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Today’s businesses have more reputational capital than ever before. When reputation is managed, it has the potential to add business value and mitigate risks. Stagwell annually produces the Reputation Quotient, the industry’s leading barometer of American corporate reputation, in partnership with Axios and The Harris Poll to uncover insights which brands are gaining or losing reputational capital – and the expectations of a new generation of reputation-minded consumers.  

The Axios Harris Poll 100 is a trusted ranking of the reputations of the companies most on the minds of Americans using a framework Harris has used since 1999. Download the 22nd Annual Reputation Quotient Study report to view the full rankings and gain additional insights about performance year over year. 

Register to receive our 2022 research – set to release in late May – using this form. Reach out to hello@stagwellglobal.com if you have questions. 

Methodology:  

The Axios Harris Poll 100 is based on a survey of 42,935 Americans in a nationally representative sample. The two-step process starts fresh each year by surveying the public’s top-of-mind awareness of companies that either excel or falter in society. These 100 “most visible companies” are then rated by a second group of Americans across the seven key dimensions of reputation to determine the ranking. If a company is not on the list, it did not reach a critical level of visibility to be measured. 

 

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By

Ray Day
Stagwell Vice-Chair 

 

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“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet 

Today, corporate reputation means more than mastery of the marketplace. Reputation is a measure of what all stakeholders – including consumers, employees, shareholders, and more – think about a company.  

Contrary to “brand” – which measures a company’s products & services, typically among specific consumer segments, a reputation is earned not created.  

Reputation is comprised of your company’s performance + its behavior in the marketplace, reflected through its internal and external marketing communications. When reputation is curated, it has the potential to build business value and can help mitigate risks. Companies with excellent reputations are more likely to garner positive outcomes, such as advocacy, community expansion and purchase intent.

Today’s corporations and CEOs have greater permission from the public to address complex social issues – within bounds. Reputation today is evolving today to reflect more than just a product or service set, but a businesses’ commitment to serve society.  

In recent years, geopolitical, economic, and social developments have created a society in transition and turmoil. Consumers have more expectations of corporations in this environment – not least because of declining trust and expectations in institutional actors such as governments and municipalities. As measured by Stagwell’s 2021 Reputation Quotient, brands across nearly every business sector experienced a reputational boost during the height of the pandemic as consumers looked to the private sector for solutions where public officials were failing to create them:  

CEOs, and in a limited capacity other star of the C-Suite such as CMOs, are rapidly gaining reputational capital within the market and with consumers. They influence sales, perceived product/service quality, and signal the strength of an organization’s culture. As CEO reputation extends outward, when to exert influence in society becomes more calculated and more important. Americans say CEOs most affect reputation, ethics, and financial success for today’s organizations. CEOs also have a growing public awareness and influence on consumer sales; half of Americans report changing buying habits due to the actions of a CEO. 

More traditional C-suite players like Jamie Dimon at Goldman Sachs leverage influence in quieter, more sustained ways – Dimon’s annual letter is a bellwether for the future of global financial markets, with wide-ranging through leadership implications for businesses within and beyond the financial services category.  

With that reputational capital comes the burden of leadership: the public believes CEOs should stand on issues where they have credibility, not where they don’t have a voice or authority. Ultimately, core values should be the navigator of social issues. Alienation is a risk in a highly polarized society, but so too is the risk of stakeholders who perceive CEOs as indifferent or in conflict with the company’s principles. This is especially true among younger and Black Americans. While standing down is expedient, a generational and cultural divide is growing that will make decisions more difficult and polarizing.  

Corporate and CEO reputation is changing quickly. Stagwell is a leader in global reputation tracking and management; learn more about the Reputation Quotient, an annual collaboration between Stagwell, Axios, and The Harris Poll tracking the most visible companies in America. Register to receive our 2022 research when it releases in May.

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Mark Penn

FEATURING

Welcome to the second edition of Hitting the Mark – a monthly analysis of developments at the intersection of business, marketing, and politics meant for the modern C-Suite. This month’s topic? Inflation. 

Inflation is in many ways the most pernicious of economic problems because it affects so many people at the same time. Inflation is at its highest rate since the early 1980s, and, as I wrote recently in the New York Times, “Many Americans under 60 have relatively little experience with anything but comparatively low fuel costs, negligible interest rates, and stable prices. Virtually overnight these assumptions have been shaken.” Consumers are already changing their behavior, becoming more cautious and pessimistic about the state of the economy. All of those COVID savings are being eaten up through the mystery of runaway higher prices.

Most marketers have some real choices in how to respond to inflation and the goal is to be on the side of the consumer during these more difficult economic times.

Of course, the easiest solution is simply to raise prices. It’s no longer 10 cents for a pack of gum; one bellwether of higher prices is the cost of treats like chocolate and spearmint. In 1974 a pack of 7 sticks of gum cost 15 cents. That probably does not even cover the sales tax on a package of gum today. Chocolate is a luxury and luxuries have the most elastic pricing, so they generally have the most room to simply pass on cost increases, so don’t expect to pay the same at the Godiva store.

Other companies have tried hard to conceal price increases by simply reducing the quantity. Cereal companies are famous during inflationary times for simply taking an ounce or two out of those cereal boxes. Consumers can easily miss this shrinkage but go too far and expect a backlash.

Perhaps the best way to get on the side of consumers during this time is to offer bigger units at lower prices. This is why Sam’s Club and Costco generally do better during these times, as their business model is all about delivering more value for less.

Inflation is of course great for products that are perceived as keeping pace with inflation. No product is known for holding its value more than gold – expect the airwaves to be filled with ads that sell gold as the one true hedge against rising prices.

Fast food prices and their consumers are super sensitive to inflation. As the McDonald’s dollar menu inches up from $1, to $2, to $2, its competitors have done a great job advertising $5 fill-up boxes that are brimming with food. These “inflation busters” become the perfect partners to penny-pinched consumers. While prices for organic groceries soar, families know they can rely on these restaurants to remain affordable.

 

What does this mean for marketing? 

Growth slows during inflationary times, so marketing will also be more about fighting for market share than selling new products to first-time consumers. This means that effective competitive marketing will be a lot more useful for brands. Especially when consumers are motivated by cost-saving, nothing can be quite as powerful as reminding them of the superior value of your business versus competitors.

It’s important to remember that value is not always the same as cost. I once ran advertising on behalf of Microsoft against Linux. Linux was difficult to compete against because the company was giving away some of its software for free. We created the concept of the “total cost of ownership” and showed that the free offering, over time, would be more costly than paying Microsoft. This campaign labeled “Get the Facts” was a huge success.

Focus is important during inflationary times. The consumer is once again king, and behaving somewhat like a taxpayer, skeptical of companies who are focused on giving their money away for causes because they feel like they are being called upon to finance these programs out of pocket when they buy goods and services. Companies with a heavy focus on social programs should evaluate whether they will now be seen as out of step with the needs of consumers. While helping soup kitchens might still be a popular idea during inflationary times, funding the opera might raise eyebrows, and throwing a huge fashion show might alienate consumers at this time.

Now is the time to stop simply watching inflation worsen and pick the right strategy for your company, whether it is reducing package sizes, creating affordable bundles, raising costs, or digging into competitive advertising to fight for market share. As for me? I have to go load some gold bars into my car…

Up next in our Hitting the Mark column? The pandemic, inflation, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, political crises – all these issues raise the importance (and trickiness) of “brand leadership” in our modern era. As we noted in Stagwell’s 2021 research on brand reputation, those perceived as delivering solutions to the pandemic received a major reputational boost over the past few years. Today, a majority of voters are not confident in either the Biden administration (55%) or the Federal Reserve’s (56%) ability to fight inflation. Brands won’t deliver the silver bullet to America’s inflation woes but adapting strategy to give consumers a lifeline amid economic stress can go a long way towards building reputational capital.

Stagwell’s 2022 Reputation Quotient, our annual ranking of the 100 most visible companies in America, is set to release in late May. I look forward to sharing an updated picture of the state of corporate reputation and brand leadership then.

Mark Penn 

 

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By

Jen Wood
SVP, Integrated Marketing
Allison+Partners

 

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When NIL legislation became law in July 2021, it opened the floodgates for college athletes to partner with companies and monetize their success. Historically, NIL opportunities were talked about in terms of appearances and autographs. But unsurprisingly, the bulk of all NIL deals to date have leaned on the success of digital solutions from social media posts and content to NFT creation.

The first nine months of this marketplace have seen a flurry of activity, but have also exposed a few opportunity areas:

  • Despite NIL legislation being touted as benefitting all college athletes, recent data from the platform Opendorse shows 51.1% of all NIL compensation has gone to college football players and 72.6% of all compensation has gone to male athletes.
  • Many experts say this imbalance is a result of systemic inequities that exist in sports. Brands could help correct this imbalance by purposefully crafting NIL programs that highlight a diverse representation of athletes across both men’s and women’s sports.
  • Even though there’s a desire from all stakeholders to have uniform NIL standards, there’s currently no governing body overseeing this. Depending on your industry, it’s still a bit of the Wild West in terms of who you can partner with. Rules differ by college and conference, leading some conferences to allow NIL partnerships with alcohol and sports betting companies, for instance, while other conferences and schools do not.
  • Brands must do their due diligence before approaching an athlete and hire an agency, especially if they’re in a highly regulated industry, to help navigate the constantly changing landscape and make recommendations around the athletes who can help achieve their goals.
  • There is great variability in the savviness and experience of those negotiating these deals, with some athletes represented by traditional agents and other athletes left to negotiate on their own. Some universities, such as Ohio State’s NIL Edge Team, have formed expressly to help athletes navigate this void. This creates inconsistencies in how services are priced and opens the door for certain athletes to be taken advantage of.

Partnering with a college athlete, as with any influencer, comes with risk. Not only are proper vetting and contract structure essential to a successful partnership, but athlete deals have more visibility than traditional influencer relationships. This heightens the opportunity for brands to be called out for unfair practices. Using tools, such as A+P’s Influencer Impact Score, helps provide consistent vetting and pricing guidance to ensure each deal is approached equitably.

One thing is for certain  the NIL marketplace’s size and influence will continue to grow. And athlete brand-building efforts will continue to be a huge focus, taking an even larger role in recruitment efforts. Not only will colleges seek to recruit college athletes who are already influencers and can bring that follower base to their school, but they’ll also look to market their institutions’ ability to help athletes build their personal brand by playing at the university. Expect athletes across all college sports to become savvier about their marketing potential and create an exponentially larger industry marketplace.

Jen Wood is senior vice president of Integrated Marketing at Allison+Partners. She’s spent the past 10-plus years of her career in Sports Marketing and Sponsorships overseeing all aspects of her clients sports marketing efforts – from sponsorship strategy development and partner identification, to negotiating multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals with collegiate and professional sports organizations and athletes, partnership activation, and ultimately measuring asset utilization and performance. She’s passionate about the opportunities sports marketing provides and is always ready to chat with an interested brand.

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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

Jay Powell
SVP, Communications,
MMI Agency

 

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At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders and social distancing drove hordes of Americans to their devices to connect with family and friends. It also helped fuel more online purchases that might typically have been made in-store. Cue the rise of shoppertainment – a phenomenon at the intersection of online shopping and influencer livestreaming that brands are eager to leverage, emboldened by the success live-streamers have found across Asia-Pacific.

As an integrated communications and media firm that has remained at the forefront of marketing innovation since inception, MMI is uniquely qualified to support brands through this latest evolution of commerce. After digging into performance data, examining industry reports, and speaking with brands and influencers, we have compiled a quick start guide to help your brand execute a winning influencer livestream campaign.

Shoppertainment in the digital age is the latest way brands utilize influencers to make the social shopping experience more entertaining and authentic. Shoppertainment rests on influencer livestreaming, which is often less polished than the slickly-produced shorts created by brands and influencers for official campaigns.  For leaders worried about brand safety and consistency across platforms, this imperfect content might be troubling. But Caroline Vazzana (@cvazzana), style influencer, says the imperfection of livestreaming is its charm.  “The beauty of going live is that not everything needs to be (or can be) perfect!”

At MMI, we love helping brands connect with their target audiences in new ways and across new platforms. If you’re planning to tap into growing trends that can positively impact your bottom line, like livestreaming, our influencer marketing team has the experience to support you..

Jay Powell

SVP, Communications, MMI Agency

Livestreams Sell Out the Digital Shelf in China

In 2020, the shoppertainment took off in China; two-thirds of Chinese consumers purchased products via livestreams that year. During Taobao’s 2021 Single’s Day, China’s unofficial shopping holiday that is four times larger than Black Friday in the U.S., China’s two most famous livestreaming stars sold a total of $3 billion worth of products via separate livestreaming sessions. The verticals driving this success in China are cosmetics, beauty products, fashion, and food.

Influencer livestreaming is gaining traction, as evidenced by increasing viewership and conversion rates. Per Bloomberg, social commerce is expected to accelerate over the next few years, with U.S. sales reaching $1.2 trillion by 2025.

Instagram and TikTok Take Center Stage

Initially a photography-focused app, Instagram now prioritizes video content to keep up with its competitors, most recently with the introduction of Instagram Live Shopping. MMI facilitated a collaboration between a large skin care brand and beauty and lifestyle influencers Paola Matute (@paox33) and Melody Acevedo (@melodyslife) to promote holiday season self-care products via Instagram Live. 44% of Instagram users shop Lives weekly, making them an effective way to place your product directly in front of consumers.

Brands are also finding success on “the QVC for Gen Z,” TikTok Live, whose “Top LIVEs” category makes it easy for live content to be discovered by users on the platform. MMI executed a TikTok Live on behalf of a major hair care brand, hosted by Vazzana, to promote an innovative new hair styling product line. Viewers chatted with Caroline during the session and posed questions that she answered live, creating an interactive environment for viewers. Click-through rate to the brand’s product page exceeded campaign expectations.

Influencers can seamlessly livestream beyond social channels via a brand’s website by incorporating livestream shopping platforms like buywith and talkshoplive. This allows the audience to shop directly on the e-commerce site, along with the influencer, in real time, removing path-to-purchase friction, increasing engagement and boosting conversions. Large brands and publishers who are already livestreaming shoppable content across these platforms include Walmart, Buzzfeed and Hearst.

Best Practices for Lively Livestreaming

The world of influencer livestreaming can be daunting to brands that are accustomed to controlling every aspect of influencer content development. MMI’s philosophy for content creation is to give influencers “freedom within a framework” to do what they do best and create content they know their followers will engage. MMI compiled this list of tips to consider as you craft your influencer livestreaming strategy.

Go with the platform where your audience spends the most time..

Meet your audience where it’s already engaged to maximize the reach and life cycle of your content.

Go with someone your audience trusts.

87% of Instagram users say influencers have inspired them to make a purchase. Collaborate with an influencer your audience already looks to for advice to drive conversions.

Go with someone you trust.

Identify creators you’ve worked with in the past who will understand the nuances of your brand as well as the required FTC and platform-specific disclosure policies.

Go with the content format your audience engages with most.

Examine past organic social and influencer campaign performance to determine the content type(s) with which your audience is more likely to interact.

Go with the platform where your audience spends the most time..

Meet your audience where it’s already engaged to maximize the reach and life cycle of your content.

Livestreaming, shoppertainment, and social commerce are new domains for today’s brands. To drive results, they will need to get comfortable with leaning on influencers and ceding creative control where necessary. We’ve found, though, that the best collaborations occur when influencers are given the freedom to create what works for their audiences. Acevedo affirms that the resulting livestream “feels authentic, yet informative for the audience.” When you’re ready to see influencer livestreaming work magic for your brand, MMI’s influencer marketing team is here to support you every step of the way.

See how MMI helps brands break through the noise and stand out 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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BY

Christine McDermott
VP, Veritas/Meat & Produce

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

A decade ago, brands looked to influencer agencies to connect with the ‘who’s who’; today, they come to us to wield the transformative power of social influence through their entire marketing stack. As part of the agency that felt so strongly about the term “influencing the influencers” that we trademarked it, I am keenly aware that influencer marketing long predates the current hype that social media has generated around the industry. When we look at the prioritization of influencer marketing in today’s marketing mix, it’s no longer considered a nice to have but rather a core component of brand planning.

It wasn’t always this way, though. This has provided a fascinating opportunity to watch the shift in the marketplace from a client service perspective. In today’s creator-centric economy, brands require influencer marketing agency partners to keep apace the transformation in this space.

From Impressions to Engagement

In the days of blogs and burgeoning social media channels, the most significant opportunity influencers afforded was the chance to reach new audiences. The focus was almost exclusively on maximizing the number of impressions from influencer content. Guaranteed organic reach and high blog readership provided cost-effective ways for brands to reach audiences that otherwise may never have interacted with them. The deep relationships that influencer marketing agencies held with influencers were critical to obtaining the best earned and paid opportunities for our brand partners and allowed for agility in influencer placements.

As social channels moved into the spotlight, accounting for more media hours consumed across generations, the focus shifted to engagement. The goal was to measure the attention content could generate through authentic connection with audiences in an increasingly competitive digital world. With this, we saw the rise of micro and nano influencers who built strong relationships through two-way communication with their audiences, maintaining consistently high engagement. Trusted recommendations from the right influencers could bring your brand into the consideration set for your target audience. Dedicated audiences of nano influencers also provided an opportunity to access niche consumer segments that otherwise would be challenging for brands to find. Our key to success was pairing the right influencers with our brands, ensuring alignment on values and demographics. 

The Creator Economy

Today, getting the right message to the right person at the right time has never been more critical – or more difficult as the consumer ecosystem becomes increasingly sophisticated. New channels and content formats provide evermore opportunities to attract and engage new and existing audiences with relevant content. Moving influencer marketing from a single tactic to a full-funnel approach creates a new world of opportunity for brands, while at the same time raising countless new considerations. With all these factors to contend with, the role influencer marketing agencies take on has never been more critical. Today’s influencer marketing agency partners must help clients navigate this ever-changing world by:

  • Going beyond the numbers: As data-driven marketers, it can be attractive to make decisions based solely on the immense data we now have at our fingertips. While these are fundamental parts of our discovery and vetting processes, we believe it’s equally important to review the qualitative elements of an influencer agreement: alignment with brand values, the types of social conversations creators drive among their followings, and, importantly, any content or connections that may increase brand risk.
  • Capitalizing on available technology: Today’s digital tools provide capabilities that aid every step of the process: diving deep into audience demographics, reviewing years of content to ensure brand safety, authenticating audiences to remove bot traffic, and analyzing results. The available options can also be overwhelming. Here, the right mix of talent (agency experts with a deep understanding of the landscape) with technology (digital SaaS and DaaS tools) can supercharge campaign results. 
  • Keeping human connection at the center: True influence is built on strong connections between agencies and influencers and influencers and their audiences. Authentic connection is essential, from the relationships we build to the content we create. 
  • Letting creators be creative: Our influencers are partners in the creative process, not simply another outlet or a channel to distribute brand messages. Influencers know their audiences better than anyone. Leaning into their insights and creativity will lead to more authentic content and experiences that resonate. True partnerships with influencers allow for co-creation and collaborations that can excite and convert. 
  • Researching and reviewing: Due to the steady growth of influencer marketing, we now have a wealth of research to help inform and guide everything from partnership models to accurate approaches for optimizing reach. Every campaign is an opportunity to test, learn, and then review performance to better optimize results in the future.

There has been a tremendous acceleration in influencer marketing growth and investment. When done well, it works. When we examine the transformation of influencer marketing and the creator economy in just a few short years, it becomes clear that more evolution is to come. Leaning on agency partners with deep knowledge of the discipline, facility with the technology tools driving efficiency through the space, and authentic relationships with influencers will help brands get the most out of this fast-moving space.

 

 

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Originally released on

Dyversity joins Doner Partners Network to meaningfully expand multicultural marketing services spanning advertising, research & analytics, shopper, content production, media, XM, Influencer and PR

TORONTO, April 1, 2022 – Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) today announced the acquisition of Dyversity Communications, a leading multicultural full-service marketing agency in depth, breadth, and size based in Canada.  Dyversity specializes in Chinese and South Asian communications, with additional expertise in over 20 other languages including Filipino, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The acquisition rapidly scales the Doner Partners Network’s multicultural capabilities across its Canadian assets – namely DonerNorth, Veritas, and Meat & Produce (M&P) – by adding best practices for existing clients and doubling down on more progressive ways to centralize multicultural insights and expertise as part of the offering. The Doner Partners Network (DPN) is one of four integrated networks within Stagwell that bridge complementary specialist marketing services for powerful collaborations across client work.

“I am so honoured to welcome Dyversity into our Network and learn from their expertise,” says Krista Webster, Vice-Chair of DPN and President & CEO of Veritas Communications and M&P.  “Dyversity’s team were pioneers in spearheading growth in the burgeoning ethnic markets in Canada, at a time when few considered it.  Now, they are the leader in one of the fastest growing segments in North America. As a challenger network with offices all over the world united by a mission to transform marketing, it only makes sense for Stagwell to bring Dyversity into the mix.”

Dyversity has a storied history in Canada with over two decades of award-winning work servicing all sectors from banking and telecommunications to consumer-packaged goods and real estate. With over 30 experts, Dyversity provides clients 360-degree marketing services, including strategy, creative, research & analytics, and traditional and digital media.

As part of the Doner Partners Network, Dyversity Founder Albert Yue, will continue leading the agency as CEO and focus on setting the pace for multicultural marketing in Canada with the added support of a best-in-class global network. 

“I am so proud of growing Dyversity into Canada’s largest and longest standing ethnic marketing agency, but that still accounts for a very modest number of Canadian brands’ total marketing spend,” says Yue.  “I knew when I met Krista and the Stagwell team that we could take this agency to an even more special place together. With their wind in our sails, this will be a game changer for cultural marketing overall.”

“As the Industry continues to demand more diversity in communications, it wasn’t going to be satisfactory to me to ‘lip service’ our promise to clients with temporary solutions,” added Webster.  “We needed a true change agent embedded in our network and Dyversity was the best fit in terms of caliber of clients and agency culture.”

In collaboration with other award-winning Stagwell agencies within Canada like DonerNorth and Veritas, Dyversity is well-positioned to drive multicultural marketing success as a key feature for the country’s leading blue-chip brands. Additionally, the agency will now benefit from Stagwell’s engineering and technology talent, numbering over 1200 worldwide, as well as original SaaS and DaaS products supporting marketing transformation within the Stagwell Marketing Cloud.

“We’re eager to welcome Dyversity to Stagwell as we continue to evolve our offering of transformational marketing services,” added Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO, Stagwell. “Dyversity sets a high bar for excellence in multicultural insights that aligns with our data-driven approach to shaping culture through the work we do for brands.”

Once Dyversity establishes itself within DPN Canada, Webster says the opportunity to scale expertise into the US through Doner and the Stagwell global network is on the horizon.   

About Doner Partners Network. Doner Partners Network is a mix of award-winning US, Canadian and UK based B2C and B2B marketing agencies within Stagwell that are the best-in-class in the cities they originate – from Toronto to LA, New York to London, Detroit to Minneapolis. Agencies include Doner, DonerNorth, Yamamoto, Veritas, Meat & Produce and KWT Global. 

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.

For more information, please contact:

Brandon Dixon
347-636-5807
pr@stagwellglobal.com                              

Bora Caglayan              
647-920-2201
caglayan@veritasinc.com 

 

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By Lisa Rosenberg, Partner + President, Consumer Brands at Allison+Partners

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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 February, Stagwell is exploring NFTs.

Virtual worlds are on the rise – and the time people spend in them is only going to increase. With popular artists such as Justin Bieber, Travis Scott and Ariana Grande having already performed in the metaverse, brands know that the future is virtual and that the possibilities of marketing in the metaverse are seemingly endless. In the last few months, we’ve seen an explosion of brands using NFTs to connect with and engage their consumers.

As AOR for Budweiser, Allison+Partners supported the brand’s entry into the metaverse with the launch of the Budverse Heritage Collection on Cyber Monday 2021. The brand’s first-ever NFTs are a curated set of unique digital cans representing 1936, the year the first Budweiser can was created. This launch marked the brand’s first foray into the world of unique digital assets on the blockchain and represented Anheuser-Busch InBev’s first owned NFT marketplace, Budwesier.com/NFT.  Each Heritage Collection token is a one-of-a-kind digital asset generated using designs from throughout Budweiser’s history and was available to consumers of legal drinking age via two different token types at launch – Core Heritage Cans and Gold Heritage Cans. The Gold Heritage Cans are rarer, with only 36 in existence and included access to and/or exclusives for future Budweiser in-person events and early access to future brand NFT launches. There were 1900 Core Heritage cans released.  

The launch was incredibly successful, with the collection selling out within an hour, a fact the team quickly added to media follow ups, with efforts resulting in 243 million impressions, including coverage in Entrepreneur, Decrypt, and multiple stories in AdAge.

For an iconic brand like Budweiser, there are numerous benefits to being seen as an early adopter in this space. The brand has been a major influencer and contributor in sports and entertainment and NFTs represent the future of where consumers are going to socialize and be entertained. In addition, NFT marketplaces enable Budweiser to provide consumers with a richer and deeper brand experience, leveraging technology for increased engagement.

Late last month, the A+P team supported the brand’s release of its second NFT collection, The Budweiser Royalty Collection, which also quickly sold out. The brand partnered with 22 of the world’s top emerging music artists to drop their first-ever NFTs and provide them with a global platform they might not have access to otherwise. The drop also allowed fans the opportunity to support artists directly and potentially unlock exclusive experiences with them. Through the Budweiser Royalty Collection, Budweiser continues to give local artists a global platform and support their journey towards becoming the next Kings and Queens of the music industry. Coverage resulted in 144 million impressions and included stories in Benzinga, Medium, INSIDER and many more.

Earned coverage of Budweiser’s entry into NFTs successfully positioned the brand as an innovative leader in the space and demonstrated how AB InBev is leveraging technology to engage brand fans in an entirely new way. Both the Budverse Heritage Collection and the Budweiser Royalty Collection offered consumers the ability to collect and own a digital piece of the Budweiser brand, as well as gain exclusive access to brand experiences.

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Stagwell’s agencies are transforming marketing – on one of the most captive fields for national marketing, the Super Bowl. Several of our agencies are showing up at the Big Game this year: Anomaly for Meta, Vroom and Expedia; 72andSunny for the NFL; Forsman & Bodenfors for Polestar; and more. Off the TV screen, our agencies are innovating with omnichannel efforts that tap into the fever and fandom of the big game to drive powerful consumer moments for their brand partners.

We believe that there’s a new definition of success for advertisers at the Super Bowl, and it’s driven by digital transformation and changing consumer expectations around brands and experiences. Stagwell is leading the charge in supporting brands as they navigate this new dynamic – explore Stagwell’s presence at The Game, both traditional and less so, below.

But before you dive in:

Captain Morgan x Anomaly

Captain Morgan’s high-tech punch bowl syncs with real-time game data to keep fans in the loop, even when they’re getting a refill.

Meet the Super Bowl snack table addition you never knew you needed: the Captain Morgan Super Bowl Punch Bowl. Anomaly worked with the Captain Morgan team to bring to life the bowl, featuring stadium-inspired lights and sound, Bluetooth speakers, subwoofers and LED graphic equalizers that sync with real-time game data to create an immersive brand experience.

Plus, don’t miss it’s apperance on Jimmy Fallon.

Cenex x Colle McVoy

Colle McVoy created a new campaign for Cenex that celebrates the quirky, charming and often humorous moments of connection that people experience at their local convenience stores. The campaign shows how its 1,500 locations in 19 states power communities while helping to connect people. It’s the next evolution of the brand’s successfulPowered Locally platform and includes six :15 spots, two debuting in a few weeks during Super Bowl 56 in 20 Midwest regional markets.

Crosstown Rivals(premiering 2/13/22) 

Local Entertainment(premiering 2/13/22) 

CUE Health x Doner

Like COVID itself, at home testing company CUE is quick to adapt, putting together a spot in just eight days with Doner. Voiced by Gal Gadot, the ad positions the smart at home testing technology in conversation with a family’s other smart home devices – just another addition to the growing suite of at technologies that keep us safe, run more efficiently, and provide peace of mind. And while COVID is top of mind now, CUE promises that they’re just getting started.

How COVID Testing Brand CUE Put Together a Super Bowl Ad in 8 Days (AdAge)

Expedia x Anomaly

Ewan McGregor gives a convincing plug for the power of experiences over ‘stuff’

As the travel industry looks to continue to gain footing and recover from COVID-drivel losses, Expedia is leading the pack in its commitment to the Big Game with a spot created by Anomaly. With an emphasis on experiences over things, the spot aims to redefine the relationship between the platform and its customers, while challenging the expectations that travelers may have for Expedia and its sister brand, Vrbo.

‘Ewan McGregor and Expedia have Teamed Up to Give Away Free ‘Trips’ on Super Bowl Sunday’ (Forbes)

‘Why the 2022 Super Bowl Makes Sense for Brands’ (AdAge)

‘Can Super Bowl Ads Make Expedia Group the Nike of Travel?’ (AdWeek)

Groupon x Allison+Partners

Gronk is getting out of town… and opening his hope to one lucky winner for the experience  of the lifetime.

Allison+Partners led PR for Groupon’s “Party Like a Player” Super Bowl sweepstakes campaign featuring Rob Gronkowski that underscored the brand’s positioning as the go-to experience marketplace. The team secured coverage in USA Today, TMZ Sports, ABC Audio, Travel + Leisure and many more resulting in 3.7B impressions (and counting) in its first week. 

LikeMeat x 72andSunny

LikeMeat is celebrating the Big Game with a TikTok scavenger hunt, created by 72andSunny and Blue Hour Studios. To promote its plant-based Chick’n Wings product launch, LikeMeat has invited TikTok users to hunt for digital clues that crack a secret code. Those who unlock the code have a chance to win two free tickets to the Super Bowl as well as other LikeMeat-branded prizes.  It’s yet another example of brands going digital-first for the big day, eschewing traditional spots for lower-budget, higher impact activations to connect with their audiences.

Why a plant-based food company started the first TikTok scavenger hunt featuring Gronk just in time for the Super Bowl (Digiday)

Got Milk? x GALE

The milk industry is making a statement at this year’s Super Bowl – that what you’re seeing on the field is not the whole picture. Their spot, airing on the NFL Network and created by GALE, is an inclusive look at the power of women in sport, even (and especially) where they aren’t expected. Featuring women from across the Women’s Football Alliance, the tagline “Football is Football” encourages a broader look at the game and the powerful changemakers behind it.

NFL x 72andSunny

After topping the USA Today Ad Meter last year, 72andSunny + NFL are returning to the screens this year just before halftime with another spot that aims to capture the magic, legacy and power of the game. Featuring cutting edge puppetry and CGI technology from experts at Swaybox, the ad features legendary NFL talent in unexpected places and spaces – bringing the game right into viewers homes. Get ready to bring down the house.

NFL Super Bowl LVI Commercial || Behind The Scenes Film‘ (YouTube)

”They Will Be Blown Away’: NFL’s Next Step in  ‘Future-Proofing’ Audience Begins with a Super Bowl Ad’ (USA Today)

‘Behind the NFL’s Super Bowl Ad Plans, Which Include Puppetry and CGI’ (AdAge)

Polestar x Forsman & Bodenfors

In it’s first Super Bowl ad, Polestar, the high-end EV company with roots in Sweden, joined a spate of automakers – with a very different approach. The minimalist 30-second spot, executed by F&B, places a focus on what it doesn’t have – gimmicks, punchlines, scandals and distractions. It’s all about the future, driven by electric.

‘Swedish EV Startup Polestar Makes Super Bowl Debut with a “No Cliche” Approach’ (Ad Age)

Quest Oculus for Meta x Anomaly

In it’s first Super Bowl as the newly-rebranded Meta, Oculus Quest is doubling down on the metaverse, with a clear message to the audience – the metaverse is already here, and we’re waiting for you. The full spot, created by Anomaly and premiered on Good Morning America on Feb. 10, shows a metaverse in full swing – including a very-real post-game concert that will be headlined by the Foo Fighters. Its giving people a reason to visit the virtual reality world Meta is building – and pulling viewers into the future they are creating.

‘Inside Meta’s Super Bowl Commercial for the Metaverse’ (AdAge)

‘Meta’s Super Bowl Commerical Depicts Old Brand’s New Life in the Metaverse’ (AdAge)

Tillamook x 72andSunny

This #NationalCheddarDay (And Super Bowl night), it’s time to turn up the cheddar.

 

72andSunny created a shoppable, digital only music video, Chedderbration to mark National Cheddar Day coinciding with the Super Bowl. The multimedium campaign includes limited edition merch, unique cheddar-based recipes, and coupons accessible only through the Cheddarbration homepage.

Vroom x Anomaly

Vroom’s Super Bowl 2022 commercial sings the praises of a reliable broker – literally

Anomaly makes a return Super Bowl appearance with Vroom, the online car retailer who is literally singing the praises of having a reliable dealer on your side during the car selling process.  The 30 second spot again features high-tempo choreography from celebrity choreograper Mandy Moore.

‘Vroom Releases Super Bowl 56 Ad ‘Flake: The Musical” (AdAge)

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