Founders of the influencer marketing agency, Viral Nation, Joseph Gagliese and Mathew Micheli spoke to Talking Influence journalist, Neve Fear-Smith, about the upcoming Influencer Marketing Awards, and the excellence that they would like to see rewarded at the event.

It is great to have Viral Nation on board as a sponsor for this year’s IMAs, which Talking Influence cannot wait to host. What are you most looking forward to about this year’s event – albeit virtual.

Thank you! We’re excited to be part of the event. We’re looking forward to seeing all the innovative campaigns executed over the last year.

You are sponsoring the Best Brand Engagement award category this year. What is it about this category that excites you? How would YOU define exceptional brand engagement?

The campaign that wins this award category has demonstrated that the audience has successfully created an emotional commitment to a brand. Social media has elevated word-of-mouth marketing and the ability for consumers to interact with brands on another level – to build relationships in new ways.

Exceptional brand engagement is more than brand awareness – it’s loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing. It goes hand-in-hand with customer engagement and translates into increased revenues, profitability and market share.

Are there any other categories included in this year’s awards that you’re particularly intrigued about, what sort of work would you like to see celebrated?

Naturally, we can’t wait to see all of this year’s campaign entries. That said, the new award categories – TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc, are particularly interesting and we look forward to seeing how brands have executed and measured success on these platforms.

At Viral Nation, what are your main goals when approaching a project with a brand to develop their influencer marketing strategy?

At Viral Nation, our main goal is to reach audiences when and where it matters to them. Each project begins by identifying and understanding the audience we are trying to reach. From there, a compelling narrative is developed that begins with influencers but also considers cross-channel integration opportunities in order to maximise visibility and amplify the message.

How does the work you do benefit the clients that you work with?

By starting all campaign planning with insights on the client’s audience, we ensure that the influencers we select and the content they produce has relevance and meaning. By taking an integrated approach and complementing influencer content with paid tactics, the client’s message reaches the broadest audience possible ensuring wide brand awareness and potential engagement.

Influencer marketing is booming and is only going to get bigger. And after a year of watching brands scramble to update their upcoming campaigns to resonate with audiences stuck at home and spending an increased amount of time on social platforms, 2021 offers tons of potential for influencer marketing.

Major trends for brands to keep in mind are the rise of nano and micro-influencers, long-term versus one-off partnerships, TikTok, YouTube and the emergence of other new platforms, social commerce and shoppable posts, cause marketing and a continued increase in video content.

Finally, are there any exciting projects that Viral Nation is working on at the moment? Please share with our readers so we all know what to look out for throughout the remainder of 2021.

We’re always working on something new! We’ve achieved significant growth over the past year and taken on new client challenges. We’ve spent a significant amount of time developing industry-leading technology IP and can’t wait to show the world! For everything we’re up to, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and check our blog regularly for updates.

The enthusiasm that Joseph and Mathew have in regards to awarding the best brand engagement is something that will shine at this year’s IMAs, as we celebrate the best in class in this category as well as so many more.

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