Popular influencers on the Lōkahi Hawai‘i Influencer Marketing Campaign trip included Mr. Yabatan, Riana Mine, Erika Aizawa, Kaho Shibuya, Reina Saito, Julian Domanski, and Noah Ishikura and Seina Shimabukuro from the reality show “Terrace House.”
Keep reading for exclusive insights on this influencer marketing campaign and the creator economy from Future Collective’s Producer and Creative Director, Danny Gallagher.
Gen Z And Millennial Brand Experts At Future Collective Launch Lōkahi Hawai‘i Influencer Marketing Campaign
The Inspiration Behind the Campaign
Future Collective is relatively new to the industry as an agency, although its team has over a hundred years of collective industry experience.
Danny shares, “In Japan, track records and case studies are everything. The Japanese aren’t much for innovation –they’re actually very risk-averse, and they need to see that it can be done before they move forward and invest in it… We wanted to pick something that was relatively meta, something big, that practically any brand in Japan couldn’t really ignore.”
The campaign focused on tourism-dependent economies like Hawaiʻi and Japan, which were significantly affected during the pandemic.
Danny explains, “Japan and Hawaiʻi have a close sister relationship, and our economies depend greatly upon each other. Even though Hawaiʻi opened up a year earlier than Japan did, neither of us has quite recovered from the damage done.”
The desire to inspire more tourism led to this campaign, emphasizing unity and togetherness in a post-COVID world.
For the campaign, the Future Collective team chose influencers with a primary demographic of Japanese users ages 18 to 34, leading to a roster of influencers primarily in their twenties and thirties.
Danny says, “TikTok is still relatively new in Japan, so we wanted to do something fresh and innovative while leaning into our knowledge of short-form content. TikTok was the perfect partner this time, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t open to working with veterans like Instagram or YouTube.”
In addition to partnering with influencers and TikTok Japan, Future Collective collaborated with various partners aligned with the campaign’s objectives.
Danny shares that the island community is relatively small, so working together is the only option for a seamless campaign.
He adds, “We’re fortunate to have the support of industry people and friends… We kind of look at it like assembling the Avengers. Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses and plays their own role and have their own movies, and they do their own thing, and then we just brought them all together to take this campaign.”
Customizing Content Strategies by Platform
Most content creators share posts across multiple platforms, which is ideal for brand reach and engagement. A unique aspect of this campaign is the newness of TikTok and Twitch in Japan, as these platforms are primarily focused on user acquisition in Japan now.
Danny shares, “They [TikTok and Twitch] are more focused on getting people to sign up in Japan, so that was their big incentive for working with us and to dangle the carrot of a free trip to Hawaiʻi to get Japanese users to sign up.”
Exclusive content on TikTok successfully drove account signups and new repeat traffic.
How Was Lōkahi (Togetherness) Infused into the Content and Experiences?
Hawaiʻi and Japan have a long history together, with many ties to this day.
Danny says, “We wanted to make sure that our influencers got to experience a side of Hawaiʻi that wasn’t so gimmicky and commercial… The goal was to make sure their experience was more intimate than they would get if they just spoke with the tourists.”
This up-close, intimate experience gave the influencers a deeper understanding of Hawaiʻian culture and the unity that bonds Hawaiians together.
Measuring the Campaign’s Success
Future Collective heavily focused on performance metrics such as impressions and engagements from TikTok Japan’s perspective.
He explains, “The more eyes we have on this campaign and its content, the better. Of course, actually having content creators submit video entries for the contest giveaway is also a really important metric.”
Likes, shares, comments, and views were all heavily prioritized.
Influencer Marketing Trends
Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly a huge industry disrupter that many are excited and nervous about, especially in the creator economy.
Danny shares, “Even in the last three months, AI has done some pretty crazy stuff. Don’t get me wrong – AI has been around forever. People are acting like it’s something super new, and this version is, but AI has been used in pretty much anything with automation.”
For example, when using the self-checkout at the grocery store, this technology uses AI. However, AI is now at a new level when considering tools like Chat GPT, which can write scripts or brainstorm prompts.
Danny adds, “I think we have to surrender to the fact that it’s here and not going anywhere. We just have to adapt and evolve with it.”
Danny shares that he views AI as an opportunity, and this is just the newest technology. People will get on board with it and be able to create amazing things with it, and those that don’t keep up will be left behind.
Changes to Foster Innovation and Inclusivity for Content Creators in Japan
Danny shares that he is more interested in seeing Japanese content creators open up, be more vulnerable, and be more expressive in their content.
He explains, “Japanese culture is lovely and beautiful, but it has a lot of flaws that the average person doesn’t see… There’s a dark underbelly of Japanese culture with passive aggressiveness, depression, and withholding, and it’s too polite… I hope they think and express themselves in a way that just comes from the purest part of their soul as opposed to what they think everyone else wants to hear.”
Danny adds that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, especially for its smaller population, and much of this is attributed to pressure within the culture.
Burnout and a lack of focus on individual mental health are significant contributing factors to this – so much so that Danny plans on raising more awareness around suicide prevention in Japan in the future.
Danny says, “We need to start talking more about it, especially with men. Men are supposed to not cry and all these kinds of things, but it doesn’t work like that. It’s a damn shame. We deserve love, too, and society hasn’t made it acceptable for dudes to talk to each other. I’m hoping we can do something to bring awareness to it.”
The Japanese Influencer Marketing Industry
In Japan, celebrity marketing is still prevalent. In contrast, it’s lost most of its appeal in Western cultures.
Danny predicts that Japanese audiences will eventually lose interest in celebrity marketing and place more emphasis on authentic, everyday influencers for advice and product recommendations.
He adds, “It will only make sense for brands to get behind influencers and content creators that synergize well with their brand and create a long-term relationship with them.”