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The Wednesday Stack: A Penthouse View on Influencers

You need to know: Zyper

Some events are just a little stranger than others; and not necessarily in a bad way. The Beekman Regent is a high-end apartment building in midtown New York. At the base level is an ornate 1893 school building; the apartment tower, erected on the foundation of the original building, was completed in 2001. “Apartments feature 24-karat gold hardware, Giordano Italian brown mahogany floors and raised panel doors, marble window sills, 24-karat gold hardware, full-size Maytag washers and vented dryers, and marble whirlpool baths.”

Among the apartments are a series of penthouses with sweeping views of the East River. And Penthouse Number One is the home of the UK Trade Commissioner for North America.  It’s luxurious, as advertised, and the walls are hung with paintings by the likes of Andy Warhol, and probably originals. The Commissioner really does live there; it’s not just an event space. 

Because of course I was there for a marketing event: a fireside chat with the founder of Zyper (rhymes with “wiper”). The remarkable career of the founder of Zyper explains the British trade connection. Amber Atherton, born only 28 years ago in Hong Kong, is British, and indeed something of a celebrity in that land. The kind of person who gets photographed by paparazzi in the park while exercising. She was a teenage model (she’s startlingly tall), she founded an eCommerce jewelry company aged 17, she was a Forbes 30 Under 30 winner, she became a familiar face on British TV, and she excelled as an online influencer.

Which is exactly the interesting thing about Zyper. Atherton founded Zyper two years ago in the UK with support from seed accelerator Y Combinator,. The company is now based in San Francisco, and as Atherton explained, was created to address influencer fatigue. Yes, influencer marketing is relatively recent, and building data and science around it more recent still, but according to Atherton it’s over. It’s expensive, it’s largely inauthentic, and the ROI is disappointing.

Zyper’s alternative proffer is brand communities. Essentially, it’s a community platform for brand loyalists and advocates. Nothing new about brand communities, you might well say. But — and here comes the AI — this isn’t about customers discovering and joining communities, as they might follow a brand’s Facebook page. Zyper uses algorithms, NLP, and image recognition technology to crawl the web on behalf of their clients, discover brand fans “in the wild,” and invite them to join the communities. This, says Atherton, makes the fans feel especially valued and favored, and Zyper says it has impressive loyalty stats to prove it.

Oh, and they have some impressive brand clients too: Kellogg’s, Dior, Lyft, LVMH. I don’t know that we’ll be hearing less about influencer marketing, but I have a feeling we’ll hear more about this alternative.


On more familiar ground, here comes Adobe with a couple of data-related updates to the Experience Platform, the engine which drives personalized customer experiences to Adobe’s customer-facing applications:

  • AEP Query Service, a quick route to pulling stored data-sets and getting rapid insights, and
  • AEP Data Science Workspace, to help streamline the data science workflow and automate repetitive tasks, in a workspace hosting Adobe’s pre-built Sensei AI models, and hospitable to third-party or custom-built models too.

Much more detail from Adobe here


Following up on our recently coverage about how popular discovery platform Pinterest has made itself ever more retail-oriented (“shoppable”) and friendly to advertisers:. yesterday, it announced the capability to view brand catalogs alongside Pins, and to received personalized shopping ideas through a user’s home feed.

All of these recent features over the last year help further distinguish Pinterest from social media, but so now does the data. New research from Neustar concluded that retail brands who advertise on Pinterest achieved twice the return on ad spend (ROAS) that they get on paid social. Also, the five major brands included in this multi-touch attribution study scored 1.3 times higher return on Pinterest than on paid search. — Chris Wood


And what’s Monday? National Work Like a Dog Day?  Yes, yes, but it’s also the day we announce the winners of the 2019 DMN 40UNDER40 Awards. Stay tuned.

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