CGI Influencers, (from Computer Generated Imagery) -- are a new breed of influencers who are not humans but who have incredibly humane interactions with their followers.
The world is growing increasing complex, ambiguous, and volatile as many different issues polarize people across a spectrum. Brands can’t afford to be ambiguous or to misunderstood in their brand messaging. Companies often rely on influencers to shape the narrative about the businesses and influencer marketing is gradually becoming an integral part of public relations.
Beyond their core brand messaging, brands also need to walk a minefield on how they respond to a wide range of social causes from gun rights, LGBT, and abortion to whether the Russians interfered in U.S. elections and the conspiracy theories surrounding the Apollo mission. The worst part is that brands can’t afford to be centrist because not taking a side on social causes also comes with backlash of its own.
This piece provides insight into three ways that CGI influencers are helping brands humanize their corporate storytelling.
Providing brands with controlled authenticity
CGI influencers will increasingly become the most preferred means for brands to take a stand on social causes because they narratives can be easily controlled to minimize the risk of a backlash. Brud, an L.A.-based startup is leveraging CGI and artificial intelligence to provide brands with tools for influencer marketing. The startup, which has raised funding from VC firms such as Sequoia Capital and SV Angel is one of the leading names behind CGI influencers.
The firm’s lineup of CGI Influencers include Lil Miquela, who has 1.6M followers on Instagram, Bermuda who has 138K Instagram followers, and Blawko with 137K followers. Lil Miquela is the most popular, she’s had partnerships with Calvin Klein, Prada, she took a stand on Black Lives Matter and she has appeared on the cover of High Snobiety.
Sjoerd Demaret, VP of Connect Content at Talpa Media Holding in the personas of CGI influencers might be more relatable than the perfect lives that human influencers tend to portray. In a LinkedIn article, be observes that “with her girlish freckle face, Miquela looks more natural than many of her fellow influencers who strive for perfection with the knife (Kim Kardashian), the syringe (Kylie Jenners lips, Nicki Minaj's buttocks) and make-up (NikkieTutorials).”
Helping brands deliver tailored brand messaging
In 2016, a study by Neilson Catalina based on data from Tapinfluence showed that the ROI on influencer marketing is 1,000% higher than the returns on other types of marketing. When exposed to influencer marketing, consumers tend to buy 10% more products and each 1000 people tend to spend about $285 more on goods and services. Another report by Linqia showed that 39% of marketers planned to increase their influencer marketing budgets.
Tal Melenboim, a serial entrepreneur, engineer (with 8 US Patents applications) and more than 10 years of experience at the intersection of disruptive technologies and marketing is at the CGI Influencer movement. His latest project, Zoe Dvir is a CGI influencer that leverages artificial intelligence to help brands create the perfect Avatar for promoting their brand messaging on social media.
Zoe Dvir already has more than 31K followers on Instagram and it is already running active campaigns with some brands. Tal Melenboim observes that influencer marketing will continue to grow in importance and brands might find it easier to work with CGI influencers because their virtual world is not limited by the constraints of time and space. More so, there’s a lower odd of conflicts of interest between a CGI influencer’s personal brand and a client’s brand when experimenting with different types of campaigns.
Transitioning into customer service agents
Beyond direct influencer marketing; some brands are starting to explore opportunities to use CGI humans for customer service roles. By leveraging CGI, brands can use AI to tailor unique customer service experiences and deliver such “face-to-face” customer service interactions with digital humans. Researchers at Gartner have predicted that “by 2020, 20% of all customer interactions will be facilitated through virtual customer assistants and without a human agent”.
New Zealand-based Soul Machines is at the forefront of developing solutions for CGI-powered customer service. The firm is revolutionizing human to machine interactions by humanizing deep science, AI, and computational brain models to launch CGI humans that can deliver compelling communications and powerful emotional connections.
Soul Machines in partnership with P&G’s SK-II recently unveiled YUMI at Cannes Festival. YUMI, according to the company is not just another digital influencer. In the words of Sandeth Seth, CEO of SK-II, “She is a digital human capable of interacting and engaging in ways technology hasn’t been able to do until now… YUMI personifies our goal to combine technology and creativity to benefit customers. She provides the warmth and connection of human touch in the form of a digital experience…”