One of the first things clients ask us when they launch a campaign through The Cirqle platform is how can we help them identify and recruit the best and most affluent influencers for their brand. Of course, this may seem easy from the outset, but the perils of the market have proven otherwise all too often. At best, brands can now only hope to steer opinions that consumers have about them - and to do so, they turn to an ever expanding marketing stack of technology services and media companies. At a time when many are blocking traditional banner ads or skipping TV commercials (Netflix), influencers become the pinnacle of leading conversations with the world.
In South Korea, over 2 trillion South Korean won (KRW, or $2.4 billion USD) was spent on advertising on mobile platforms last year, surpassing that of advertising on cable TV - 1.8 trillion KRW - for the first time. While Instagram influencers in the US charge up to $100,000 USD for a sponsored post, industry insiders say brands in South Korea pay from 100,000 KRW to more than 2 million KRW for a single social media post, depending on the loyalty of the person’s followers.
Beauty and fashion brands are at the forefront of using social media influencers who have millions of followers. We sat down with Jude Kim, who runs Global Business Development at The SMC in Seoul, Korea and serves clients like Google and eBay, and asked him for his vision regarding the Asian (kol/influencer) market.
Transparency is now coming faster than ever, to all industries, including the industry of influencer marketing. We took a moment to sit down with one of our closest partners in the midst of the hustle and bustle that is New York City to talk through some of the latest developments blockchain may bring to the influencer industry.
What follows is a unique interview with experienced digital strategist and Vice-President Influencer Marketing at MMC Alayna Palgon to hear her take on this evolving frontier.
We’re excited to announce the launch of Content approval, a new integration to help you identify what pieces of content influencers will share on their socials and you'll have the ability to give in-dashboard feedback.
Many of our clients have indicated the need for looking into content; and given today's increasingly changing (legal) environment in terms of content restrictions and opportunities we saw this feature as an integral part of our product offering.
Our content approval tool provides insight into the content that influencers will push and will enable you to create, refine, and optimize your content (strategy) effortlessly. The platform also provides you with the ability to give feedback to our influencers in a live-chat room through a structured process.
To get started, login to your dashboard using our new, streamlined signup and login process. During your campaign, content should populate in the content panel within the designated timeframe.
On January 22nd of this year we officially opened our office in Xintiandi area in Shanghai. Xintiandi is considered one of the most beautiful areas of Shanghai, surrounded by parks, art galleries, restaurants and shopping malls. Many creative agencies have established their office in this part of the city over the course of the past year and we are beyond excited to be part of the Naked Hub community in China. The Naked Hub is a vibrant community of over 9000 professionals with over 30 locations across Asia. Their footprint enables our team to represent the Cirqle across the entire of Asia.
One of the values we live by here at The Cirqle is shipping beautiful product(s). This encapsulates our belief that shipping is just the beginning; that getting features in customers’ hands is the quickest way to get feedback so we can continue to iterate to drive our vision.
While it’s easy to get excited about shipping big, shiny new things – last year we launched a whole ton of those (read the post here) – there’s also lots of value in shipping regular, smaller improvements and features too. They may not necessarily justify a big splashy announcement, but smaller improvements can add up to a significant impact.
We’ve already shipped over 8 big new features and updates this year. We still have a shiny thing or two up our sleeve, of course, but here are some of the highlights of what we’ve shipped so far in the first half of 2017.
iPhone & Android App
Jup, you read it right. We shipped both an iPhone and Android app. Our team worked around the clock to make it happen. Influencers now have the ability to track their growth across all their social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr and Google Analytics), join campaigns in a more efficient and convenient way and get access to campaigns in their nearby location.
Through the app, our clients now have the unique ability to target influencers based on their location. Think location-based event activations, in-store promo's or exclusive launches. Get in touch to learn more about it and to join our private beta.
We’re always working to make it easier for you to support your customers at scale, so that as your business grows, The Cirqle grows with you.
Traditionally, there's a lot of hand-holding involved in running influencer campaigns. We’ve added several new features that make it easier to for agencies to run campaigns across different account managers, countries and brands in one comprehensive overview.
Through this update, we enable agencies to effectively scale campaigns with influencers across multiple account managers.
- Global Team and Client Logins
Assign campaigns to team members who can monitor, manage and share campaign status with their clients directly, in one safe environment..
- Full Feature Access
Agencies receive full access to all systems, tools and features of The Cirqle and are free to share data reports with their clients.
- 24/7 Support
A team of dedicated account managers help assist agencies with running campaigns.
- Webinars and training
Access to webinars, training sessions and in-house education programs.
Location-Based Influencer Campaigns
Through Cirqle, clients now have the ability to trigger geo-based campaigns with the goal to drive footfall and promote influencer store visits. Influencers curated for your campaign are allowed to join when they are within the vicinity of one of your stores.
Selected influencers can view the tasks they have to do in return for the reward mentioned in the brief. E.g. receive a Scotch & Soda outfit and $500,- cash in return for in-store / product exposure on Instagram.
API-integration and CSV download
For those building on our platform, we launched an API our clients can tap into so everything you need to build on our platform is in one accessible place. Plus, we added some new features to automatically run CSV exports of your data-reporting so you're able to integrate into e-commerce solutions such as Custora.
Integrated Shipping Tracking
If you need to ship products to influencers in your program - millions of deliveries of all shapes and sizes are now tracked across all major delivery providers. This way, products that are send out for shipping to your influencers are auto-tracked and you're updated of the process along the way.
Our customer support team is on hand by phone and email to answer any questions that your or your influencers may have.
Track Social Performance, Review Content & Monitor Competition
Built-in best practices for assignment creation and a fully automated workflow mean better content for both influencers and marketers. Through our content vault, you're able to pre-approve content with the click of a button across all the influencers accepted into your program.
Amplify your best content at the most opportune time, by tapping into the world’s most powerful network of content creators and influencers.
As the founder of The Cirqle, a startup that enables brands, communities and businesses to launch influencer marketing campaigns, I’ve watched the days of exclusive press releases/events disappear. The Internet has changed the inception process. In 2017/2018 companies seed products through influencers, leak "exclusives" to reporters, bloggers, and consumers, live-stream launch events globally and reward brand advocates with pre-access. The velocity of the news cycle and the uprise of social media makes launching a new product far easier in some ways—and more difficult in others.
When high-end luxury menswear label Salle Privee approached us for a collaboration we were thrilled. Key the words ‘classic menswear’ into Google and you’re immediately confronted with a wall of high resolution, two-buttoned, one-hand-in-pocket sprezzatura. It’s a distinguished look that continues to endure.
Salle Privée is a new label committed to the classics, freshly launched online. Founded by Patrick Munsters, the creator of Scotch & Soda, the brand speaks to those who seek and respect the virtues of timeless menswear. With more than 20 years of experience in the fashion industry, Munsters has seen every trend come and go, and then come back around again. ‘My idea was to step out of what is fashionable,’ he says.
In our influencer campaign, we tried to connect the brand to individuals that captured the brand's essence across multiple age groups. Please find a few snapshots below:
Marketers love influencer marketing because it takes the brand out of the equation. Instead of filtering the message through a brand’s lens, the influencer makes the product or service his own. We've seen three challenges that will push more brands, agencies and institutions towards the influencer marketing realm:
1. The Rise of Ad Blockers
In the US, more than 32% (Europe > 20%) of all internet users have an Ad Blocker installed. Making online advertising increasingly more inefficient. At the same time, 92% of consumers trust user-generated content and word-of-mouth more than advertising and 74% rely on social network to help guide a purchase (eMarketer).
2. There's a push towards influencer marketing, but it's a time-consuming and expensive ordeal.
- Finding the right influencers for your target audience on the right platform;
- Managing contacts with influencers and negotiating contracts cross-state/country;
- Accurately measuring the effectiveness of the content;
- Managing workflow around influencer marketing solutions;
3. Fragmented landscape
Brands have to contact numerous different types of agencies, tech companies and services to run simple, straightforward campaigns. There’s no efficient full suite solution for running influencer marketing campaigns across different countries.
Influencer marketing, why?
The broader digital advertising industry represents a $14 billion revenue opportunity and is expected to see double-digit growth over the next five year (Forbes). With 84% of brands planning to launch an influencer marketing campaign in the next 12 months, the interest in influencer marketing continues to grow as brands seek the most effective way to target their core audience.
If social influencers didn’t add value to an organization, 84 percent of marketers would look elsewhere for their campaigns.
We're extremely proud to be announcing that today we're launching a private-beta for our mobile app (iOS and Android). Our app will help brands find global influencers faster (and vice-versa) and with greater speed/accuracy at a fraction of the cost.
Beyond that, we're introducing a brand new feature called Geo-campaigns, enabling brands to target influencers within a certain proximity to i) invite them to enter their store (for a free goodie) ii) host an event or iii) firestart an army of influencers to promote a specific service.
The possibilities are endless and we're open up to receive ideas you may have by e-mailing them directly to [email protected] You can now officially subscribe to our Beta-program by clicking the button below.
As you know, The Cirqle offers a cutting edge platform to identify the social influencers who will resonate with your audience and deliver the most meaningful engagements.
Our invite-only network is comprised of over 9,000 leading social influencer accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Facebook, who are required to be in the top 15% of engagement on each platform to join.
They currently reach over 5 billion followers. Additional strengths of our platform are:
- Rapid campaign turnaround time
- Campaigns at a fraction of the cost of traditional PR
- Powerful analytics to justify your next Influencer campaign
- Cut workflow management by 5x
- Increase campaign throughput by 8x
Now we've entered the new year, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on what has been an incredible year for The Cirqle, and most importantly, for our customers. We’re proud of how we’ve evolved this past year, and look forward to keeping up the pace in 2017.
Here’s a quick look back.
EXCITING NEW FEATURES
We launched and introduced one of our hallmark products from scratch: the Brand Dashboard. allowing brands to recruit and select the right influencers for their campaign, measure the impact of their campaign in real-time and create and launch campaigns over 50 countries with the flick of a switch.
We launched Cirqle Pulse, allowing brands and agencies to quickly scan the social landscape for who's writing about their brand, and their competition.
We introduced a feature called Cirqle Radar, a quick and effective tool to add your competition into one overview to track their every move, and benchmark your performance against them.
As extension to our brand dashboard, we quickly discovered there was an opportunity for agencies to jump into the influencer marketing space. The Agency Dashboard allows PR companies and umbrella brands to manage campaigns across different markets, different account managers and different stages.
We collaborated with key strategic partners in Europe and the United States, including Azione PR and the Publicis Group. Partners who've been able to leverage our tech to help run their influencer marketing efforts.
We introduced Demographics data for influencers, brands and agencies. Allowing them to discover the distribution of their follower base, including age, gender, income, city, country and category of interest data. This features helps answer the question: when I work with an influencer from New York, do I actually target an audience in New York?
Brand Profiles allow brands to track their own social performance across their key social channels in one comprehensive overview.
OUR NEW NYC HEADQUARTERS
We completed the move into a beautiful new NYC HQ on Broadway. Subsequently expanding the team overseas and driving sales and PR from the beautiful city of New York.
IMPACTFUL CAMPAIGNS AND INITIATIVES
We managed to launch campaigns that enabled some of the world's biggest brands and retailers create unique content, awareness and drive sales. Some of the featured work:
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday feature for Century 21 Stores including over a dozen of key influencers in the cosmopolitan hub of New York.
We subsequently launched two campaigns per month over a period of 180 days for Scotch & Soda, one of the coolest underground fashion brands. Enabling them to drive traffic to their stores in the Netherlands and Germany.
For their Here Be Dragons campaign, Belstaff leveraged our technology to recruit over 20 influencers in the United Kingdom to help promote their latest campaign.
In a major effort to get the word out in Europe about their classic boots in the #MyClassicStyle campaign, Ugg Australia worked through the platform to find key influencers to share their personal stories about the UGG boots.
Notable other campaigns included Ford, Oliver Sweeney, Under Armour, Avenue 32, Shift, Samsung, Qlippie and the Municipality of Eindhoven.
The Dutch Government selected The Cirqle as one of eight startups eligible for the Partners in Business grant, specifically aimed at start- and scale-ups focussed on New York and the US market and providing support in finding, hiring and retaining talent, providing office space, swift visa applications and access to investors.
WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2017
We have several key product launches lined up for 2017 that will make it even easier for brands to find their customers, both on- and offline.
In addition, a number of partnerships will be announced and we will quadruple the size of our team over 2017 to cover even more markets.
It’s been a landmark year for The Cirqle, and we are exceptionally grateful for your ongoing support. We’re excited for what’s to come in 2017 and to continue to help bring our customers’ inspiring ideas to the world.
Thank you for making 2016 so extraordinary.
The name House of Eléonore finds its origin in an old story which goes back to the 12th century, the time when Eleonor from Aquitaine lived. Eleonor was a quite stubborn and modern woman for her time. For example she took part in the battlefield and divorced her husband. Furthermore she was yet one of the most powerful and desirable woman at that time. The name House of Eléonore therefore stands for the strength, personality and style of every unique woman.
Symbolized with the Morpho Helenor butterfly, House of Eléonore’s first collection is inspired by nature, the tropical island of Papua New Guinea. Elegant shapes based on birds, plants and other objects from nature combined with bright sparkly colored diamonds take place in the first collection called “bird of paradise” (text credits: joellawassink.com).
The brand reached out to The Cirqle to help them promote their shop-in-shop concept in De Bijenkorf. Below features two influencers who promoted the brand.
Joella Wassink x House of Eleonore and de Bijenkorf
Elegant, honest and personal. Those are the words that pop into my mind when thinking about House of Eléonore. Last weekend I was invited to an amazing event hosted by House of Eléonore in their shop-in-shop located in De Bijenkorf Rotterdam.
Just like Sushi x House of Eleonore and de Bijenkorf
When it comes to diamonds we all know a bit about it but in the end we also know nothing. During my workshop with House of Eléonore I got introduced how the world of diamonds and high quality jewellery industry works. Often people get quite surprised by the high prices of these jewelry pieces but this all goes back to the way gold and diamonds need to be found in our nature. The places where all the raw materials for these jewelery pieces are found many people are forced to work in gold mines everyday. Nature gets destroyed and often work conditions are often inhuman in these mines. Luckily House of Eléonore only works with limited mines in one area and takes their responsibility by selling only jewelry made out of 18K fair trade gold.
While online retail used to be focused on Cyber Monday, this is not about one day of online shopping anymore. As a result, retailers and delivery companies have been gearing up for the earlier kickoff to the online holiday shopping season, instead of when people return to the office after the long Thanksgiving weekend.
Century 21 kicked off the weekend with influencers covering some of their best deals they found on the ecommerce site through a series of blogpost. Five of those blogposts are featured below.
Nef & Nat are the sister duo behind the internationally acclaimed fashion turned lifestyle blog "TwinFashion" and shared this beautiful editorial piece for Avenue 32.
Born and raised in Greece, the sisters started blogging as a hobby back in early 2011, which very quickly turned into a full-time profession. After 5 years in the industry and collaborations with a wide range of international corporations, including Louis Vuitton, Hogan, H&M, L'Oreal Paris, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Pinko, Nicholas Kirkwood, Intimissimi, Nike, Express and Qatar Airways, Nefeli & Natalia launched a new evolved version of their website in May 2016, along with a brand new name: BY NEF & NAT.
Please see below what they did for our client Avenue 32.
Introducing: Cirqle Radar - benchmark your competition
You can now build, analyze and measure your social landscape by adding the social handles of your competitors to your dashboard.
Navigate to competitor landscape
In the dropdown in the top left corner, navigate to the competitor overview.
Start by adding your own Instagram handle
Highlighted in grey, you can benchmark your own performance vs. your competitors here.
Analyze and measure your competition
We'll be tracking their performance over the past 30 days for you.
She does it again. Adriana Gastelum vividly describes in both English and Spanish what Qlippie, one of the latest booming startups from Europe, brings to the table as GoPro competitor. Priced affordable, Adriana illustrates how useful Qlippie is for her daily life being an influencer:
Thanks to three rainy weeks, I’ve spent several coffee afternoons thinking about what we used to do before Internet went into our life. The idea of boredom was pretty different back then, you might dedicate your entire day to read a book, call a friend by phone (when calls were super expensive, too) or record your favorite songs in a cassette while praying for the radio announcer to not speak in the middle of your song. When I finally achieved it and filled a whole tape with my favorite songs, I would write some cheesy name with liquid paper on it and shared it to the boy I liked. And that was how we shared our feelings digitally.
Back to the present, I think there should be a word to define “faster than an instant” to describe how quickly the information goes by today. With that, not only our fingers have trained to write in small screens with even more ridiculously smaller keyboards (deep down I knew my typing classes in middle high school were obsolete), but now we are more and more open to share our daily life, whether you own a blog and share with your readers, or your most loyal followers are your mom, family and friends.
In collaboration with Qlippie Live, I share with you one of the things I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed to do before the Internet changed my life: a quick but pleasant visit to an art gallery. In this occasion, and visiting it for the third time this month, the Philippe Halsman exhibition at CaixaForum Barcelona. An exhibition that, besides showing a great talent in photography, predicted the importance and influence that technology would have on art.
Generally, folks choose between three popular options when buying a used car. The most common would be to head over to your local used car dealership where there is a chance you might get screwed over on financing or end up with a lemon. Then there’s Craigslist, as you know I have been very familiar with. This option can be sketchy if you’re clueless.
You might meet up with someone untrustworthy that “forgets” to tell you the issues about the car. You might also get a chance to test drive and purchase a potentially stolen vehicle. Worst of all, there is a high-risk chance of buying a lemon, which actually happened to me in my latest Will It Flip project.
You’ll have to wait for that story.
Lastly, there is Carmax. This is a popular one. The place has warranties, no-haggle pricing, and pretty good customer service. But all three of those options have one big inconvenience: You’re going to spend a good chunk of your day to see the car.
What if I told you there is a much better and easier way? Shift is a new used car buying service that is unlike any other I’ve experienced. I will break down for you. I was told that I could test-drive any used car I desired on their site. Of course to me this meant either finding the most expensive car, one with the most horsepower, or both.
Now what’s game-changing about booking a drive through Shift.com is that you can actually choose the meeting location of your test drive. That means you can summon the car you’re interested in to your house, your job, your ex’s place, or anywhere you want.
Aside from the obvious choice of choosing the Hellcat, I figured it would make sense to have the car delivered to an inconvenient location; some random beach in Malibu close to Neptune’s Net.
Within minutes of completing the booking form, I received a call from a real life person from Shift.com verifying and confirming my drive. This is also the part where they would ask to verify your credit score. This is to make sure you can actually afford the car you booked and you’re not just some kid like myself who wants to take some fancy car out for a drive. Following this call, I received an email confirming the date, time, location, and the phone number of the delivery guy or as they call it, “car enthusiast”, who will be delivering the car to you, my guy’s name was Colston.
Upon first browsing their current stock, I narrowed my choices down between a 911 Carrera S or a Hellcat Challenger, I went with the latter since I’ve actually never driven a muscle car before and also because, c’mon man, Hellcat.
When UGG approached us to find key influencers across Europe, our minds went racing and brought us to the Lovely Roos-Anne van Dorsten from high-end fashion blog moderosa.com.
As Fall has finally settled in, now is more the time than ever to wear those Classic UGG Boots, and Moderosa has done a stellar job of doing so as you can see below:
British shoe brand Oliver Sweeney has garnered a fascinating following since its launch in 1989 and is all about taking the traditional and give it a contemporary twist. Widely known for their crafting award-winning footwear, Sweeney has blossomed into a renowned British brand that produces everything from hip-flasks and socks to sweaters and men’s fragrances. Powered by Mnswr.com through Cirqle.
Belstaff approached us to invite influencers to promote their Here be Dragons campaign. Below is the work from one of our talents Aleksandar Jason.
“Here Be Dragons” is an expression originating from ancient cartography where the phrase was used as a warning, making dangerous, uncharted corners of the earth. But to some, this warning acted in quite the opposite way, representing an invitation into places where there was more to be found. Where new experiences could be sought and enjoyed. The unknown was given an irresistible lure and this made people explore. These same people exist today and they are our core audience: people who seek to venture into the unknown.
The campaign established a powerful, differentiated stance for Belstaff within the market that, crucially, incites immediate intrigue. The idea of adventure and the pursuit of freedom deeply appeals and resonates with the brand. Belstaff is the only Outerwear driven lifestyle brand, that physically and emotionally protects you to venture free, having done so in legendary style since 1924.