Ykone Gallery: When digital art meets brands

Photo courtesy of Ykone

“What’s an influencer?”

That’s what some of my friends asked when I posted an Instagram story about the event I went to last night, “la première exposition d’œuvres d’artistes influenceurs.”

My good friend Leah (Leiaaaa!) is a project manager at Ykone, a digital content and influencer marketing agency based in Paris. Her job is to connect luxury brands with influencers (aka social media celebrities) for various campaigns. For the event, Ykone created an art gallery showcasing some of their collaborations. I was lucky enough to be Leah’s +1!

Quyen Mike x Jaeger LeCoultre

So how does an “influencer marketing agency” operate?

Well, at a high level, take the campaign above as an example.

The high-end Swiss company Jaeger-LeCoultre wanted to create a new marketing campaign for their Reverso watch. (When I say “high-end”, I’m talking about a product that could cost up to $48,000!) Ykone presented Jaeger-LeCoultre with a portfolio of potential influencers who fit the brand’s values, along with creative direction for the social media content. Quyen Mike, who has an impressive 68.5K Instagram followers, was selected for the ad and produced the above result. Ykone also helped track the success of this campaign back to the brand after it was published.

What appears to be just a “cool pic on Instagram” was actually made possible by an entire production team for the post. I love that the French term for “director” is “réalisateur”, one who turns an artistic idea into a reality.

In addition to running their own marketing ads, many companies collaborate with individual influencers to reach wider audiences. To quote Ykone’s site, “Influencers are powerful – Chiara Ferragni receives 10 times more visits per day than Galeries Lafayette.” (One of Paris’ largest department stores.) “… 92% of consumers say that they trust individuals more than brands. Youtubers, Instagrammers and other Snapchatters are experts at producing high performing content. Their posts enrich and grow the brand’s universe, and provide an engaged audience.”

This makes total sense to me. There have been so many instances I’ve purchased a particular type of mascara or visited a new clothing store just because one of my favorite bloggers posted about it. Even if they’re being paid to talk about a product, I still trust, for example, Jenn Im‘s review of a make-up product more than I trust that make-up line’s own ads.

It’s so fascinating how the emergence and growth of social media has opened up new industries and job opportunities. Ykone is still a fairly new company, founded in 2008. Although Leah tells me about her job every day, attending this event opened my eyes to a world completely different than the tech one I’ve known so far.

“Live expo” artist Yaya Chang (yayachang.com)

Thank you Leah and Ykone for a fun and enlightening evening!


One thought on “Ykone Gallery: When digital art meets brands

  1. Thank you for the fascinating insight into the world of marketing. Social media has certainly allowed doors to open for companies looking to widen their exposure to a larger audience. I, too, trust an individual’s honest testimony over any mas media advertisement. That personal component adds a human connection between product and potential customer. It’s a lovely “dance”!

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