The Rise of AI Avatars in Marketing and Advertising: Unleashing the Power of Personalization

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, marketing and advertising strategies are constantly evolving to capture the attention and engage with the ever-connected consumer. Enter the world of AI avatars. They are revolutionizing the way brands interact with their target audience. Today we’ll explore the concept of AI avatars, their benefits for marketing, and give some insights into the future of this exciting trend.

The Ghost in the Shell – So what is an AI Avatar?

AI avatars are virtual representations of individuals powered by artificial intelligence algorithms. These avatars are designed to replicate human-like characteristics and behavior, enabling them to interact with users through various digital channels. They can appear as realistic human models or animated characters, depending on the brand’s preference and target audience.

AI avatars utilize natural language processing, machine learning, and other AI technologies to understand user inputs and respond accordingly. These virtual entities can engage in conversations, answer queries, provide personalized recommendations, and even mimic human emotions. The advancement in AI technologies has made it possible for these avatars to deliver highly realistic and interactive experiences, blurring the line between humans and machines.

Personalization Re-invented: Some Benefits for Marketing

1. Enhanced Personalization.

One of the key advantages of using AI avatars in marketing is the ability to deliver highly personalized experiences to consumers. These avatars can collect and analyze vast amounts of user data, such as preferences, browsing behavior, and purchase history, to tailor recommendations and offers. By leveraging this information, brands can create targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with individual users, resulting in improved customer engagement and conversion rates.

2. 24/7 Availability.

Unlike human representatives, AI avatars can be available round the clock, providing uninterrupted support and assistance to customers. This ensures that brands can engage with their audience at any time, regardless of time zones or business hours. The constant availability of AI avatars helps build trust and loyalty among customers, as they can rely on the brand for immediate assistance whenever they need it.

3. Cost Efficiency.

Implementing AI avatars can lead to significant cost savings for businesses. Compared to hiring and training human representatives, AI avatars require less investment in terms of salaries, benefits, and training resources. Additionally, AI avatars can handle multiple customer interactions simultaneously, reducing the need for a large customer support team. This cost-efficient approach allows businesses to allocate resources to other crucial areas while maintaining a high level of customer service.

Where is this Trend Going in the Future?

So where’s it all headed. Here are some possible trends to keep an eye on:

1. Hyper-Personalization.

As AI technology continues to advance, AI avatars will become even more proficient at understanding and predicting consumer behavior. By leveraging big data and machine learning, AI avatars will deliver hyper-personalized experiences, providing customers with precisely tailored recommendations, content, and offers. This level of personalization will strengthen brand-customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.

2. Emotional Intelligence.

Future AI avatars will focus on developing emotional intelligence, enabling them to recognize and respond to human emotions more effectively. By analyzing voice tone, facial expressions, and contextual cues, AI avatars will adapt their responses accordingly, creating more empathetic and human-like interactions. This emotional connection will enhance customer satisfaction and deepen the overall user experience.

3. Augmented Reality Integration.

With the rise of augmented reality (AR) technology, AI avatars will likely integrate with AR platforms, allowing users to interact with virtual brand representatives in real-world settings. This immersive experience will provide a unique way for brands to showcase products, offer virtual try-ons, and engage with customers on a more tangible level. The combination of AI avatars and AR will unlock new marketing opportunities, creating memorable and interactive brand experiences.

In Sum – AI is Here to Stay

AI avatars have emerged as powerful tools in the marketing and advertising landscape, enabling brands to deliver personalized experiences, engage with customers 24/7, and optimize resource allocation. As technology continues to evolve, AI avatars will become more human-like, emotionally intelligent, and seamlessly integrated with emerging technologies like augmented reality. By embracing this trend, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and establish meaningful connections with their target audience, leading to long-term success in the digital era.

Everyone Is talking about AI these days. Are you? Is your brand?


The Power of Partnership

In today’s technology-driven world, brands in the smart devices and tech space have a unique opportunity to demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) and make a positive impact. While CSR initiatives are essential, partnering with like-minded organizations can amplify the effects and boost the brand’s reputation.

In this article, we explore the PR benefits of partnerships and present 5 best practices for brands in the smart devices and tech industry that want to showcase their commitment to CSR. To illustrate these practices, we will delve into three real-life case studies that highlight the significance of partnerships in creating meaningful change.

1. Enhanced Brand Image and Credibility – Collaborating with reputable organizations that share similar values can elevate a brand’s image and credibility in the smart devices and tech industry. By aligning with partners recognized for their social and environmental contributions, brands can showcase their commitment to making a difference beyond technology. This association builds trust, strengthens brand loyalty, and attracts socially conscious consumers who actively support responsible tech initiatives.

Case Study 1: Google and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Google partnered with WWF to create an augmented reality (AR) experience called “AR Gorillas” that aimed to raise awareness about endangered species and their habitats. Through this collaboration, Google utilized its AR technology expertise to engage users in an immersive experience while promoting the importance of wildlife conservation. The partnership not only enhanced Google’s brand image but also encouraged millions of users to learn and take action for the environment.

2. Increased Reach and Amplified Impact – Partnerships provide brands in the smart devices and tech space with the opportunity to extend their reach and make a more significant impact. By joining forces with other organizations, brands can tap into new audiences and leverage resources that would be challenging to obtain individually. This expanded reach allows CSR initiatives to gain more visibility, generate awareness, and drive substantial positive change.

Case Study 2: Microsoft and SolarAid – Microsoft collaborated with SolarAid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating the use of dangerous and expensive kerosene lamps in rural Africa. Through their partnership, Microsoft provided support to SolarAid’s mission of distributing solar-powered lights to communities without access to electricity. This collaboration empowered individuals, improved their quality of life, and significantly reduced carbon emissions. By leveraging Microsoft’s technological expertise, the partnership had a transformative impact on the lives of thousands of people.

3. Authentic Storytelling and Engaging Narratives – Effective storytelling plays a vital role in connecting with audiences on an emotional level. Partnerships offer brands in the smart devices and tech industry compelling narratives that engage consumers and stakeholders. By sharing the story of their collaboration and the positive change it brings, brands can inspire and mobilize their audience. Authentic storytelling rooted in meaningful partnerships enables brands to communicate their CSR efforts in a relatable and impactful way.

Case Study 3: Apple and (RED) – Apple partnered with (RED), an organization dedicated to fighting AIDS in Africa, to launch a special edition product line. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these products went directly to the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS programs. Through this partnership, Apple engaged its customers in the cause, raising awareness and funds to combat the epidemic. The collaboration not only allowed Apple to tell a compelling story but also demonstrated the brand’s commitment to addressing pressing global health challenges.

4. Mitigated Risks and Shared Accountability – Partnerships help brands in the smart devices and tech space mitigate risks associated with CSR initiatives. By collaborating with established organizations and industry leaders, brands can draw on their expertise to navigate challenges effectively. Shared accountability ensures that both parties are committed to achieving the desired social or environmental goals. Brands benefit from their partners’ knowledge and experience, minimizing risks and maximizing the effectiveness of their CSR initiatives.

5. Leveraging Stakeholder Engagement and Co-creation – Partnerships enable brands to engage stakeholders and involve them in co-creating sustainable solutions in the smart devices and tech industry. By working collaboratively with partners, brands tap into diverse perspectives, skills, and knowledge. This co-creation process fosters innovation and ensures that solutions developed are comprehensive and impactful. Engaging stakeholders helps brands build stronger relationships with customers, employees, and communities, further enhancing their CSR efforts.

Best Practices for Brands Demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility

To maximize the PR benefits of partnerships in the smart devices and tech industry, brands should consider the following best practices:

  1. Aligning Values: Seek partners whose values align closely with your CSR goals, ensuring a strong foundation for collaboration.
  2. Research and Due Diligence: Conduct thorough research on potential partners to verify their credibility, reputation, and impact, ensuring a mutually beneficial partnership.
  3. Setting Clear Objectives: Define clear objectives and outcomes for the partnership, ensuring alignment in vision and desired impact.
  4. Communication and Transparency: Maintain open communication channels with your partner and stakeholders, sharing progress, challenges, and success stories transparently.
  5. Measuring and Reporting Impact: Establish metrics and evaluation processes to measure the impact of your partnership initiatives, enabling effective and transparent communication of results.

To Sum it Up

Strategic partnerships offer significant PR benefits for brands in the smart devices and tech space demonstrating corporate social responsibility. By collaborating with the right partners, brands can enhance their image, extend their reach, engage stakeholders, and co-create sustainable solutions. To make a meaningful difference, prioritize aligning values, conducting due diligence, setting clear objectives, maintaining transparent communication, and measuring impact. Through these best practices, brands can drive positive change, build lasting connections with their audiences, and lead the way towards a more responsible and impactful tech industry.

That’s a win-win-win—for brands, for communities, and for a better world!


The Future is Electric

The plug-in vehicle industry is booming, with new models and technologies being released all the time. Here are some of the latest trends in the industry:

  • Increased range: Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are now available with ranges of over 300 miles, making them a viable option for even long-distance driving.
  • Lower prices: The cost of plug-in vehicles has been steadily decreasing, making them more affordable for consumers.
  • More charging options: There are now more public charging stations available, making it easier for plug-in vehicle owners to charge their cars.
  • Government incentives: Many governments offer incentives, such as tax breaks and rebates, to encourage people to buy plug-in vehicles.

These trends are making plug-in vehicles a more attractive option for consumers. As the technology continues to improve and the cost of ownership continues to decrease, we can expect to see even more plug-in vehicles on the road in the years to come.

In addition to plug-in vehicles, there are a number of other trends in the sustainable energy industry.

These include:

  • Increased use of renewable energy: Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are becoming more and more popular. This is due to a number of factors, including the decreasing cost of renewable energy technologies and the increasing awareness of climate change.
  • Improved energy efficiency: Energy efficiency is another important trend in the sustainable energy industry. This refers to the use of less energy to provide the same level of service. Energy efficiency can be achieved through a number of measures, such as using more efficient appliances and lighting, and weatherizing homes and businesses.
  • Demand-side management: Demand-side management is a strategy that involves shifting energy demand from peak periods to off-peak periods. This can be done by using energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and by using time-of-use rates. Demand-side management can help to reduce the strain on the electricity grid and lower energy costs.

These are just a few of the latest trends in the sustainable energy industry. As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, we can expect to see even more innovation and progress in this area.

Here are some of the exciting challenges that the sustainable energy industry faces:

  • The cost of renewable energy: Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are still relatively expensive compared to traditional fossil fuels. However, the cost of renewable energy is decreasing all the time, and it is expected to become more cost-competitive with fossil fuels in the future.
  • Intermittency of renewable energy: Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are intermittent, meaning that they do not produce electricity all the time. This can be a challenge for the electricity grid, which needs to be able to provide a steady supply of electricity at all times. However, there are a number of ways to address this challenge, such as using energy storage and demand-side management.
  • Public acceptance: There is still some public resistance to renewable energy, particularly in the form of wind turbines. This is due to a number of factors, including concerns about noise and visual impact. However, public acceptance of renewable energy is increasing as people become more aware of the benefits of these technologies.

Despite these challenges, the sustainable energy industry is making great progress. As the technology continues to improve and the cost of renewable energy decreases, we can expect to see even more adoption of these technologies in the years to come.

Suffice to say, it looks like we are up to challenge and –if we may – the future looks bright!


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Going Live – A Guide to Livestreaming Platforms for Cutting Edge Brands

Livestreaming has become an increasingly popular way for people to connect with audiences and share their content online. With so many different platforms available, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of some of the most popular livestreaming platforms.


Twitch is a livestreaming platform that was originally created for gamers but has since expanded to include content creators of all kinds. One of the biggest advantages of Twitch is its large and dedicated user base. If your content is gaming or esports related, Twitch is definitely the platform for you.


  • Dedicated user base of gamers and esports fans.
  • Integrated chat and emote features for audience interaction.
  • Flexible monetization options, including subscriptions, donations, and ads.
  • Built-in tools for moderation and community management.


  • Primarily focused on gaming and esports, so may not be the best fit for non-gaming content creators.
  • Can be difficult to grow an audience due to the platform’s saturation and competition.
  • Strict content moderation policies may limit the types of content that can be streamed.


YouTube Live

YouTube Live is a livestreaming feature within the larger YouTube platform. As one of the largest video sharing platforms in the world, YouTube Live offers a lot of potential for content creators.


  • Large and diverse user base with potential for viral reach.
  • Easy integration with other YouTube content.
  • Monetization options include ads, sponsorships, and merchandise.
  • Built-in tools for content discovery and optimization.


  • Limited interaction with audience compared to other platforms.
  • Strict content moderation policies may limit the types of content that can be streamed.
  • High competition from other creators may make it difficult to stand out.


Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a livestreaming feature within the larger Facebook platform. With over 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook Live offers a large and diverse audience for content creators.


  • Large and diverse user base with potential for viral reach.
  • Easy integration with other Facebook content.
  • Built-in tools for audience interaction and engagement.
  • Flexible monetization options, including ads, sponsorships, and donations.


  • Limited discoverability compared to other platforms.
  • May be difficult to grow an audience without an existing Facebook following.
  • Limited tools for content optimization and discovery.


Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a livestreaming feature within the larger Instagram platform. With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram Live offers a large and engaged audience for content creators.


  • Large and engaged user base with potential for viral reach.
  • Easy integration with other Instagram content.
  • Built-in tools for audience interaction and engagement.
  • Flexible monetization options, including sponsorships and donations.


  • Limited discoverability compared to other platforms.
  • May be difficult to grow an audience without an existing Instagram following.
  • Limited tools for content optimization and discovery.



Zoom is a video conferencing platform that also offers livestreaming capabilities. While not specifically designed for livestreaming, Zoom offers a lot of potential for businesses and organizations that want to host webinars, virtual events, or meetings.


  • Easy integration with other business and productivity tools.
  • Built-in tools for screen sharing, collaboration, and interactivity.
  • Advanced security and privacy features.
  • No audience size limits.


  • Not specifically designed for livestreaming, so may lack some features compared to other platforms.
  • Limited monetization options.
  • Limited discoverability compared to other platforms.


There are pros and cons to each livestreaming platform, and the best choice depends on your specific needs and goals as a content creator. Twitch is great for gaming and esports content, while YouTube Live offers potential for viral reach and diverse content. Facebook Live and Instagram Live offer large and engaged audiences, with built-in tools for audience interaction and engagement. Zoom is a great option for businesses and organizations that want to host virtual events or meetings.

When choosing a livestreaming platform, it’s important to consider factors such as audience, monetization options, discoverability, and content moderation policies. It’s also worth considering which platforms your target audience is most likely to use.

With so many options available, it’s worth exploring different platforms and experimenting with different formats and approaches to find what works best for you. While ultimately, the best platform for your livestreaming needs will depend on your specific goals and content, we wanted to highlight one of our favorites here:

TikTok Takes the Livestreaming Lead

TikTok is one of the platforms leading the way in this trend. Here are some of the benefits of livestream shopping on TikTok:

  1. Directly reach your audience: Livestream shopping on TikTok allows you to connect directly with your audience in real-time, providing a more personal and engaging experience. You can interact with viewers, answer their questions, and get instant feedback on your products.

  2. Increased sales: Livestream shopping has been shown to increase sales for businesses. With TikTok’s large user base, you have the potential to reach a large audience and convert them into customers.

  3. Creative freedom: TikTok is known for its creative and playful content, and livestream shopping is no exception. You can use filters, effects, and music to make your livestreams more engaging and fun.

  4. Collaborations: TikTok offers the opportunity for collaborations with other businesses or influencers, which can help increase your reach and credibility.

  5. Data and analytics: TikTok offers data and analytics tools to help you track engagement, views, and sales from your livestream shopping events. This can help you make data-driven decisions to improve your strategy and increase sales.

In summary, livestream shopping and the advanced e-commerce feature set on TikTok offers a unique and engaging way to connect with your audience, increase sales, and showcase your brand’s personality and creativity. By taking advantage of the platform’s features and tools, you can create a successful livestream shopping experience for your business.

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TikTok Livestreaming as Community Engagement – Our Tips and Tricks

This article is part 3 in a series on connecting your brand to your communities. Last time we looked at ad targeting and experience management as a way to calibrate your brand compass and use data to connect to your community.

Today we’ll cover livestreaming via social media – TikTok in particular – as a fun and high touch way to engage your community and bring them your brands offerings.

Why Go Live?

Livestream shopping is on the rise. With rising investments from Amazon, YouTube, and TikTok – the big platforms are betting on the ability to create unique and rare shopping experiences for customers. There are also a handful of platforms emerging to cover specialized categories – like clothing, shoes, collectibles, etc. – where even mega big-box retailers like Walmart are hosting live shopping events.

TikTok just recently launched livestream shopping in the United States. Now you can sell directly to customers through a store connected to your TikTok account. How it works: Your brand’s fans and followers are notified when you go live, and when they queue up the livestream, they will see a shop button at the bottom left of the screen. Here, your followers can peruse the items that you have up for sale, and you can feature specific deals and discounts and then, of course, provide a direct link to your sales page.

Brands would be smart to capitalize on this trend.

Upgrade your KOLs

A winning strategy on how to do this is to engage your KOLs and give them a new platform to connect to audiences. After you have found and connected to your community – see our previous post on targeting through platforms like our Adtarg here – you can upgrade your relationship with your KOLs by knighting them as potential live streamer sellers. Now when you begin to cultivate relationships, you can give them another option of how to engage with your brand. You can have the KOL feature your product on their own livestreaming account for exposure and then offer them an affiliate code where they can earn a commission and also provide a discount to their audience. Or, if you want to do your livestreaming in-house, you can hire KOLs with livestreaming experience to come be hosts on your own platform. This adds credibility to your brand. You can invite them as guests to talk about different products and trends. Treat it like you are creating a TV show or podcast! You can feature the products but not make them the center of attention and then later go in for the hard sale. Either way – by recruiting affiliate live streamers or by inviting them to talk to your audience – you create a win-win scenario for the KOL and your brand, giving you increased brand coverage by tapping into their audience in a fun, engaging and meaningful way. Plus you have a lot more control than just shipping out your products for reviews hoping that the KOL will get back to you or be favorable with their feedback. In others words, think of this as a great way to get close with your KOLs and build those close bonds.

Our Best Strategies for TikTok Livestreaming

1. Repurpose Content

Platforms like TikTok will save your livestream to your devices. One tip is to comb through the footage and cut clips from your favorite moments – maybe an unexpected comment or interaction with an audience member, or even a blooper. These make fun clips that you can post later as short video that both get a laugh as well as underscore your brand’s offerings.

2. The Hosts with the Most

Choosing a host is a key decision. This person will be the face of your brand on your channel. Best to find someone relatable to your community – someone your audience will identity with. You have a range of options here. It could be the product developer or designer themselves, the CEO or founder, or you can hire someone to represent your brand, a brand ambassador.

3. Spruce it up with a Digital Overlay

One way to look extra professional is to create a cstomized backdrop for your stream. Not only does this make for a cleaner presentation for your live stream but you can also do handy things like display prices right on the screen when viewers first log on – giving them an immediate impression of what you’re up to and hooking into their attention without them having to spend too much time figuring out the conversation. You can also get creative by creating different environments for your product suites – living rooms, kitchens, etc. – based on the theme of your brand. Here you can express the visual identity of your brand while still streaming on another platform like TikTok.

4. Be Authentic – Show Your Fans How the Sauce is Made

Another way to get your fans and community more invested in your brand is to bring them into YOUR world. You remember in our previous post we talked about the world of your brands story. Well, here you can literally bring them into your world – your physical store, the laboratory or production room of your company, your warehouse, etc. Many successful live streamers go live right from their own IRL shops and show you all their merchandise, right as it comes out of the box. This kind of “welcome into my world” shows a level of intimacy and authenticity that customers in your community crave.

5. Interact, Interact, Interact

By far the most powerful to engage your community is by having more in depth interactions with them. Livestreaming lets you easily talk in real time forging real bonds and connections with customers in the moment. You can also ask them questions to learn more about your community – consider this a kind of direct form of customer feedback or surveys. After all the best form of feedback is a live conversation.


TikTok livestreaming and live stream shopping are an exciting new trend that give you another opportunity for high touch engagement with your community. You can interact directly with people and build brand loyalty and you can also strengthen the bonds with community leaders by inviting them into the fun.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go live!

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Customer Targeting as Community Engagement


This article is part 2 in a series on connecting brand to your communities. Last time, we looked at affiliate marketing through the lens of community engagement for your brand. Today we’ll cover targeting your advertisements as a way of finding your community.

Customer Personas, Upgraded

The first question we need to answer is: Who are your customers – that is – who exactly is the community your brand wants to connect with?

Most entrepreneurs are familiar with customers personas at a basic level. Most people know them as descriptions of your target customer, including basic demographics (age, sex/gender, geographical location, education level, job title, income, etc.). What if we take a step further?

There are at least two kinds of customers – the ones you have and the ones you want.

The second is the domain of brand growth. If you are a rebranding your company, restructuring your offer, introducing a new product line or series of products – you are in the realm of brand growth. In reality, your brand should always be growing, and attempting to reach more and more of your target community. In this view, a target customer is always an aspiration, something to grow into – a potential or possibility. In other words, yesterday’s customer is not the challenge, you probably already know who you easily connect with – the real way to grow your brand is to find tomorrow’s customer.

So what is a customer persona really? A window into the mind and heart of a real human being you long to serve.

As we discussed in a previous post – a customer is a character in your brand’s story. And characters have an inner life, including:

  • What they want
  • What they need (underneath the want)
  • What they fear most
  • What their biggest dreams and aspirations are
  • Their sensory world: What they see, hear, smell, taste, feel on a daily basis
  • Who they listen to and respect
  • How they behave under stress, comfort
  • What persistent thoughts run through their mind

Essentially, a real customer persona, is an inner map of your customer’s experience. Doing this well requires creativity and empathy.

Ad Targeting and Experience Management is Your Brand’s Compass

Now that you have your goal in mind – you know your ideal customer, you have a clear and detailed picture of WHO your community really is, you have your map and you can set out on your quest. The search is on!

But what’s the best way to go about it? You need a powerful and accurate compass.

That’s where a data-driven targeting system – like our Adtarg system – comes into play.

With sophisticated targeted and customer experience management, you can find the most accurate and accessible method through comparative analysis of different business stages and affinity groups to optimize your reach. A good market listening system – like the eye and ears of your brand – monitors social channels in real time, tracks every mention of your brand, delivering valuable insights into how customers feel about your products and services, what their pain points are and what they would like to see in the future. It also allows you to track your competitors and trending content, giving you a comprehensive view of the market landscape, and allowing you to make smarter, data-driven decisions that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Enhancing your powerful brand storytelling, with things like Multi-Dimensional User Profiles, Group Segmentation Analysis, Market Material Recommendation, and Professional Diagnostic Reports, adds precision and accuracy to your quest. In other words, your brand story stays intact, and reaches the ears of people who want to hear it.

Summary: 3 Best Practices for Finding Your Brand Community

Now that we have combined deep psychological insights with sophisticated technology, a few pointers to take with you:

1. Make Time to Empathize with Your Customers

Spend time in this step. It’s important to really get into the world, mind, and heart of your ideal customers. This formulation stage will ensure you either have a clear navigational pathway ahead of you – clear waters and smooth sailing – or whether you set out into the dark forest, leading to frustration and confusion. Budget the time to do this first step justice.

2. Targeting is a Creative Art

View targeting and customer personas as creative process. Any good creative process is free from judgements, and even the wildest ideas can be entertained and lead to gold. Allow yourself to be surprised. Start from a place not knowing. Give up your assumptions and really get into the world of the customer. Most important to any creative endeavor: Have fun with it!

3. Left and Right Brain – Combine Art with Data + Science

Remember, even the most sophisticated technologies – AI based targeting systems included – need to be pointed in the right direction – towards your brand’s aspirations, your true ideal community. This is a creative act. Only you as the brand leader can determine where to point your vessel. When you are ready to begin your search, then good technology becomes crucial.

I mean, would you rather set out in a wooden sailboat on the wide ocean finding your way through the dark for months, or would you rather be in the Starship Enterprise, with its sophisticated and precise navigational control at the click of button?

Art and science together make for a powerful brand.

Of course, being a creative act, it’s always valuable to have someone guide you through the process.

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Affiliate Marketing as Community Engagement


Welcome to a new series on ways to engage your community. Here we’re going to focus on affiliate marketing as one way to engage your community. We’ll be looking at affiliate marketing through the lens of community engagement – meaningfully connecting your customers in a way that they actually want to be associated with your brand and, more importantly, get excited and are satisfied with being related to your brand. This is the holy grail of all marketing – to create a context where your customers seek you out and naturally want to come to you. How can we do that? Let’s take a look.

5 Ways To Best Engage Your Community Affiliate Marketing

As we covered in our previous post, affiliate marketing is a performance-based model that uses revenue sharing. Brands reward third-party publishers or affiliates when they successfully generate traffic, leads, or sales to the brand’s products or services. Spending in the United States increased from $5.4 billion in 2017 to $8.2 billion in 2022.

But what’s the best way to go about it? Here are some strategies for your brand to stand out as you build affiliates.

1. Get Related and Be Relatable

Gaining trusted and valuable affiliates is all about building relationships. Start by making a target list of the influencers and opinion leaders in your community. Ask: Who do my target customers trust? Who do they actually listen to? Next, begin to cultivate relationships with these people. Follow their channels, comment, like, DM and let you know how much you appreciate what they’re doing and the content they’re creating, show up to their events and livestreams – anything you can do to really connect. Start to view them as potential partners. Spend time learning how they think, feel, speak and act. In other words, the first step here is to find and begin to be in the community. The worst way to build a relationship is to ask for something or make a request right away. This is akin to walking in the office first thing in the morning and immediately talking about a project that is due. It turns people off. Start by getting related, as people, as members of the same community.

2. Be Authentic

Now that you found it, and created an opening, begin to spend time in the community – either in real life or in the digital space. Here, what you say and what you contribute to the conversation matters. People can easily tell the difference between when you really care about your product and brand and whether you just are out to make a buck. They can easily tell where you stand. Authenticity is about creating an inspiring possibility for everyone involved. So when engaging potential affiliates, look for the win-win. Start with sharing how passionate you are about your brand and your vision – the problem you are solving. Authenticity has the effect of moving, touching, and inspiring others. It makes them want to share what you are up to. That is the heart of all good marketing.

3. Do It With Integrity

Integrity is about keeping your promises – doing what you said you would, and doing it on time. Integrity is also about doing things as you know they should be done – that is being 100% rather than acquiescing over time to 65%. Set a high bar from the beginning. In practice, this means making a goal to get back to all your affiliates on time and let them know when you expect to hear back, when they can expect payment, what percentage, and so on. In other words, be clear and upfront about what potential partners can expect when choosing to do business with you. This will create a good experience where everyone is satisfied, and relationships will strengthen over time instead of evaporate quickly.

4. Be Generous

We all have competing commitments. One of the reasons why people may not follow through or pay attention is the incentive just isn’t important or valuable enough. Put yourself in the shoes of the KOL/influencer. They get many requests to work with various brands. Why should they rep yours? More importantly, why should they prioritize their partnership with you over other brands? Airtime and communications real estate is limited in our attention economy. One easy practice is to be generous. Offer incentives – a percentage of sales, bonuses, etc. – that make it worth their while. This makes it easy for potential partners to choose and keep choosing you. Of course, given the chance to work with comparable brands for the same return, there is another edge, another value you can offer. Which brings us to..

5. Be Up to Something Bigger

Once you have connections, and have done the work to build relationships, you will need to keep your new community inspired. One powerful way to do this is to share with them and continue to remind them of the “inspiring future” that you are creating together – in other words the bigger vision. It’s one thing to get excited about a new brand of cosmetics. It’s an entirely different and more energizing possibility to get connected to a cosmetics brand that sources ingredients sustainably and provides career development opportunities to young women in a developing country, for example. In the latter case, the “inspiring future” – the vision – is a word where we can look/feel good and take care of the environment, and where the most vulnerable in our global community can help meet their needs. Give your affiliates, influencers, a reason to want to connect, and feel good about associating with your brand.


Affiliate marketing should be viewed as yet another opportunity to strengthen your relationships with the communities your brand engages. There are plenty of ways to go about it – from low-liability and having it be an afterthought – to engaging fully, 100%, with integrity, and leading with purpose. The latter are ways of being that will not only fulfill orders but also leave everyone – the real life human beings – fulfilled in the process.

One last tip: Finding the right affiliates that are aligned with your brand can take a lot of energy if you go it alone. A smart way to go is using data-driven targeting analysis like our new Adtarg Compass+ system which builds a vertical labeling system for major categories, integrating multi-country sales, user reviews, media evaluation and other data that helps global companies see regional market opportunities and establish localized management benchmarks.

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4 Marketing Trends You Need to Implement in 2023

It’s 2023 – that means it’s out with the old marketing strategies and in with the new. Well, not exactly. Most to all of the marketing trends that made our 2023 list are not ground-breaking ideas you’ve never heard of (hopefully), but they are the strategies that will end up having some of the highest success rates for marketers this year – there’s no doubt about it in our minds.

For legal purposes, our lawyers have advised us to remind you that WBG or any of its affiliates    are not legally held responsible if you invest all of your company’s or personal life’s savings into one of the marketing trends mentioned below and lose all of it.

We are completely kidding; we don’t have lawyers – just a copywriter who makes terrible jokes. Anyways, let’s dive right into it and talk strategies for 2023.

User generated content & influencers

Influencer marketing really took off in 2022, but a lot of marketers question whether or not it’s worth the money. Well, thankfully, Harvard Business Review conducted a study at the end of 2022 and proved on average companies/brands found a 1% increase in influencer marketing spend led to an increase in engagement of 0.46%, suggesting that the strategy can in fact yield a positive ROI.

What’s even more interesting is HBR found the average firm in their dataset could have achieved a 16.6% increase in engagement simply by optimizing how they allocated their influencer marketing budgets.

So what exactly does it mean to optimize the way you allocate your influencer marketing budget? It means if you want to find success in the influencer market, you need to understand it better, just like any other marketing tool.

You don’t need to afford to hire a celebrity influencer with a million followers. In fact, micro-influencers often pack more punch because they are still considered ‘everyday’ people, and audiences are more likely to trust their opinions and recommendations.

Again, this form of social media marketing isn’t new to 2023, but it is becoming painfully evident that people want more authentic connections from brands, and word of mouth from influencers is a perfect way to promote those desired connections.

Improving the consumer experience

This may be our biggest and most important trend to follow for 2023. Consumers have always held the power to make or break brands, but now it’s more prominent than ever.

Being able to identify and improve consumer pain points throughout the customer journey is the easiest way to increase spending.

But how do we improve the consumer experience? A great way to start is by simply listening to what they have to say. VOC and Social Listening systems are some of the most helpful tools to find out more about your customer.

They can aid you in understanding what frustrates or appeals to your customers, what makes them give up during the purchasing process, and what they think of your brand overall.

By taking the necessary steps to start valuing your customer’s feedback, you can begin to return that value in the form of improved products and customer support, which ultimately builds brand loyalty.

Short Video Content

Video has been king for a while now – we all know that, but with the help of social media platforms and their algorithms, video is becoming not only the norm but a more tailored experience.

Audiences want to engage with relatable content to entertain them that they don’t have to actively seek out. Thanks to machine learning, viewers are now getting their own curated feed of personalized content that they can choose to engage or not engage with.

For content providers, this means two things. First, you need to provide value or entertainment before you try to sell your service or product. Viewers do not want to attend a timeshare meeting from the comfort of their homes. If you want potential consumers to engage, you must first give them what they want.

Secondly, content providers need to be ready to change up their content at a moment’s notice to serve a variety of audiences. This goes back to the idea of listening to what your consumer wants.

So remember, the human attention span has shrunk to that of a goldfish, which is a win for marketers since short-form videos can easily fit into your day-to-day marketing strategy thanks to little cost and convenience to make.

AI to better understand trends/behaviors

AI and machine learning are more powerful than ever and according to a study conducted by Razorfish, three-quarters of marketers are failing to implement behavioral data for targeted marketing. 

These new technologies are more accessible and reliable than ever, and yet few are utilizing them.

AI/machine learning is great because it helps you make more targeted advertisements and campaigns by better understanding your buyers behaviors, likes, and aversions. Having data that precisely defines consumer demographics makes upscaling easier than ever.

And if you haven’t made the connection yet, this helps with creating a more authentic connection between brand and buyer. Nobody wants to see ads, but viewing an ad that feels like it was created specifically for you is a surefire way to build loyalty and retention.

Stay ahead of your competitors

Staying up to date with the latest marketing trends is pivotal for any brand. We don’t only talk about these trends, but we follow them ourselves. If you’re interested in learning how we implement these marketing strategies go ahead and visit Adtarg.

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Story Architecture: Element #1: Your Brand is a Character

A powerful brand tells a powerful story. Companies that understand and utilize the fundamentals of storytelling create emotional experiences for their customers and build trust and connect with communities of real life people.

But what exactly makes a good story? Let’s take a look at some of the fundamental elements of stories.

It all begins with a character – a person — who starts out living in their comfortable world.  Every good story involves characters – the actual people involved – who have certain fears and desires; people who want something deep in their heart and struggle to pursue their goal against the obstacles.

Characters Have a Role

In the context of branding, there are 3 what we can call “main characters.” In reality there are dozens of characters in a brand’s story-including the people who supply raw materials for products, manufacture, right up to the person who delivers it to your door. Basically everyone involved in any of the business activity or product development is considered a minor character. But that is too vast a network and the roles are less central, so we’ll focus on the main cast of characters for now.

Main Character #1: The Company
These include the actual real-life human beings that make up the company. Some examples are: the founders, a visionary behind the business or product idea, CEO and other leadership who run the day to day business, and any other essential or public facing employees. The company forms the basis of the story – the real-life human actors and activity that the brand story builds upon.

Main Character #2: The Customer
These include the people currently and potentially out there in the world who the company wishes to connect with and sell to. This is the community of people who share a common challenge or need. They may already be organized into associations and interest groups—they may already know each other—or they may be mostly separate and unaffiliated.

Main Character #3: The Brand
The brand functions as a persona of your company, like an emergent property. It cannot exist without the company yet it is distinct. The brand is its own person – complete with desires, needs, fears, hopes and personality. It is the invention of good brand storytelling.

Characters Have a Type

In a good story, each character plays a particular role, and there are 6 basic character types.* They serve as the archetypes needed to make the story engaging and have forward motion.

  1. The Hero. The hero is the protagonist, the main character in your brand story. This is going to be the customer.
  2. The Villain. The foil to and opposite of the hero. These people will actively work against your customer to stop them from getting what they want.
  3. The Sidekick. The hero’s helper. They live to support the hero and help them to get what they want by being by their side. This could be your best friend who buys you a gift you didn’t even know you needed.
  4. The Mentor. The one who has the wisdom and ability to help the hero. Most often this is going to be your brand. The mentor finds the customer and gives them what they need to get what they want.
  5. The Tempter. Their job is to distract the hero from their goal. They create diversions and distracting conversations to knock your hero, your customer, off track. They create confusion.
  6. The Heart. The opposite of the tempter. They empathize with your hero and lead
  7. The Skeptic. They work to question your hero and sow doubt. They make your hero overthink, procrastinate, and fail to act on getting what they want.
  8. The Mind. The opposite of the skeptic. The mind supports your hero intellectually, and helps them think through considerations in a productive way and bust through doubt.

In the context of branding, your brand will likely assume the roles of the mentor, the sidekick, the heart, and the mind, depending on the place and time they encounter the customer.

Characters Have a Desire

Good, believable characters are driven by a strong desire. This works on two levels. They have something that they want, and they have something that they need.

The job of the brand is to supply what they need. Characters typically already know what they want. What they want is more hidden from them – it exists underneath the want. E.g. I know I want to feel better and be healthy. I do not yet know that I need a new probiotic health drink in order to feel better and be healthy. (Note: If I do already know I need the new health drink, then the story is complete, and the job of branding has already been accomplished – the customer is seeking you and wants to make a purchase.)

So the real job is to connect the NEED and the WANT together in the mind of the customer. When they make that connection in their mind, they will be willing to connect with you, and invite you to help them – sell to them.

Characters Have a Personality

It’s not enough for characters to play a role. Strong characters are also unique individuals – they have a personality, style, tone, voice, and look. It’s the expression of the role. When you combine the role with the personality, your brand becomes unique and starts to stand out with the customer. Connection becomes natural and easy. E.g. Your brand as a mentor could be a Gandalf the Great type (they have the secret knowledge, and they will be humorous and sly and confident in how they give it to you slowly over time. Or, a mentor could be more of a mad scientist – emerging from the lab with advanced technology, and constantly informing you and directly teaching you proudly about it’s benefits.


Viewing your company, customer, and brand as characters in a story makes possible powerful storytelling. And customers love a good story – even better, they love to be INVOLVED IN and playing an good role good a story!

Next up in Part 2, we will take a look at Setting, building the World where the brand story takes place.




*Charles Euchner:

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How to Market Your Brand in the Virtual Reality


How to Market Your Brand in the Virtual Reality

In 1972, the world was introduced to video games with Atari’s Pong – a simple yet revolutionary game that involved two paddles (they were just horizontal lines) moving back and forth to hit a ball. Now, only in the span of 50 years, we have unprecedented graphics, the ability to play online withone another across the globe, and are on the precipice of making virtual reality a household commodity.

Virtual and augmented reality will have a large presence in our future; there is no doubt about that. It’s expected to hit a global market size of $296.9 billion in 2024. This is almost ten times the $30.7 billion market size registered in 2021. That’s why it’s important from a marketing perspective to be an early adopter and understand how to market in the virtual space.

In this post, we’ll highlight ways brands are already implementing virtual reality in their own marketing efforts and ways we think will be effective marketing methods in the future. We’re particularly going to focus on how virtual reality can offer unique product experiences, improve customer service, enhance
online events, and give marketers endless possibilities for creative advertising.

Virtually Experience Products 

Virtual reality will take the old adage try before you buy to a whole different level. There are already forward-thinking companies, like IKEA, implementing this marketing tactic that gives consumers unique
experiences and insights into products they would never have been able to test out and experience in
their own home before. The possibilities are endless for brands of any industry to allow potential consumers to try out their products in inventive ways.

Imagine this, you’ve picked a vacation destination for you and your loved one(s), and all that’s left now is to book the hotel. It’s happened to all of us at one point or another when we’ve booked a hotel room, and it wasn’t exactly what we were promised, or maybe the photos gave a false perspective on the size of the room. With VR, you can virtually tour any hotel, apartment, or home before being met with any unexpected surprises.

Virtual reality lets you showcase your product in a new light that stands apart from your competitors. By allowing potential customers to interact with your product, you can create a memorable experience that will stay with them when they are ready to purchase.

Improve Customer Experience

Over the last few years, there has been a major shift in power for customers, which has created a customer-centric marketplace. Brands have learned to start listening and putting the customers’ needs first, which, we know especially well, ultimately drives brand, development and service improvements for an unbeatable customer experience.

Already, brands like Gucci and Etsy have set up virtual storefronts people can interact with. This allows them to not only introduce their products to new and younger audiences, but also tell their brand story in a unique and fun way that resonates with customers. With the help of virtual reality, memorable customer journeys can become more frequent and, ultimately, the norm.

Picture one day virtually walking into a store that has everything and more than its brick-and-mortar counterpart without having to leave the convenience of your home. You can interact with a variety of products and services in an unlimited amount of imaginative ways – and if you need help, you can ask for a virtual assistant (a real-life worker) at any time to offer their expertise. This is just one of many ways the customer experience can be improved by virtual reality, and we’re sure in the near future, brands will adopt even more inventive & creative ways to create a more seamless customer experience.

Online Events

As it’s becoming a more common occurrence to connect with people, places, and brands online, it only makes sense for virtual events to become the next big thing in the virtual space. You’ve probably already attended a virtual event at some point of time during the height of the pandemic and noticed the sense of community is still there as a traditional inperson event would possess.

A great example of a successful online event, which showed the massive opportunity for virtual concerts, was Travis Scott debuting a new song of his on Fortnite that was attended by over 12 million people. Since then, several artists like Foo Fighters, Megan Thee Stallion, and Billie Eilish have started hosting virtual concerts with great success.

It’s important to note that you or your brand don’t need to be rock stars to successfully host a virtual reality event. If you look on any of the event-sharing apps, like Eventbrite, and search for virtual reality events, you will find pages of interesting things going on in the virtual space, like immersive language exchanges, sculpting classes, and much more. 

Maybe you’re a fashion brand that wants to host a virtual runway show or an automotive brand that virtually shows people how to fix their car, you can even be an architecture firm showcasing wonky building designs – the moral of the story is as long as you can offer people a unique, memorable experience where they can take away something from it, you’ve successfully built brand awareness.

Creative, Fun Advertising

We believe this is the most important aspect when approaching marketing in the virtual space. People are putting on their VR goggles to escape their troubles and have fun, not experience the same mundane everyday occurrences such as traditional advertisements. Spammy ads like pop-up ads will not work in the virtual space – you’re going to have to get more creative than that, but that shouldn’t be too hard in a world where the possibilities are endless.

Maybe you want prospective customers to go on an adventure and slay a dragon or go on a scavenger hunt through different periods of time for a 20% off coupon to your store.

Honestly, no one can predict what virtual reality will truly look like in the future, but like the internet – most people who adopt future technologies early on put themselves in advantageous positions and reap the benefits with financial success.

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