7 reasons why Virtual Influencer are the future of marketing: 2 - Authenticity
If you read my first reason for why I believe that Virtual Influencers will be the future – “Trust” then you will see my logic about why the second reason is “Authenticity”.
It might sound illogical that I suggest authenticity is one of the key reasons I believe Virtual Influencers will grow in demand and importance, this might sound completely counter intuitive, but follow the logic here.
We have already discovered that humans bond with machines more easily than humans, (see post 1) as we don’t fear judgement from them, and that this enables deep sharing and therefore connection, but this is just the start. When Sir Tim Berners Lee created the world wide web, one of his key tenets was that everybody who communicated on the web should identify themselves. He recognised that if you didn’t identify yourself it would be hard to know or understand the true motivations of the person behind the communication.
Fast forward a few years and the creation of Twitter etc . The decision was made early on to NOT install the directive that accounts needed to be publicly verified and identified with the real person behind them.
I believe it is this single decision that has caused untold damage and misery.
Its the reason why people troll with virtually no inhibitions, the normal balances and checks that our group nature places on us, that moment when we think “I better just check myself here and not say exactly how I feel right now incase i regret it” are completely removed, anonymity brings out the the worst in human nature. If there are zero consequences we tend not to think through them.
This has since spiralled, with social being used as a platform to vent personal anger often unrelated to the target of the attack, it has become addictive and moves to the path of least resistance.
It is also why Russia has been able to dominate and effect democracies and voting processes all over the world, by starting thousands of fake accounts, fake institutions and create fake stories to influence elections.
These fake, anonymous, non verified users, all share and like the fake news, this then trends, real people then pick up and share the fake stories and then the real media picks up on it and it becomes a real trend and effects the opinions, beliefs and democratic processes. If your interested then check out my post here that goes into this in detail. Its also the reason “narrative hijacking” has been so effective.
But what does this have to do with Virtual Influencers?
Part of our code of ethics is that every V.I must be identified as a V.I, and the ownership of the V.I needs to also be clearly identified, if you know who owns the V.I, its that much easier to understand the motives behind the V.I - there is accountability.
This is sorely lacking in traditional social media and is something we want to get right at the outset of this nascent industry. The authenticity is further enhanced by the knowledge that this character is not real. They are a device for entertainment, comfort or education - their motives are simple - this can be much more real than a manufactured lifestyle Influencer who wants you to THINK their life is real, and confuse you into thinking you too could have that life, when in fact it is a total mirage.
Then there is the content, we can make whatever we want for the V.I and the brand creating them, but the way we like to do it is by spending a long time going through the psychological development process of the V.I , how it feels and thinks, what it likes and loves, its “touchstones” and the major life incidents that have created its personality. Then we craft a life and content around that. We have discovered that the more consistent the content the better the emotional connection with the follower.
Not all creators do it like this however, some just make amusing content, or caricatures, but again, these are authentic, the purpose and motivations behind them are obvious, but the key is making sure the owner and creator is identified, this is essential..
Also as ive said many times before, the motives of many human influencers are far from pure, it is always the humans behind the tech that create any issues, and we are doing all we can to start this process and industry the right way so that V.I creators like us do it the right way and we avoid many of the pitfalls that traditional influencer marketing has gone through.