In this series, Wing Digital Marketing speaks with marketing, content, PR, influencer and other industry professionals to ask how they got to where they are, what changes they´ve seen in their sectors, whether they have advise for the new generation and the hopes and aspirations.
This week we speak with Daisuke ¨Dice¨Kobayashi, Opt Inc. Manager and recognised industry expert — Talking Influence’s Influencer 50 (2019) and ask his insights into the Japanese Influencer landcape and his opinions of the industry and changes that need to come.
What were you, before you were an Influencer Marketer?
I was in charge of social media (Twitter) adverts before. The company decided to launch a new business, which made many Twitter users post sponsored tweets. I joined the project in 2010. This is the time when I started to deal with something like “influencer marketing.
What made you make the move into Influencer Marketing? And what do you remember of the first IM campaigns you witnessed?
As I mentioned above, the company decided to make me involved in influencer marketing. But, I feel colossal potential about the future of influencer marketing now because influencer marketing consists of people, and people inherently can trust not an advertisement but people.
At that time (around 2010), social media like Twitter and Facebook were already well-known in Japan, but nobody used the term “influencer.” Some brands decided to adopt our service, but almost all our clients wouldn’t try it again. The biggest challenge was the measurement. Not only our clients but also I struggled to handle it.
Can you offer some background and insight into the influencer marketing scene in Japan, where it stands on a global scale and what you want for it?
Of course, many Japanese companies have already adopted influencer marketing nowadays, but I feel there are few opportunities like technology in the Japanese market compared to global markets. I think the lack of technology is the most severe problem in the Japanese influencer marketing field.
On the other hand, I believe Japanese users are unique and active. Therefore, some social media platformers like Instagram and Twitter decided to put a development team in Japan for the first time except for the US. I guess not only social media platformers but also other global companies like tech-provider and brand would expand their business to the Japanese market in the days ahead.
Influencer Marketing predictions for 2020
I feel many marketers in brands start to rethink what the best influencer marketing strategy is in 2020. Therefore, I would say 2020 could be a turning point in the influencer marketing industry.
For example, I think many brands will start to deal with small-sized influencers by the in-house team. As a result of that, the primary strategy in the influencer marketing field would change from one-off to always-on campaign gradually. Plus, virtual influencers will play an essential role, and the market size of B2B influencer marketing will grow more and more.
What do you see as being the game-changer(s) for influencer marketing in 2020?
Speaking of a game-changer in the influencer marketing industry, I come up with TikTok at first. As many industry players say, I guess TikTok would play an active role around the world in 2020.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget that every Chinese company, including ByteDance (TikTok), has been growing under the perfect control of the Chinese Communist Party. I can say they have a different mechanism in their society, unlike many Western countries. Therefore, we might have to prepare for the extremely opposite scenario. TikTok might be able to take the world by storm beyond Instagram in the not-so-distant future. Or TikTok might disappear out of the blue because of a political decision like the US executive order. To put it plainly, I believe every marketer has to prepare for possible risks.
What are your opinions on thought leadership and your role as an ambassador for the influencer marketing industry?
A thought leader (TL) has to deal with the essence of things. If influencer marketing is not a fad but something essential, it should work across the globe. Nevertheless, I have to admit there is a gap between the Japanese market and the global market at the moment.
I believe such a situation in Japan will change sooner or later. Some global companies would start to play an active role beyond borders and languages. I want to become a bridge between the two countries. I’m so happy if I could support global companies and brands that are approaching my home country, Japan.
Are there any elements of influencer marketing, agency life, home/life balance, advocacy or anything else in the sector and industry you wished to comment on?
In my opinion, technology is not necessarily perfect. However, it can solve many challenges and problems in the market. Therefore, taking advantage of technology could be the key in this field. We have to entrust some routine tasks to something like AI, and then we should focus on something creative that only human-being can do. In that sense, influencer marketing might be both human and rational methodology.
Join us next week as we speak with more industry experts and ask their thoughts on changes and evolvutions to their sectors.
If you wish to speak with us, visit Wing Digital Marketing and let´s make productive and successful changes together.
Originally published in January, 2020.