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Jordan Epstein talks Good Vibes, influencer marketing and social media in the metaverse

Johannesburg-born-and-Sandton-based, Jordan Epstein is considered a leading mind on what's next in culture, digital and the internet. Epstein recognises trends early and creates marketing strategies to help brands amplify anything and understand their consumer behaviour.

Whether it’s in lifestyle, entertainment, marketing, digital or cryptocurrency, Epstein knows and understands how to bring brand relevance to the front line and ultimately monetize anything you do.

We find out more from the creative entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Good Vibes Lifestyle Agency...

Founder and CEO of Good Vibes Lifestyle Agency, Jordan Epstein
Founder and CEO of Good Vibes Lifestyle Agency, Jordan Epstein

Can you tell us a little more about Good Vibes?

Good Vibes is a new-era, creative and experiential advertising agency that focuses on digital platform campaigns by utilising its large talent base of influencers. We specialise in creating innovative ROI focussed digital campaigns for global brands, businesses and products.

Through our partnership with some of Africa’s top influencers, digital personalities and artists, we are able to create culturally relevant captivating global campaigns for its clients allowing them to connect in a more meaningful way with the targeted audience. This has allowed our agency to evolve into what is fundamentally a full-service marketing firm.

When, how and why did you get started?

We are a relatively new agency that emerged after many years of relationship and network building with our brand client base as well as local and international talent.

The emergence of digital platforms has opened the door for smaller agencies like Good Vibes to lay down its special innovative footprint on what is becoming, if not already, the primary focus of the future of marketing. I saw what I believed was an untapped space in the market here in Africa which I believe has unmeasured potential.

It definitely started from a young age for me, I’ve always been interested and passionate about business and the art of creating opportunity, whether it be bringing innovative new products or services to the market or enhancing existing products or services the thrill of succeeding and seeing something grow that you’ve created can’t be matched. I love what I do and I don’t even consider it work.

What is the core function of Good Vibes?

We are a marketing and experiential service provider who utilises digital platforms to create brand awareness to an already accessible potential user base through our influencer networks. This new era methodology allows clients to market their products at a fraction of the cost rather than traditional methods to an accessible existing client base.

Some of our clients include Steve Madden, OctaFX, Rockets Group, Sprite, Smirnoff, Diesel, Luminary Jewellery, Metropolitan Cosmetics, Luc Belaire and many more.

BizcommunityWhat are some of the obstacles you've had to face since you started?

Obviously, with the Covid-19 pandemic, things have been tough for many small and large businesses alike. Social restrictions have been hampering especially when a huge part of our business involves networking with talent and creating relationships on a social level as well as on a professional level. I always say With Adversity Comes Opportunity which is definitely the case as social restrictions limit physical interaction this in effect has brought an ever-growing audience to social media platforms.

How is Good Vibes shaping the social media and influencer marketing industry?

Good Vibes is bringing a challenger approach to influencer marketing; we see it as a creator economy. We uplift influencers and creators by putting them in the boardroom so that they can also own those conversations. Diversity and inclusion is important — we work with a diverse range of influencers and help build and sustain the culture which is why our services are more than just transactional. We really are investing in the future of influencer marketing… especially when it gets into the metaverse ;)

Influencer marketing is such a huge thing right now. What are some of the trends we can see happening in this space?

Influencer marketing is fast becoming a staple in brand marketing strategies and rollouts for 2022 with TikTok and Instagram being breeding grounds for most of the talent we work with. Obviously, if we’re talking specifics in SA, the Amapiano trend is the hottest genre blowing up at the moment with new tracks and challenges emerging almost every week on social media. The genre itself is completely viral and is definitely one of the trends to look out for in 2022.

Augmented Reality is also fast becoming consumers' preferred way to try-on products and interact with brands. Worldwide, TikTok will dominate the social media space for 2022 and will gain the biggest share of the influencer marketing 'pie' as the platform generates the most engagement out of all social media networks.

Another thing to look out for is influencer-led e-commerce stores where influencers with large followings are now opening up their own e-commerce stores and platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, that have made in-app purchasing easier for the consumer and audiences.

Other massive trends include the NFT market with influencers creating their own NFT collections and podcasts which audiences find more engaging as they are unfiltered and uncensored. Also, big hype around virtual reality and the metaverse — it’s the future!

How does it work? Do brands approach influences, or do influences approach brands?

Mainly brands approach us, as an agency, to create and carve an online footprint for them, building a marketing strategy that involves our expertise of onboarding the right influencer with the right brand, getting the right fit is essential to success. Obviously, sometimes brands approach us wanting a certain influencer that they feel will represent their brand in a way they envisage and can relate to.

What is the process of assigning an influencer to a brand?

When an influencer puts their name to a brand it’s essential that they feel comfortable endorsing it and it must be believable that they would actually utilise the product. It is imperative that the entire process from start to finish looks as organic as possible. This is one of the main key elements of influencer marketing, the campaign needs to look as non-contrived as possible so that consumers and audiences can actually buy into what is being advertised. People will always follow like-minded people so a mismatch on a product or a brand can be quite disastrous.

Consumers want to see authentic influencers. Are brands still using influencers just because of their following or do they align with the brand values?

Like I said previously a mismatch between a brand and an influencer can become a futile exercise. If the influencer's followers cannot relate to the brand being promoted then the whole process will be a bust. It has to be believable for a campaign to be successful. Influencers know that when they are putting their name to something there is a chance it can affect them negatively and they’re wise to that, that’s why influencers rely on us as an agency to align them with the right brand and product. In this instant digital media age, one false move can end careers as has been seen many times.

What happens when the brand decides to use an influencer but then doesn’t see any ROI?

Like with all businesses there are risks and desired results are not always achieved, no one wants disappointment. Obviously, we would sit down with the client and the influencer and review the reasons behind the negative ROI and try to rectify the problem with the right solution either with a campaign adjustment or take it back to the drawing board. This is why it’s essential to align the right brand with the right influencer.

When it comes to the metaverse, will social media still have a big impact?

Of course, the metaverse will just take social media to the next level as an even more interactive version. The biggest social media platforms in the world, Facebook and Instagram have rebranded as “Meta” - to help build the metaverse: a place where one can connect in 3D augmented reality, it is the next evolution of social connection. The metaverse spaces will allow you to socialise, learn, trade and collaborate in ways that go beyond what anyone can imagine.

Essentially, as an influencer or agency in the metaverse, you can render your services to pretty much anyone throughout the globe without fear of censorship and decentralisation. The metaverse actually creates creator equity as there are no guidelines and limitations or overarching authority telling you what you can and can’t post. This can give agencies and influencers access to a global landscape where opportunity is endless with the shift to virtual augmented reality.

Connection is evolving, if you look where we were 20 years ago from where we are now — imagine the next 20 years? It's definitely the next step in the internet revolution and Good Vibes is passionate about pushing the concept to as many brands, clients and friends as possible.

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