and journalist, will develop and oversee a comprehensive internal and external communications strategy for Constellation that will support and help guide business goals and the client experience. This includes oversight of media relations, corporate responsibility, social media, crisis, business and executive communications, and live event productions. She will also oversee strategic communications planning and execution for Constellation’s ecosystem of six agencies and businesses that have a combined employee number of 3,000 and an international footprint including the U.S., Amsterdam, Australia, Brazil, Netherlands, Singapore and U.K.

Prior to joining Constellation, Zakiya led a boutique strategic communications firm that specialized in elevating brands through strategic public relations, crisis mitigation, DEI competency development and coaching for media and public speaking. Her clients included global leaders and international brands. Her work has garnered no less than a dozen national and international awards including two International Hermes Creative Awards, two National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Salute to Excellence Awards and multiple Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) awards. She is an honors graduate from an HBCU, Texas Southern University, and is a member of the PRSA, NABJ, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

“I am excited to help advance the vision and work of Constellation and our family of companies,” said Zakiya Larry, Global Chief Communications Officer, Constellation. “This group and its vision reflect so much of my core: precision, collaboration, creativity, mutual care and respect for the whole person, and doing good while leading well. After nearly 20 years in communications, I believe this is the right formula for making a lasting impact for our clients and in the world. I’m all in.”

Ever expanding, the Constellation added two new agencies to the collective at the end of 2021 and will announce further details within the second quarter of 2022.

ABOUT CONSTELLATION

Constellation is a formation of best-in-class agencies within Stagwell (NASDAQ:STGW) across marketing services from data, insights, creativity, technology, and experiential that deploys itself to seize clients’ biggest opportunities and solve their toughest business problems.The collective includes: 72andSunny, Instrument, Brand Citizens, Crispin Porter Bogusky (CPB,) Hecho Studios and Redscout.

ABOUT STAGWELL

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing.  Led by entrepreneurs, our 10,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

CONTACT 
comms.la@72andSunny.com

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March 11-20 2022
Austin, TX

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Robyn Freye

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing, deliver excellence for the world’s most ambitious brands by connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology. That’s why Stagwell loves SXSW, which is all about the intersection of technology, innovation and culture – a great fit for a global company committed to transforming marketing, content, and experiences.

Here’s a roundup of Stagwell showed up at SXSW, what we learned, and what it means for marketers:

The 5 Things You Missed at SXSW 

 

From NFTs and the evolving Web3 landscape to the transformative power of digital audio, Stagwell’s experts share the top five trends and brand takeaways from SXSW 2022.

 

Get Smart with Matt Maher

Stagwell contributor Matt Maher provided “Get Smart” videos throughout the week, making sure those watching from home didn’t miss a single thing, and that those on the ground could keep up with the hours of programming SXSW put forward this year.

Matt brought his experience as a marketing and technology expert to bear, sifting through the flash to determine which of the new trends and technology have staying power – and how marketers should be parcing them to make the most of every platform.

MATT’S KEY SXSW 2022 TAKEAWAYS:

  1. THIS WAS NFT’S YEAR AT SXSW but most brands haven’t fully connected the dots to turn NFTs into a sustainable, relevant, brand-building moment. Look to the Doodle x Shopify activation for the most successful implementation.
  2. CONTENT CREATION ISNT A NUMBERS GAME ANYMORE – from gaming to Instagram, it’s more important to have a dedicating following of 10k than an apathetic community of a million.
  3. THE METAVERSE CONVERSATION IS MORPHING from enthusiasm to skepticism as it runs against ongoing tech debates – data, privacy and the psychological impact on users over time. We havent’ written it off yet, but brands have some big decisions to make before jumping in.

Matt walks us thorugh all this in more in his Get Smart series from the festival, check them our below and on the Stagwell @ SXSW YouTube playlist. 

Stagwell’s on the Ground Recap with Nick Fuller

Why brave the Austin heat (or cold, as it was this year) when you have digital transformation expert Nick Fuller, Managing Partner of Digital Transformation at Stagwell, on the ground to make sense of it all for you? He’s our sherpa for all things technology x marketing, and his takeaways from a weekend on the ground show a bias towards first-mover advantage when it comes to all things Web3. There is also a new interpretation of the age old question of authenticity – whether its in creator partnerships or buy-in on new tech platforms, there’s a huge upside for brands who are operating with a clear vision of their message and where they fit in the market.

Read Nick’s full article here.

Driving the Future of Marketing with Stagwell

Marketing moves fast – and we’re ahead of the curve. On Monday March 14, Stagwell held an invite-only event at Circuit of the Americas, the US’ first and only purpose-built F1 track, to give this industry’s saviest competitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The day started with a panel featuring Bennett Richardson, President of Protocol, Gayle Troberman, CMO of iHeart Media and Sally Shin, Chief Strategy Officer at UnitedMasters, discussing the future of audio marketing. They touched on core themes unearthed by Stagwell’s March Marketing Frontier on the Future of Audio, including the power fo audio and a connective device and the untapped potential of audio as an avenue for first-party data collection. 

The group then broke up to make some noise themselves, rotating through a half-day racing school taught by the legendary Skip Barber Racing School. In no time, our marketing pros became driving pros, learning the fundementals for open-wheel race car driving from Skip Barber instructors who among them boasted half a dozen top-place finishes in racing classes across the board. It was an unforgettable day, and a reminder of why pushing the limits and moving quick can transformt he way you see a problem – and see the world.

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Scenes from the track

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An in-car lesson from the Skip Barber pros
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Breaking into groups for car handling and defensive driving lessons
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Xavier Murillo celebrating a 100% success rate on the course
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Locked in and ready to go with Brent Butin, CMO of Code and Theory
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Marketers, start your engines!
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Stagwell's mascot, Oculus, testing out the cars before guests arrived
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Bennett Richardson, Gayle Troberman and Sally Shin discussing the Future of Audio Marketing
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Recognition for 72andSunny, Anomaly, Assembly, Doner, and YML ties Stagwell with holding company giants for recognition in the annual list of best advertising agencies worldwide

NEW YORK, March 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing, today celebrates five agencies which have been honored in the Ad Age 2022 A List & Creativity Awards: 72andSunny, Anomaly, Assembly, Doner, and YML. The 2022 accolades reflect a breakout year of digital, creative, and purpose-driven work from Stagwell’s network on behalf of leading brands Kaiser Permanente, Tinder, Etsy, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and more.

 

The A List & Creativity Awards are an annual recognition of the best global advertising agencies for “game-changing creativity, bold leadership, and the ability to point the industry in new directions.”

 

2022 award highlights include:

  • STANDOUT AGENCY for 72andSunny after another breakthrough year of transformative client work for the N.F.L., Etsy, and Tinder, and a strong pipeline of global client wins which include United Airlines.
  • #9 A LIST AGENCY OF THE YEAR for disruptive global strategy, innovation and creative shop Anomaly, who took on an expansive 26 new business assignments in the U.S. in 2021, including Jimmy John’s, Netflix, Oculus, Denny’s, Amazon Corporate, and Dunkin’. Ad Age also celebrated the breadth of Anomaly’s ‘creativity’ and investment in original IP, including Obie, a fertility and pregnancy app, and Lets Get FR.EE which aims to drive social change via the largest equity-focused, purpose-driven music festival in the US.
  • PURPOSE-LED AGENCY OF THE YEAR for Assembly, Stagwell’s flagship global omnichannel media agency, whose dedicated Impact unit and global talent community drove purpose as a strategic priority for client and internal initiatives, including Nike’s Move to Zero campaign. Assembly is the first-ever winner in the category, which was introduced in this year’s program.
  • STANDOUT AGENCY for Doner, whose mix of consumer insights and creativity at the “corner of Modern & Main Street” drove an impressive roster of new client wins in Travelocity, Bloomberg, and Cue Health, among others, and helped brands including Jeep, Johnson & Johnson and Coca Cola’s Core Power tap into the power of key cultural moments to advance their market position. 
  • CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AGENCY OF THE YEAR for YML, Stagwell’s digital product and design agency, which has helped brands such as Kaiser Permanente, Polestar, YETI, and Thrive Market gain an edge by transforming their experiences to meet consumers’ new digital needs. YML is the first agency to win the accolade, which was introduced in this year’s program.

“Our A-List showing this year validates what Stagwell is all about: harmonizing the art and science of marketing to drive big transformations, unmistakable cultural impact, and powerful client results,” said Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO, Stagwell. “Again, the outsized impact of our network shows in the breadth of work recognized across the A-List. Despite currently accounting for a small chunk of the global ad market, we’re tied with legacy giants several times our size for recognition as the one of most creative networks out there.”

About Stagwell Inc

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing.  Led by entrepreneurs, our 10,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

Contact:
Beth Sidhu
202-423-4414
beth.sidhu@stagwellglobal.com

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By Lindsay Hong, Chief Operating Officer, Locaria

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Marketing Frontiers is a new series from Stagwell exploring the methods, mediums, and messes modern marketers will grapple with over the next decade as they chart transformation in the discipline. This March, Stagwell is exploring Audio.

 

TL;DR:

Audio provides disproportionate opportunities to gain cut-through in certain markets and demographics. Localization is the gateway to both accessing the best global content for US consumers, and scaling US brands worldwide.

With no images to aid understanding, successful audio localization has to be high quality, and still requires a human touch.

Approach localization the same as global media planning.

Recent research has shown a renaissance in the popularity of audio content amongst U.S. consumers, with younger segments finding audio more trustworthy than other digital channels.  Additionally, as the popularity of shows such as Squid Game has recently shown, consumers in the U.S. have a growing appetite for international content. As brands shore up their global content properties in the coming years, the key to meeting the demand for international and multicultural audio content will be a smart approach to localization.

Engaging US audiences with the best creative work emerging overseas

The US audience benefits from a wealth of high-quality domestic content, produced with big budgets and starring global talent. When seeking impactful international content in this mature environment, the uncomfortable truth is that all creative markets are not equal. 

Some markets have prioritized creative industries and are stronger sources for new video and audio content. The focus the South Korean government has put on creative industries as a source of regional influence since the Korean War has contributed to the success of Squid Game. The global content market is huge. As brands look to shore up their international content properties in the coming years, starting with content from markets that have already proven their creative skills in cinema could provide quick wins. For example: in Europe, Germany, France, and the UK are well known for their cinematic prowess, while the Nordic countries offer opportunities with their noir genre. Further afield, India (Bollywood) and Nigeria (Nollywood) already produce English language content, requiring less adaptation for the US. 

Once great content has been found, adapting it for US audiences requires linguistic skills and deep cultural understanding. Editorial decisions have to be made in partnership with localization to ensure the original language’s drama, romance, or humor is not lost in translation. Collaborative workflows between creative and production talent are essential for making efficient adaptation decisions. Building audience data into that process can reduce subjectivity, speed up the process and reduce controversy around localization choices.

Leveraging US content to reach international audiences

While US consumers are seeking international content, authentic American stories can also play well globally. In the race to develop an audio content universe, brands should consider tapping into the expansive body of compelling U.S. podcasts and localizing them for international reach.

It’s important to note that audio content, unlike video, provides no visual aids to the consumer to support understanding, so high quality localization is even more important. Developments in AI technology and improvements in home recording equipment are reducing costs and speeding up audio localization, unlocking global audiences. However, as most creative content still requires human intervention and editorial agreement, brands should apply a targeted approach. By investing in localization where brands can have the most impact and utilizing a variety of methodologies to deliver local language content, costs can be controlled. So which markets offer the greatest opportunities to engage audiences with series like Serial or Smartless?

When it comes to the percentage of internet users consuming podcasts:

  • Sweden, Norway and Denmark all over-index. The Nordics offer a wealthy consumer base, and a less competitive marketing environment than other European and English-speaking markets, providing attractive opportunities for growth.
  • Spanish is becoming the second universal language for podcasting. In 2021, Mexico had a higher podcast penetration than most of Europe. Localizing to Mexican Spanish has the added benefit of offering deeper engagement with US Hispanic audiences.

Lastly, English-speaking markets can be a quick win, but to have real resonance and stand out from the competition, brands should adapt content to local English versions. They should also look at adapting content such as track listings or summaries and consider offering supplemental information explaining certain terms. This makes audiences feel better understood and drives loyalty.

Key Takeaways

  • Audio provides disproportionate opportunities to gain cut-through in certain markets and demographics. Localization is the gateway to both accessing the best global content for US consumers, and scaling US brands worldwide.
  • With no images to aid understanding, successful audio localization has to be high quality, and still requires a human touch. Locaria’s ISO-certified global network of highly skilled talent ensures messages have impact in any market, and protect your brand from embarrassing mistakes.
  • Approach localization the same as global media planning. With an approach similar to media planning, Locaria’s content analysts ensure efficient global scaling of content across all channels, based on business objectives, and respecting budgets.

Learn more about how Locaria can help you scale your content globally here.

Locaria is a pioneering multilingual content activation agency which specializes in supporting in-house marketing and e-commerce teams, media agencies and creative production houses. We build linguistic solutions to scale content and campaigns internationally, while carefully balancing efficiency, effectiveness, creativity and quality.

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Amid the global consumer craving for new experiences driven by the pandemic, social audio bloomed in popularity through 2020 and 2021. A year later, some of the buzz around the platform driving the trend – Clubhouse – has fizzled, but experiments in the space from key social platforms like Twitter and Reddit, and audio superstar Spotify, show there’s still terrain to be mapped. But are consumers into social audio? What opportunities does the content create? And what are the barriers to widespread adoption and growth that brands should be on the lookout for? Stagwell’s experts from KWT Global, HUNTER, and Meat & Produce address where social audio is headed in 2022.

Niche Will Drive the Social Audio Experience 

Jessica Spar, SVP, Digital, KWT Global

Social audio isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the bigger questions are: Who is tuned in? And where? Clubhouse was meant to be the next big thing, but its fifteen minutes of fame have passed. Was this because the format didn’t ultimately have long term potential? Or because it was a good idea with poor execution? Twitter Spaces seems to be banking on the latter, yet with significant shifts in the cultural and social landscape over the last few years, Twitter may not be primed for the success it expects.

Twitter is counting on mass appeal for Twitter Spaces based on its 300 million+ monthly users. However, the masses are moving in a different direction – younger audiences are increasingly leaning into Instagram and TikTok as their platforms of choice, with video as the dominating medium. Social audio has a completely different definition on these platforms. Where Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces focus on live conversation, TikTok and Instagram’s definition of social audio includes everything from audio remixes to sharing the latest sound trends, which doesn’t require the same level of focus, attention, and participation as the live conversational formats of Clubhouses and Twitter Spaces.  

To succeed, Twitter Spaces will need to rely on highly engaged niche interest groups, which is a model already owned by Reddit. As a platform founded on niche interest groups, Reddit is now throwing its hat into the social audio ring as well with Reddit Talk. Reddit could succeed where Clubhouse failed (and Twitter Spaces seems to be failing), as they have the framework for success built into their platform already. The platform’s subreddit model and moderation policies lend themselves well to a similar setup for live audio discussion. Clubhouse, on the other hand, was still working through the right setup for rooms when users started to lose interest, and Twitter’s struggles have come in on the moderation side of things. Without clear moderation frameworks, brands may find social audio experiences too risky.  

All to say, no clear winner has emerged in the social audio game when it comes to live conversation, so it will be interesting to see which platform, if any, can get it right! 

Platform Investment Means Social Audio is Here to Stay 
Michael Lamp, Chief Digital Officer, HUNTER 

Despite Clubhouse’s fizzle-out, there’s still a ton of heat around social audio. Twitter Spaces has outpaced all its other recent innovations and is driving a lot of thumb-stopping based on the way live Spaces appear in the mobile app (à la IG Stories…just begging to be clicked). Spotify launched its version of audio rooms – Greenroom – in July of 2021 and Facebook continues to promote its Live Audio Rooms with select Creator partners.  

Perhaps most indicative of Social Audio’s staying power, though, is Reddit’s offering: Reddit Talk. A mobile-only product for a while, it rolled out to the web version just this year, adding several new features, including the ability to listen to recorded sessions.  

Beyond these specific products offered by existing platforms, the broader trend of sensorial social is what we’re watching, buoyed by the staying power of podcasts, ASMR and long-form, audio-as-video content. From sight to sound to virtual realities in the metaverse simulating touch, where will the fight for consumer attention take us next?     

Content Creators Hold the Key for the Future of Social Audio 

Christine McDermott, VP, Meat & Produce   

Amidst the “we’re all in this together” enthusiasm of 2020 (remember after work Zoom drinks? Yea, sorry to remind you…) friends, families and companies jumped into the online world headfirst. The need for connection, exacerbated by the pandemic, was real but screen fatigue quickly set in. This combination created a gateway for an explosion of audio content. While it appeared to have been spurred on by our “unprecedented times,” the audio movement had been building for years with the groundwork laid by the increasing popularity of podcasts.  

This brings us back to Clubhouse: despite downloads having plummeted after the initial hype, every major social platform has continued to invest in the development of audio. Think Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Rooms and Spotify Greenroom. Notably, the names of these efforts focus on referencing physical locations, highlighting the opportunity audio provides for greater connection and inclusion across hybrid brand ecosystems. Even LinkedIn has recently jumped on the bandwagon, extending their live events to include audio-only events. Audio-only can level a playing field in terms of providing engagement opportunities without judgment on appearance or location (i.e. no need for staged Zoom backgrounds…) 

No social form of social media is an island, or could possibly exist in isolation, and thus the popularity of audio has bloomed beyond audio-only channels. For years, the advice brands and agencies heard from Facebook was to design content for sound-off as well as sound-on. This was based on the insight that most users would consume content while silently scrolling through feeds. Now users discover cultural moments by tapping into trending audio on TikTok; the audio content drives the cultural relevance consumers are seeking in their entertainment consumption.  

The key to the future of audio lies in the hands of creators, both from a platform and consumer perspective. The possibilities here are immense: since it is more cost effective to create high-quality audio than video, audio’s proliferation will enable new and underrepresented voices to enter the mainstream. Additionally, audio content and interactions allow for deeper discussions around key issues we face today while simultaneously enabling a greater level of empathy to be built between listeners. Imagine the nuance that voice provides enhancing conversation and discourse, as opposed to the impersonal, text-based comment battles we see across social media so often. Through strategic creator partnerships, our brands can find authentic ways to enter the conversations that are matter to their consumers.  

With the ongoing evolutions we are seeing in this space – from increasing formats and channels to greater accessibility options – audio will continue to play a more important role in our social mix, from channel planning to creative development.

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