Sysomos Conference Correspondent: The New Influence

The Dx3 2016 Conference Correspondent Whitepaper Presented by Sysomos summarizes some of the top speakers from Dx3 who inspired attendees to take action in their digital strategies.

Epic Meal Time (EMT) is a Canadian YouTube cooking show which made its debut in 2010. Led by Harley Morenstein, it’s the top digital meal show in the world today, boasting almost a billion views on YouTube.

It’s also one of the faces of the New Influence, a digital movement powered by a new paradigm of creators, celebrities, partnerships and revenue streams that are foreign to the traditional broadcast model; it’s focused on the on-demand “anywhere screen.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 3.35.03 PMMorenstein and the team behind EMT were at Dx3 2016 to talk about how the New Influence offers brands new opportunities to engage with consumers by forming relationships with a new breed of content creator.

The driving mantra behind The New Influence is #contentiseverything. Since its humble beginnings in Morenstein’s mom’s basement, EMT has grown into an epic empire, including a production company, NextTime Productions, EMT-inspired content properties such as the soon-to-launch Epic Tool Time and Epic Gadget Creations, channels on numerous social media platforms and a bunch of merchandise. EMT’s success is rooted in innovative, approachable and inspirational content.

“We were spearheading something innovative in food; we were thinking outside the box,” said Morenstein. “The reason we got so popular was because we made something approachable to your average Joe. We made it fun, cool and casual for a bunch of college dudes to get together in the kitchen and have fun times. We want to take that mentality and apply it to different areas.”

EMT and other New Influencers leverage audience fragmentation, and can offer brands the unique opportunity to engage with hyper-niche audiences across different platforms in a fun and novel way.

EMT’s audience is 90% male, ages 18 to 34. For brands, it shouldn’t always be about the fit, but using data and insights gathered from those select audiences to penetrate their feeds. The best strategies provide value to consumers, and by utilizing creator expertise in their marketing strategies, brands can piggyback on the trust creators have built with their fans because creators can take the brand message and present it to fans in their voice. That’s a process the EMT guys have coded into the DNA of their content.

“We made it known early on that we will work with brands and that brands make this show live,” explained Morenstein.

EMT takes brand involvement beyond the videos it produces and into the interactions with fans after the fact in the comments sections. It’s created an exchange based on transparency where fans feel comfortable talking to the EMT guys about the brands they work with, and the guys are transparent enough to talk back. That transparency is crucial.

“Authenticity on YouTube is as important to your strategy as production is to a traditional TV show,” said Jordon Bortolotti, Executive Vice President of Studio 7, a multi-platform entertainment company, and partner of EMT and NexTime Productions.

Developing for specific platforms

Another advantage for brands in partnering with New Influencers is their ability to leverage feed-based consumption as creators are often on multiple platforms. EMT tailors content for specific platforms, like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram SnapChat and Vine, for example.

“A lot of the viewers on one platform don’t cross over to the next, so if you don’t capitalize on all of them you’ll lose out,” said Darren Morenstein, Managing Director of NextTime Productions.

“If I called myself a YouTuber I would be downplaying our production company,” added Harley Morenstein. “We’re more than that. If you have influence on one platform you should open yourself up to all of them.”

That said, NextTime defines itself as a turnkey social studio that does everything from bite-size, short-form to long-form content. It’s optimizing content for every social platform EMT is on that’s hyper-specific to those audiences. Brands can use that kind of qualitative data to their advantage by creating video assets and targeting them to particular groups. Knowing key brand affinity points allows brands to do a lot in places outside of YouTube when partnering with creators.

At the end of the day, working with New Influence creators like Epic Meal Time is all about credibility.

Download the full Conference Correspondent Whitepaper Presented by Sysomos to learn from many of the top Dx3 2016 speakers.

About Jonathan Paul

Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based freelance writer who specializes in the Canadian advertising and marketing beat. He has written for major industry publications including Marketing and Strategy. At the latter he was senior writer for four years, crafting all sorts of stories on the advertising and marketing tactics of big brands including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, UFC Canada and Tim Hortons, all whilst keeping a finger on the pulse of international creativity, technology and trends. An avid scribe, both personally and professionally, he’s also an imagineer, information disseminator, media junkie, videogame enthusiast and, admittedly, a comic book nerd.

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