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Why the virtual influencer revolution matters to brands

Virtual influencer @noonoouri in Minecraft
Mar 14, 2023 By WGSN Insider
Updates from WGSN

What’s next in the virtual influencer space? Will virtual influencers ever replace humans? And for brands interested in this space…where do they start?

The world is undergoing a virtual influencer revolution – it’s anticipated that these digital humans will transform everything from pop culture and online shopping to education and work – think in terms of digital twins, sponsorship potential and dynamic multi-platform entertainment possibilities.

WGSN’s Insight Senior Strategist Cassandra Napoli invites Christopher Travers, an entrepreneur focused on pseudonymity and various forms of online identity, to share his expertise from thousands of hours researching, documenting and building in the avatar economy.  Napoli and Travers discuss the virtual human market, brand opportunities within it and the ethics of using digital influencers.

Christopher Travers avatar against blue background
Christopher Travers

Breathing life into digital humans

“Some VTubers have 500,000 fans, but they are so committed, so deeply obsessed with those anime characters that when you put it on a scale of fandom, the VTubers have an even deeper connection with their fans. And that is a result of the fact that they’re using video, because they can more fluidly and more clearly express their human selves in that medium.”

@noonoouri wearing red dress to celebrate Lunar New Year

DIY brand avatars 

“You can be your own media company, or you’re always going to be paying rent versus the mortgage. When you pay creators you pay rent. But when you build creators, you’re paying a mortgage. When you identify mediums that you can build your own content in, you are rewarding yourself longer term.”

@noonoouri in purple mini dress dancing on the street

Be transparent

“It’s a fascinating exploration that the medium is neutral and it’s how you use it that matters. There is a huge responsibility that falls on every single human who engages with the medium to make sure people know exactly what they’re consuming. And I think disclosure is a great way to ensure that your use of an avatar, a VTuber or whatever it may be, is for a positive use case.”
–  Christopher Travers, entrepreneur in pseudonymity and online identity

Head to Apple or Spotify to hear the full discussion on our Create Tomorrow podcast episode, Why the Virtual Influencer Revolution Matters to Brands with Christopher Travers.

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