Knox Frost and the phenomenon of virtual influencers, how do they work?

virtual influencers

Virtual influencers are computer-generated imagery (CGI) characters. They are created with virtual influencer AI (Artificial Intelligence) elements. Several operators and corporations create them for branding or marketing purposes. Though they are well programmed, the companies have total control over their actions. A lot of virtual influencer agency is working hard and fast to give them an identical physical appearance. They have to think over and again regarding their look, act, dress and so on. They also need to develop their background, family relation, personality, likes, dislikes, political enticement, etc.

They appear exactly the same as real influencers all over the world, in any kind of industry.

The sole purpose of these influencers is to engage with their followers and make a profitable relationship. Lil Miquela, the first virtual influencer is already very popular. If you Google the keyword virtual influencers 2020, you will get a list of them. Similarly, Knox Frost is a male virtual influencer from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Typically, questions may arise whether Knox Frost is real or fake, what does Knox Frost look like? He is not real though, he literally looks like an NBA 2k19 player. He shares Knox Frost story and advice on personal empowerment and mental health on Knox Frost Instagram. Recently, he has gained attention for his partnership with WHO (World Health Organization) to fight Covid-19.

What are virtual influencers?

What is a virtual influencer?

Virtual influencers are digitally created in graphics that has the realistic characteristics and personalities of a human. They are created to make approach on media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, Twitter, etc. Even, virtual influencer TikTok is also popular.

Even if virtual influencer marketing is still at the origins, there are already many virtual influencers in fields that were commonly some of the most successful for influencer marketing, such as the influencers in the fashion industry.

Knox Frost — The News — Influencer News
Source: KNOX FROST

What is virtual influencer marketing?

Virtual influencer marketing strategy is a win-win for both the brands and the fans. In this type of marketing, corporate companies can save money as they are not hiring someone else; rather they build their own brand ambassador. Similarly, the buyers get their products at a comparatively cheap price when products are advertised via these influencers. The virtual representation of Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC on Instagram appeared to be very popular among the followers. KFC stated that they are able to increase their market value by presenting him via virtual influencer AI.

However there is a possible drawback, influencer marketing is all about people and with virtual influencers, there is the risk of seeing a loss of contact between the influencer and his audience. There is a loss of human relation between the influencer and the follower. So the risk of virtual influencer can be to focus on just one product and hardly be able to have a bright future, but no one can know it for sure in advance.

How do virtual influencers work?

It is clear by now that these identities are not real. They are maintained by the operators and deeply indulged in their works. Let us look at some examples to see how they actually work. Daisy Yoox helps expand the market value of Yoox using the virtual influencer Instagram account.

Ruby gloom is a fashion influencer, launched her brand WeeGirlsClub aiming to create a traditional Chinese brand. Hatsune Miku is a musician who uses a computer-generated voice and 3D graphics to perform on stage. Shudu is a digital supermodel who worked with Cosmopolitan, Vogue, etc. Blawko is famous for his half-covered face that got his own YouTube channel recently. These are the ways how these influencers work under the brands.

Virtual creators aren't AI — but AI is coming for them - The Verge
One of Instagram’s hottest influencers is a 19-year-old intelligent robot, Lil Miquela. She counts with more than 3 million followers on Instagram

Examples of brands who are creating virtual influencers

There are a number of brands who are creating virtual avatars to promote themselves. Here is a short list given below-

1Colonel Sanders created by Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)
2Daisy created by Yoox
3Virtual influencer Lil Miquela by Los Angeles based startup Brud
4Virtual influencer Seraphine created by Riot Games Inc.
5Shudu created by photographer Cameron James-Wilson
6Bermuda created by Cain Intelligence
7Blawko created by Los Angeles based startup Brud
8Virtual influencer Imma created by Tokyo based CG company Modeling Café
International brands using virtual influencers

How big is the virtual influencer industry?

The virtual influencer market size was about 4.6 billion dollars in 2018. It is projected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) exceeding 26% from 2019-2025. The whole market is about to be 15 billion USD in the next couple of years. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that worldwide spending on virtual influence AI could be more than $35 billion in the next few years. Moreover, the growing number of Instagram users has fuelled the regional market growth. Followers of these influencers play a vital role to increase the market value of some specific brands.

The biggest Brud star is Lil Miquela who got 1.6 million Instagram followers. At the same time, the company received more than 6 million USD in investment money and has recently been valued at $125 million. These influencers are a common face in TV commercials through the magic of computer graphics. Some of them are also leading in the music industry like Kizuna AI. The companies receive their profit eloquently through their act. (data from Bloomberg’s article)

Virtual influencers can either be created and controlled directly by a company, or they can be managed by an influencer agency as a common influencer.

How to create a virtual influencer?

How to make a virtual influencer? How to become a virtual influencer?

  • Firstly, you have to understand your audiences’ emotional level by creating a manuscript. Then, you have to put all the information together to create an audience persona. This will help you get an accurate picture.
  • Secondly, you need to develop an ideal persona for your influencer. Your influencer should be able to entertain your audience. Next, you will need a visual art and have to focus on their characteristics by sketching them briefly.
  • Thirdly, you have to design your desired character. Once you acquire a personality and know what your influencer should look like, you can create it. The look of your influencer depends on you and your brand. You see Lil Miquela looks realistic whether Noonoouri looks cartoonish.
  • Finally, you need to build up its social media existence where your audiences are active. It is a good idea to sell products at the beginning. You should only focus on sharing quality content. After achieving a number of followers, you can easily promote your products then.

However virtual influencer marketing, for many sectors is not yet considered as efficient as a normal influencer campaign. For more information about influencer marketing in Brazil and South America don’t hesitate to contact us.