I have been scrutinizing the evolution of influence marketing since the end of 2017. Linqia, a company that specializes in digital marketing reports that 92% of marketers who utilize influence marketing find it to be effective. The latest development? CGI influencers.
Since its conception, I have been struggling regarding the exact profile of a clear-cut influencer, specifically whether it is better to use a macro or micro influencer. Macro influencers are categorized as celebrities with massive, millions of followers, while micro influencers are everyday consumers who have significant social media followings (1,000 to 100,000) they engage deeply with on a regular basis. This much I do know, it depends on the industry and size of business. In fashion, it is good to have a macro influencer like Meghan Markle, Global Fashion Influencer. If you are a mom-and-pop restaurant in a small city like Raleigh, North Carolina, it would behoove you to find a micro influencer who broadcasts on Instagram.
Thanks to CGI influencers, the latest icons of digital stars, the world of influence marketing is experiencing major transformation. As their name implies, CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) influencers are created by computers, thus not human. Example: Meet Miquela Sousa, Instagram handle @lilmiquela, L.A. model of Brazilian decent, an Instagram “fashionista” with 1.5 million followers. She posts daily about designer outfits partnering with brands like Prada and Diesel, as well as social and political issues (e.g., Black Lives Matter, DACA, etc.). Followers like her candor, authentic content, in comparison to most real fashion influencers they perceive as scam artists.
Consumers are constantly trying to cut through the social media clutter to identify trustworthy sources of product/brand information. Consequently, influence marketing was conceived and is still relatively a new concept. Currently the rise of CGI influencers is beginning to blur the line between reality and the virtual world. They are selling a glorious lifestyle reflective of our current hip culture that evoke massive consumer followings, as a result, big brands are beginning to cash in on their potential.
My query: Will CGI influencers, the new breed of digital/virtual avatars, dilute brand authenticity?
I haven’t looked at many other CGI accounts like the one you’ve highlighted here. Quite honestly, they creep me out a little. For me, it’s just another step removed from humanity. I’d much prefer to see REAL people, of all kinds, living/wearing/enjoying a brand. This CGI (and it might just be this example) leaves me with the same feeling I get when I see movie trailers for films set in the dystopian future of darkness and machines… disillusioned.