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Social committee proposes EU regulation on influencers

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An influencer records a video in her bedroom
Proposed rules set obligations for influencers, video-sharing platforms and social media networks | Photo: Anna Nekrashevich

Perceived by consumers as closer, more authentic and more trustable than traditional advertising or celebrity endorsement, content creators are attracting more brand investment than ever: in 2022 alone, influencer marketing spend jumped from 3.69 billion to 4.14 billion in the U.S., according to data released by American inbound marketing platform Hubspot. The amount of cash trading hands pushed authorities to set standards for the Influencer marketing industry early on. So much so that, in the USA, influencer marketing is considered regulated since 2009, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published for the first time a set of endorsement guides on sponsored content posted by content creators on behalf of brands – including influencers being required to disclose their relationships with companies in a clear way.

Over to Europe, the rules are not as clear.

Unlike traditional advertising, which is subject to very strict rules, influencer advertising can fall through the cracks of ad disclosure. The commercial nature of influencer posts is not always identifiable, with ads featuring alongside similarly styled, but independent editorial content. Companies using influencers as ambassadors for their products and brands also have greater freedom than in conventional advertising.

Now the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), a consultative body of the European Union, is trying to reduce the lack of transparency often seen in influencer marketing by proposing that the EU should set specific obligations for both, the administrators of the video-sharing platforms and social media networks on which influencers operate, and for content creators and influencers themselves.

The basic principle of the proposal is that advertisers should leave consumers in no doubt that what they are engaging with is advertising. And they should not mislead consumers or cause serious offence.

“EU already has some mechanisms in place to deal with influencers, which are covered by legislation on both advertisers and sellers/traders. However, we think it would be desirable to have a comprehensive approach given the fast rise of this phenomenon.”, says Bernardo Hernández Bataller, a councilor of the European Economic and Social Committee since 1994. “We would need specific regulation to cover the rights and obligations of the people involved, so that all legal operators and consumers know exactly what is and what is not acceptable.”

Some Member States have gone it alone (France, Spain and the Belgian region of Flanders). But, accord to the recent proposal, a “hard core” of EU rules would be more effective. The EESC argues that it would leave no loopholes allowing different Member States to take a softer line.

The list of suggestions to be adopted by influencers in all 27 member states of the European Union includes it being mandatory for content creators to include a prominent label upfront to highlight that a post is a marketing communication. They would then be liable if they fail to make it sufficiently clear when they are being paid to endorse or promote a product or service.

The proposal highlights that platform administrators and social media networks should also be liable for content published by the content creators and influencers they host, as well as have an obligation to take down illegal content and report illegal activity.

Other issues surrounding influencer marketing featured throughout the report includes the frequent use of child influencers. Concerns regarding content creators as a trade and if their position should be covered by employment laws are also mentioned.

“What about the tax issues raised by influencer advertising? How should we tax influencer income and the profits influencers generate? How should we tax the added value they create?, asks Stefano Palmieri, co-rapporteur.

Even if approved, a new set of rules doesn’t necessary mean that brands and content creators will follow them. In France, in a study of 60 influencers and influencer agencies from January 2023, the French General Directorate of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) showed that 60% did not respect the regulations on advertising and consumer rights.

And in the UK, compliance with labelling requirements when it comes to Influencer Marketing remains low. In 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published an analysis of more than 24,000 Instagram Stories. Of the 5,700 it considered to be marketing material, nearly two-thirds were not clearly identifiable as such. 

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

Marketing

JCDecaux extends advertising concession with Madrid Metro for 10 years

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An image of advertising displays at a metro station in Madrid
Modernisation: a new type of large-format screen created exclusively for platforms will be installed in 39 key stations in Madrid

JCDecaux, the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide, has announced that following a competitive tender it has renewed and extended its advertising concession with Madrid Metro. The partnership with the transport network carrying, on average, five million daily, makes it the most digitised JCDecaux-marketed metro in Europe and the first 100% data-driven advertising space in Spain. The digital transformation of the oldest Spanish metro network has started in August and will be completed by the end of the year.

The 10-year contract covers 3,100 traditional displays as well as more than 460 new, larger, sharper and more energy-efficient digital screens, extending their life cycle and making metro stations more efficient and sustainable. The new contract aims to deliver a
high-quality media space and to modernise Spain’s capital metro with up to 2,000 sq m of screens. It includes innovative and high-impact displays such as large-format screens and columns with an anamorphic effect, twin curved screens as well as “cinema formats”, a new type of large-format screen created exclusively for platforms, 142 of which will be installed in 39 key stations. A brand-new network of digital screens will also be created with nearly 300 high-definition screens across 100 strategic locations, mostly within the M30 perimeter, ensuring maximum coverage and visibility.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this strategic contract to digitise Madrid Metro, continuing our long-term partnership which started in 2007. JCDecaux has rolled-out an in-depth media transformation plan, including the introduction of large and iconic digital media opportunities to create memorable brand experience while offering one of the major communications-platform for brands. It will participate to enhance the Madrid Metro environment, further raising engagement and ultimately generating revenue to invest in delivering an even better commuter experience. It is one of our most ambitious projects to date in Europe and we want it to become a benchmark in terms of digitisation and sustainability”, says Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-Chief Executive Officer of JCDecaux.

This new contract will also enable JCDecaux to introduce programmatic buying opportunities into the metro environment for the first time, following its launch in street furniture and shopping centres.

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How to create social media content for small businesses

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A man scheduling content on social media
Between April 2022 and April 2023 there were 150 million new social media users – a 3.2% increase year-over-year | Photo: Austin Distel

Mastering the art of creating useful and engaging social media content is essential for any small business – but just like most of the tasks, it is easier said than done.

Accord to recent data released by the Search Engine Journal, there are 4.8 billion social media users worldwide, representing 59.9% of the global population and 92.7% of all internet users. And companies not able to catch up with the fast-paced digital world are already facing sales and branding problems given how many new people turn to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, on a daily basis, to discover products and services: between April 2022 and April 2023, there were 150 million new social media users – a 3.2% increase year-over-year.

Small businesses have a unique opportunity to connect with their target audience, boost brand awareness, and drive growth through social media. Here we explore key strategies to help entrepreneurs how to create engaging content that can make a significant impact.

Know Your Audience

Before diving into content creation, it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of your target audience. Who are your customers? What are their preferences and essential interests? Carefully study your audience’s demographics and behaviours to understand where you are in order to create an effective social media calendar with clear goals.

Set Clear Goals

Define your social media objectives. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, boost sales, or engage with your community? Setting clear, measurable goals will guide your content strategy and help you track your progress over time. Take small steps. There is no point in aiming for 1 million new users and an absurdly high turnover overnight. When it comes to social media, you will have to learn to play the long game.

Content Planning and Calendar

You must create a content calendar to organize your posting schedule.

Consistency is key in social media, and a calendar can help you maintain a regular posting cadence. Plan your content themes, topics, and post types in advance, taking into account holidays, special events, and industry trends.

Tell Your Story

Share the story behind your business. Customers connect with brands that have a compelling narrative. Highlight your company’s history, values, and mission. Showcase the people behind the scenes, your team’s expertise, and the dedication that goes into your products or services.

Visual Appeal

Visual content is highly engaging on social media. Invest in high-quality images and videos that represent your brand. Use eye-catching graphics, infographics, and animations to convey information creatively.

Educational Content

Position your business as an industry authority by creating educational content. Share informative blog posts, how-to guides, tutorials, and industry insights. Provide value to your audience by answering common questions or addressing challenges in your niche.

Engage with Your Audience

Social media is a two-way street. Respond promptly to comments, messages, and mentions. Foster a sense of community by actively engaging with your followers. Encourage discussions and user-generated content, and listen to customer feedback to improve your products or services.

Embrace User-Generated Content (UGC)

Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your products or services. Repost UGC with proper credit. This not only showcases satisfied customers but also builds trust and authenticity around your brand.

Analyse and Adapt

Regularly review your social media analytics to gauge the performance of your content. Identify what works and what doesn’t. Adjust your strategy based on the data to continually improve your social media presence.

No matter where you are, creating compelling social media content is a vital aspect of a small business’s digital marketing strategy. By understanding your audience, setting clear goals, planning your content, telling your story, embracing visual and educational content, engaging with your audience, and adapting based on analytics, you can craft a powerful social media presence that helps your small business thrive in the online

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LG launches campaign to spread optimism

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A London red bus showcasing the new LG's campaign in the UK
LG 'Takes Over' Famous Landmarks to Kick off Its Life's Good Campaign With More Dynamic and Youthful Visual Identity

LG Electronics (LG) has launched its brand-new Life’s Good global campaign, carrying out various brand reinvent activities to introduce its more dynamic and youthful brand identity.

The company, which rolled out its Life’s Good global campaign on August 22, unveiled digital out-of-home (OOH) advertisements at some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, including locations in Dubai, London, New York, Vietnam and Seoul. Each image and captivating has been crafted to showcase LG’s renewed visual themes.

Along with introducing its updated brand and visual identity, the new campaign aims to share the company’s philosophy and values and the true meaning of Life’s Good.

LG’s latest advertisements can be seen at Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, the Landmark 81 skyscraper in Vietnam, the company’s digital billboards in New York’s Times Square and London‘s Piccadilly Circus, LG’s LED outdoor screen at Óvalo Gutiérrez in Peru, the KP Tower in India, as well as in select spaces in South Korea, seizing the attention of global audiences. The campaign also extends to London’s beloved red double-decker buses, which currently feature LG’s Life’s Good slogan – visually revamped as part of an innovative brand reinvention strategy.

The advertisement videos showcase the “Face of the Future,” the smiling face formed by the letters “L” and “G” engages and entertains; nodding, bobbing and showing off a range of different emotions. The video is also imbued with the youthful exuberance of LG Active Red, the latest addition to the company’s core color palette.

The company also plans to release collaboration contents with various influencers and brand films through LG’s global social channels to convey the meaning of Life’s Good and core brand values to customers more authentically.

LG has partnered with a collection of global influencers, all embodying the spirit of “brave optimists” and confidently carving their own paths, including American singer and actress Willow Smith; Australian national swimmer and singer-songwriter Cody Simpson; and Nigerian-Korean fashion model Jenny Park. Through these meaningful partnerships, LG aims to amplify the Life’s Good message, fostering inspiration and hope among customers around the world.

“LG is committed to actively communicating and providing innovative customer experiences that evolve with the times, recognizing the changing needs of customers,” said Lee Jeong-seok, head of LG Electronics’ Global Marketing Center. “We aim to enhance our communication with customers by sincerely sharing our core value and the message of Life’s Good. Filled with optimism, this message will be delivered to customers worldwide at various customer contact points.”

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