Kobe’s secret to attracting talent lies in its “kou bei” strategy
Kobe Global Technologies is a Singapore-based influencer marketing agency that delivers consumer-focused social media marketing campaigns. Using patented AI technology to exert its influence, the agency has worked with brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. She recently won the gold award for influencer agency of the year at INTERACTIVE-MARKETING‘s AOTY Awards 2021.
Co-founders Cha Lin (pictured left) and Evangeline Leong (pictured right) said INTERACTIVE-MARKETING that advertisers should always keep an open mind when exploring non-traditional marketing methods and also when using influencers. For example, having a call to action is something marketers would always include in their campaigns to drive customer action.
This interview is part of the series of interviews with the winners and finalists of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE for the AOTY Awards 2021. To find out more about the awards, Click here.
Tell us what these accomplishments mean to you?
Lin and Leong: We’re one of the few pure influencer breeds, and we’ve refined our focus over the years from influencer-centric executives, attracting the creative staff of influencers.
Unfortunately, we lose clients when clients prefer “full service” agencies which are convenient. But this award confirmed our decision to focus solely on influencer marketing – giving us the specialist edge in executing influence with finesse.
Getting the Influencer Agency of the Year award (Gold and Local Heroes Award) for two consecutive years is a big milestone for Kobe, as this year is only our fifth year in business. . I would say that getting this award means a lot to me in three areas, primarily to our team, our customers and the industry.
In our team most of us are Millennials and Gen Zs who are the best in social media, I can see them thrive in this industry. Due to their passion for social media, they display the courage to explore new concepts that have never been done before and have the humility to learn from their experiences during difficult times. Seeing how the team has grown from the very beginning when they entered this industry to be recognized by experts, really means the world to me.
For clients, this award validates our approach and strategy in this ever-changing influencer marketing industry. We have since launched a new product that helps SMBs condition the market with high volumes of genuine buzz with our price tag called “Always on Kobe” and the traction has been encouraging.
At the industry level, this is the start of our journey to positively change the negative perceptions people have of this industry. For example, influencers only post promotional content for the sake of monetary gain, but not with the true authenticity of the sharing. This may be true to some extent for a small percentage of influencers, but with our experience working with over 6,500 influencers across Southeast Asia, we’ve seen a lot of them create content with passion because of a good match between influencers and advertisers. With Kobe’s patented technology, we want to connect advertisers with influencers with similar interests and passions, only then can we create authentic and relevant content.
What makes you most proud to be part of your agency?
Lin and Leong: I would say it’s the culture of the company that makes me most proud. That in Kobe they were saying, “Wow, this is the only company that, if I make a mistake, I know everything will be fine – and I know the only failure is not having the courage to try”
Hearing this from my team tells me that our business will only become more innovative on social media, create more value for customers and keep improving.
What are some of the initiatives you have in place to make sure your staff feel proud to be associated with your agency?
Lin and Leong: There are a lot of initiatives that we have put in place but there are three that I would like to share in particular.
1. No approval required – you own your work. But we are aligned in our vision and our values. My team knows more about social media trends and features than I do because they are always there. Seeking approval will only result in delayed execution due to round-trip communication. Social media trends come and go very quickly, so speed is key. I would rather they spend time in the market and report valuable information on what works and what doesn’t.
2. Deep sharing – daily learning and weekly reflections. Within departments and at all levels, a culture of learning is deeply rooted within Kobe. There is only a little time in a day to learn, but when we share and combine all of our learning, the effect grows. The results are phenomenal from a dozen apprenticeships per day to hundreds of learnings per week.
3. “Game On” – that’s what we always say (to each other, and even on our media kits!) This mindset has helped the team to be constantly on the offensive, exploring new ways. new campaign ideas that could help our clients achieve their marketing goals. In the rapidly changing world of social media, the “play don’t lose” mindset is a sure bet that could help brands stay afloat in the sea of content. However, it could also be easily drowned out where consumers might not have a high recollection of the brand. “Playing to Win” will ensure that the team pushes the boundaries to go beyond the norm, coming up with ideas that could stay in the minds of consumers.
How do you attract talent to your agency?
Lin and Leong: Word of mouth! Most are referred to us when someone inside has a great experience. True to the name of our company, “Kou Bei”. Word of mouth is so powerful that it also helps us connect with many great content creators and influencers. At first, Kobe only had a handful of influencers in our database.
Thanks to our patented technology that allows us to offer influencers campaigns close to their interests and styles, this overall positive experience allows Kobe to be found by more influencers when one of them refers another. to join us. I am very grateful that we are able to have a base of over 6,500 influencers in our database to date. From our personal experience this is also why I am a strong supporter of word of mouth marketing and believe it would also help our clients build meaningful brand and engagement with their clients.
What are your hopes for the Singaporean advertising scene in 2021?
Lin and Leong: It’s not an easy time for business – but most have already realized the magical powers of influence. How ads are ignored on youtube all the time, and people are glued to great content with great context. The options are exciting – from live streaming, stories, reels to Tik Tok challenges.
Advertisers should keep an open mind when exploring non-traditional methods of marketing, as well as using influencers. For example, having a call-to-action is something marketers would always include in their campaigns to drive customer action.
However, in today’s rapidly changing climate where consumer preferences can change quickly, we have tried to suppress all calls to action in an influencer marketing campaign, although the goal was really to generate shares – and sales increased by 300%. It was scary taking that move, but it was all worth it. It takes a lot of trial and error, but only by pushing the boundaries and taking a creative leap can we keep moving forward – further, better and stronger.