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Brands plan to spend more on social media campaigns this summer and this new start-up is here to ride that wave

Aaron Brooks

Digital influencer marketing start-up, Visual Amplifiers (VAMP) recently launched in Australia as marketers continue to increase their focus and spend on social media.

According to Saleforce’s 2015 State of Marketing report, 85 per cent of marketers in Australia were planning to increase or maintain spend, with an increased spending focus on mobile apps and social media.

Brands are now expected to kick-off their summer campaigns with a strong focus on leveraging social influencing to increase their reach and engagement in a more authentic way.

Marketwired’s most recent survey “Are You a #ContentMachine?”, released in December last year, showed that three in five (61 per cent) PR and marketing professionals were already using influencers and brand advocates to help amplify their content, reach new audiences and increase engagement.

How exactly does VAMP work?

VAMP’s business model is built around tech, identifying the right talent for each campaign and developing a platform to manage and assist talent with their own brand as entrepreneurs going forward.

VAMP provides a single end-to-end solution to brands from recruiting, product distribution and talent payment. VAMP-recruited Instagram talent produce high quality, custom content, designed to increase exposure and reach of the brand through mass aggregation of talent audiences.

“Our end-to-end solution makes it incredibly easy for brands to launch campaigns and coupled with the rigor of our proprietary technology and analytics, they can have the confidence that the campaign will deliver on their objectives,” co-founder, Aaron Brooks said.

VAMP has already worked on a number of campaigns with brands including Schweppes, Toby’s Estate, Uniqlo, Pacifica Optical, Vittoria Coffee, General Pants and The Horse. The start-up also completed a $2 million Series A round of funding in 2015.

According to Meredith Young, Communications Manager, Toby’s Estate, working with social talent had led to the creation of very unique content that would typically be produced in house, with the difference that this content was tailored to talent’s audience.

“The imagery that has come out of this campaign is spectacular and it is great to be aligned with social talent who has a natural affinity to the brand, which has given this campaign another layer of authenticity,” Ms Young said.

What gap in the market is VAMP filling?

Aaron says brands are now looking for more authentic and effective ways to reach potential customers, remarking, “Channels such as Instagram allow for creativity and variety in the content produced by influencers when they feel passionately about the product.”

“This is not just about brands buying exposure but also the creativity that comes from the influencer. The talent creatively represents the product to make it more relatable and approachable for the talent’s audience,” he went on to explain.

“We want to help brands more authentically connect with consumers by leveraging the creative interpretation of VAMP influencers who have a natural alignment to the brand.

“Word of mouth or influencer marketing isn’t new but social media channels are enabling the organic spread of relevant content,” Aaron highlighted.

What is the story behind VAMP?

We caught up with Aaron to tell us more about himself and the journey that led him to his social media marketing start-up, Visual Amplifiers. Below is what he had to share with Anthill.

Aaron Brooks
Aaron Brooks

Who is Aaron Brooks? How did you end up starting VAMP?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and it’s helped me make my way in the world.

I left school early eager to work and tried everything from retail to hospitality until I got a break with CBS Interactive in direct marketing ad sales. Early on it was in sales that I really found my niche and I quickly moved up the ranks.

CBS moved me to London in 2010 to manage their bigger accounts across Europe but it was about this time I started to identify an even bigger opportunity in the technology space and I knew that my next move would be to a major tech company.

From there I went on to prove myself in several small technology startups, which ultimately provided me with my big break in tech sales with Oracle. At Oracle I learnt enterprise sales and excelled managing large-scale key accounts.

Interestingly, my detour with start-ups on my way to Oracle ended up inspiring me to start my own company and after two successful years with Oracle I took the leap and, in partnership with Digital4ge, I co-founded Visual Amplifiers.

What exactly inspired you to start VAMP?

VAMP was born out of a business strategy ideation session in collaboration with Digital4ge. We identified some key trends in the ad marketplace that we felt we could leverage with a new business opportunity.

  1. Internet as an advertising medium is on trend to overtake television by the end of the decade. (source: Steve King, ZenithOptimedia’s CEO, Worldwide)
    2. Increasingly digital advertising is blocked by ad blockers. $22 billion in global ad revenue was blocked in 2015 alone. (source: PageFair/Adobe Report)
    3. Marketers were looking to word of mouth or influencer marketing to help reach new consumers but didn’t quite know how to make it work for their brands.
    4. Digital influencers were becoming savvy marketers in their own right and developing thousands of devoted followers interested in their point of view and the products they loved.

These trends led us to the sweet spot intersection of digital channels, brands and savvy influencers and we knew that there was a serious opportunity for us to build a business leveraging the three.

Brands and agencies aren’t built to recruit, manage, deliver and pay separated talent. VAMP is. Our end-to-end service makes it easy for brands and agencies.

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