January 27, 2021
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Influencer marketing is making an impact on businesses around the world. And since Asia is one of the fastest evolving markets, it makes sense that companies in this area would lead the way. Kobe is one platform that’s working on this in the Asian Market. In addition to utilizing an emerging marketing tactic, the company uses new tech to set it apart.

Learn more about the company and what sets it apart in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Facilitates influencer marketing campaigns.

Founder Evangeline Leong told Small Business Trends, “We manage end-to-end influencer marketing campaigns and utilise a self-developed, patented Artificial Intelligence-driven platform to pair advertisers with the optimal influencers for their brand.”

Business Niche

Integrating AI into the platform.

Leong says, “Our system maps campaign objectives to a wide array of factors using image recognition and natural language recognition. It then intelligently auto-generates influencer suggestions, along with recommended fees, that clients can then review and select. It is also able to provide strong, quantitative metrics in order to reflect returns on investment for businesses.”

How the Business Got Started

After a conversation with a vendor.

Leong explains, “The name Kobe means ‘word-of-mouth’ in mandarin and was inspired by a humble noodle food stall in Singapore. When I saw the fierce competition and rising costs of operation, I asked the stall owner what his secret recipe to success was. His answer was simple: ‘My word-of-mouth recommendation is good.’ This piqued my interest and got me thinking about how I could scale word-of-mouth marketing for businesses out there in the world.”

Biggest Win

Winning an award.

Leong says, “We very recently won the Gold and Local Hero awards for the Influencer Agency of the Year category in the Marketing Magazine’s Agency of the Year Awards 2020. The awards are a major event that draw in submissions from some of the largest ad/marketing firms in the world.”

Biggest Risk

Starting with no investors.

Leong adds, “Influencer marketing was a very, very new and niche concept at the time. And nobody believed that it would be a viable business model for a marketing agency. I mortgaged my house and sold my car to come up with the venture capital for the business.”

Lesson Learned

Be careful who you work with.

In the company’s first year in business, Leong says they made some poor judgements regarding their team. As a result, they ended up losing a database and access to the AI system they had been developing. However, it worked out in the end.

Leong adds, “At one point, it seemed as though we would have to go to court over the issue. Thankfully, we didn’t.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Supporting the team.

Leong says, “I would invest that into people – helping our current employees to grow and rewarding them appropriately for their work.”

Team Motto

Fail fast, learn fast.

Leong explains, “Everyone is encouraged to raise suggestions and try out new things. We avoid hierarchy, so everyone takes charge – and ownership – of their own tasks in the company.”

Favorite Quote

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.” – Patrick Rothfuss.

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Image: Kobe, Evangeline Leong and Cha Lin

This article, “Spotlight: Kobe Puts a New Spin on Influencer Marketing with AI Platform” was first published on Small Business Trends