#AOTYAwards spills: Kobe Global Technologies crowned first for match-making skills

Walking away with the gold award for best influencer agency of the year and local hero is Kobe Global Technologies. Founded in 2016, the agency boasts to be results-oriented and committed to match brands with relevant influencers using artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The agency has a wide range of influencers across various categories such as food, fashion, and lifestyle. It has also worked with multiple brands across industries such as Pizza Hut, Circles.Life, and personal care brand Himalaya. 

Believing strongly in collaboration, Kobe views good marketing as one that leverages the minds and capabilities of the everyday person. The agency has witnessed over the years that when people stop relying solely on their own abilities and start collaborating with one another, great chemistry and sparks are created, which always leads to better results than one might have achieved individually. The agency is also looking to expand into multiple Southeast Asian markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series. To find out more about the awards, click here.

What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?

Having won these awards, our agency will now be seen as a more premium option within our field. Honestly, there’s a chance that this might turn a certain segment of smaller clients away from us, but we’re confident that this will not be too big of an issue. As long as we continue to do good work, place our clients’ interests as the top priority and ensure the best value for their money, they’ll see that we offer a great value proposition to them.   

Of course, with the award, expectations are also higher than they’ve ever been. We’re now seen as a leader in this field, and the wiggle room to make mistakes has narrowed considerably. While we’ve always strived to be meticulous in our work, it’s now especially clear that we can’t afford to make any mistakes. The stakes are higher, and missteps are costlier.

How have your marketing/your clients’ marketing plans shifted this year?

Along with the awards, we recently acquired our PMC Certification, a government initiative to certify practicing management consultants and ensure a higher standard of professionalism in the field. Having gained these "qualifications", we intend to exercise more authority with our clients when it comes to advising them on their marketing campaigns moving forward.

There are times when our clients have slightly rigid mentalities about how to approach certain aspects of their marketing campaign. Sometimes, these are approaches that we know – based on our experience – are not ideal for the campaign objectives they’re setting out to achieve.

The awards and the certification really give us the confidence and the legitimacy to exercise our expertise and authority on influencer marketing with clients. We plan to be more conscientious about adopting the optimal marketing strategies for our clients moving forward, to really focus on being specialists in what we do and winning over the right types of customers.

What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?

I think the whole pandemic situation really highlighted the importance of being invulnerable to external changes. Something we say a lot within Kobe is that we don’t want to be driven by fear, but to be led by our dreams. We realised that we need to be resilient to anything that’s thrown our way, instead of waiting aimlessly for the things around us to return to normal. In order to create such an environment, we decided that we needed to look at making remote working a more permanent way of life in Kobe.

Having gone through telecommuting and realising that it works, it’s difficult to revert back to old modes of working. Everyone has fundamentally changed as result of going through the lockdown and working from home. Ignoring these changes and experiences in the hopes of returning to a pre-pandemic way of working is unrealistic and futile.

At the same time, the way we utilise our physical office space will need to change too. Something I realised is that, post-lockdown, we really treasure the time we have in the office together. We’re more excited to be around each other now. This excitement is prime fuel for passion, creativity and productivity. The purpose for having a physical space today is really about tapping this positive, collaborative energy rather than simply clocking into work every day as a routine. We’re redesigning our office space to make it more welcoming and comfortable in order to facilitate this.

What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

We believe that no one person or team is better at marketing than anyone else. Each person has a different perspective, a unique sense of creativity, and their own set of experiences. Good marketing will leverage the minds and capabilities of the everyday person. The best marketing work is often generated from the unlikeliest of collaborations.

That’s also why we believe that influencer marketing has really grown in the last few years. People are starting to realise that crowdsourcing the ideas and talents of the everyday consumer leads to great marketing campaigns and results. When people stop relying solely on their own abilities and start collaborating, we see lots of great chemistry and sparks, which always leads to better results than we might have achieved individually.

How are you planning for 2021?

We’re planning to move heavily into Southeast Asian markets – we’ve set up teams in six other countries in the region: Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar. I think we now have the capability to service a variety of local campaigns in these countries’ local languages.

The Southeast Asian market is often grouped together as one unified region, but the reality is that Southeast Asia is very, very diverse. No single approach will work for the region as a whole. At the same time, it’s a worthwhile endeavour because we’re seeing huge growth in many of these countries.

We think we’ve come up with the right approach for each country and are ready to expand into these markets. Look forward to more news on that in the year ahead!

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