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Virtual KOL - low cost, high return?

Most of the advertisers use celebrities, influencers or KOLs as a marketing tactic and this way has been popular for many years. As technologies such as AI and VR are very mature now, some avant-garde brands have begun to seek for "different" internet celebrities. Virtual Influencers have thus emerged because they can easily change their styles to conform to the images of various brands, and become the new favourites of the European and British advertising industry by their freshness.


What is Virtual Influencers?

In short, virtual influencer is a digital character that was created using computer graphics software. This character is then given a personality and will at all times act on social media platforms as if he/she is the influencer.


Virtual KOLs have no difference from traditional KOLs, with outstanding appearance, social media accounts and numerous followers. They will also share daily life, beauty photos and trends on social media. The only difference is that they are not real people, but "virtual characters" created by AI.


Virtual KOLs have been recruited by major international brands and even invited to promote their brands. What are the advantages of virtual KOLs that have attracted many international brands?

#1: The virtual KOL is created by AI. Its appearance, style, and even personality can be easily changed by the creator. It means that the virtual KOL can easily change its style to conform to the image of various brands. Compared with traditional real KOLs, they have a fixed style, which may not fit the image required by each brand.

#2: Virtual KOLs are no different from real people in appearance and personality. They are controlled by AI, able to memorise the script perfectly, meet the requirements from clients, and prevent any accidents. At the same time, they do not need to take vacations and can make adjustments at any time to meet the needs of the brand.

#3: Virtual KOLs can easily change the shape, they will not age, and can maintain a good figure without fitness. It is even possible to integrate the fashion beauty indicators possessed by top model into virtual characters, which can create characteristics that quickly attract the audience's attention.

It can be seen that virtual KOLs are more flexible than real KOLs, and can enter the market with a fresh image, which is a good way of "low cost, high return".


The following lists several internationally renowned virtual KOLs, as well as examples of using virtual KOLs for promotion in Hong Kong.


Miquela Sousa (Lil Miquela)

The original virtual KOL, created by Brud, an AI technology company in Silicon Valley, has 3 million followers on Instagram. She has appeared in Vogue fashion magazine, as well as advertising for Calvin Klein with American supermodel Bella Hadid.



Noonoouri

With nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram, she once appeared on the cover of the Chinese version of "VOUGE ME". The international beauty brand Dior also cooperate with Noonouri to promote its cosmetics.




GU's first virtual model "YU"

Japanese fashion brand wants to make the overall outfit more authentic, GU randomly selected 200 Japanese women, measured each of their body shapes, and then integrated the average data to create GU's first virtual model "YU".


Hong Kong Ballet x doll artist Ning Lau

The Hong Kong Ballet also took advantage of the craze of virtual KOLs and crossover with doll artist Ning Lau to launch new virtual promotion ambassadors - Holly, Kay and Beatrice. They are active on social media platforms to share information about dance companies and ballet to the public.





How can virtual KOL be used for promotion?

#1: "Virtual" industry - virtual banking, virtual currency, VR game consoles, etc. These industries are also products of using technology to turn banking services, real currency, and game consoles into virtual worlds. Virtual KOLs are the same, using technology to evolve real KOLs into virtual characters. Virtual KOLs are closely fitting the image of the virtual brand, complementing each other, and amplifying the effect of publicity.

#2: Beauty or fashion - Virtual KOLs are not affected by the hardware of real people. They can adjust their appearance or dress according to brand characteristics, and they can also be matched with different makeup. For beauty and fashion brands, they only need to hire a virtual KOL to match a variety of clothes or makeup, showing a variety of phenomena. In particular, some newly-started fashion shop owners (IG shops) can hire virtual KOLs as shop models. Not only can you save money on hiring multiple models to show different styles, you can also use virtual KOLs to increase topicality, which is a good choice for entrepreneurs.


What is the difference between virtual KOLs and traditional brand mascots?











Virtual KOL

Number of endorsement brands: not limited by brand, can promote different companies

Appearance characteristics: very similar to real people

Social media accounts: Have a social media account and share daily life


Brand mascot

Number of endorsement brands: most of them only represent one company and are the mascot of the exclusive company

Appearance features: mostly based on cartoons

Social media accounts: Some popular mascots also have social media accounts, but the content is mostly on promoting their companies

 

Today, the reality and the virtual world influence each other, and they have even become one. Real people walk into the virtual world to take risks and play games. Virtual character that are very similar to real people have also entered our real world and have gained worldwide attention and enthusiasm. What spark will virtual KOLs bring to the future? Their influence in digital marketing and social media is also worthy of our attention.


To find out more about the promotion plan of celebrity, influencer or KOL, you can go to "PR Marketing" to learn more!

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