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Gatorade, Coffee Meets Bagel Turned To This Under-The-Radar Agency For Influencer Campaigns – The Secret To Their Standout Work

Uncharted Agency co-founders Victor Wong and Edward Kwag are on a mission to help creators and influencers thrive. Launched in July 2023, the talent management startup takes a creator-centric approach, focusing on securing quality brand deals and building strong talent partnerships.

Having met in university, the two aspiring entrepreneurs bonded over their shared interest in their desire to build a business together. “We really wanted to help creators who weren’t quite sure how to get brand sponsorships,” says Victor. “And we really just wanted to help them land that dream brand deal. So that was kind of the message behind [Uncharted Agency] as well.”

Gatorade, Coffee Meets Bagel Turned To This Under-The-Radar Agency For Influencer Campaigns – The Secret To Their Standout Work

Victor Wong & Edward Kwag

The idea for Uncharted came about after hearing complaints from influencer friends about issues they faced working with established agencies. “Some of them do take advantage of [creators]. It happens a lot,” explains Edward. “Some definitely feel like they are not valued.”

In response, Victor and Edward decided to launch Uncharted with a creator-centric approach. “What we want to do is definitely have more of a creative, focused mindset towards influencer management, where we really try our best to look out for our creators,” says Edward. 

With six creators signed, the agency is selective about who they bring on, ensuring each receives hands-on support. “Even with deals that come in and campaigns we work with, we work with them throughout every single stage of the content creation process.”

This hands-on approach means Uncharted has taken a measured pace to growth, thoughtfully selecting creators to work with rather than rapidly scaling. “[Signing a new creator] is a very, very big decision for us,” says Victor. “We don’t take that decision lightly.”

As they’ve built Uncharted, the duo has faced challenges, from the steep learning curve of an unfamiliar industry to balancing their startup with full-time jobs. However, they credit open communication with their creator partners in helping them improve and succeed. “It was genuine partnerships with our creators because there were many points where they actually had more experience than us,” explains Edward. “And so we look to them as peers and say, ‘Hey, what can we be doing better?’”

Uncharted has already facilitated impactful campaigns with major brands like Gatorade and Coffee Meets Bagel, while a partnership with the dating app during AAPI Heritage Month held special meaning for the two Asian Australian founders.

Gatorade, Coffee Meets Bagel Turned To This Under-The-Radar Agency For Influencer Campaigns – The Secret To Their Standout Work

Uncharted’s Streamlined Services for Quality Brand Deals

When it comes to the services Uncharted Agency offers its creator clients, Victor and Edward aim to keep things streamlined and focused. “In terms of the services, I think we try to keep it as simple as possible,” explains Edward. “So it’s just about keeping our talent happy and not only getting them to collaborate with high-quality brands but high-quality deals as well.”

Rather than getting caught up in industry buzzwords or tangential offerings, the agency zeros in on the core needs of its creators. “We’re mainly focused on brand deal sourcing and negotiations and helping creators manage all of their campaigns,” notes Victor.

This straightforward approach extends to Uncharted’s onboarding process for new clients. “When we have a first call with them, it’ll just be an hour chat about their life and getting to know them better…just seeing creators for who they are and actual people rather than just money and objects to utilize to negotiate deals,” says Edward.

Strong Networks and Transparency to Power Through Challenges 

One key challenge Victor and Edward see creators facing is determining how to price their services. “Influencer marketing is one where there are no set prices, there are no pricing guidelines,” explains Victor. “Every single brand, every single campaign will be different depending on what the brand is actually optimizing for.”

On the brand side, Uncharted has found connecting with key decision-makers a hurdle, as many large brands outsource influencer marketing to agencies. Zooming out, the founders note the macro trend of rising creator rates and tightening brand budgets amid inflation poses an industry-wide challenge.

The influencer agency prioritizes building strong networks within the creator economy to stay ahead of the curve. “Having a strong network of other experts within the industry means that when changes do happen, and trends do occur, we’ll at least be one of the first people to know about it, which gives us the most amount of time to adapt,” says Edward.

Uncharted also centers on transparency as a key to establishing a foothold in the industry. “We’re very transparent about everything,” notes Edwards. “We talk about the deal size, the total revenue that we’ve generated, and the creators that we work with. And so it’s all there within the public domain.”

Gatorade, Coffee Meets Bagel Turned To This Under-The-Radar Agency For Influencer Campaigns – The Secret To Their Standout Work
Gatorade, Coffee Meets Bagel Turned To This Under-The-Radar Agency For Influencer Campaigns – The Secret To Their Standout Work

Victor Wong Edward Kwag

Gatorade & Coffee Meets Bagel Campaigns Showcase Uncharted’s Impact

Two brand collaborations Uncharted Agency facilitated stand out for founders Victor and Edward. The first was a campaign with Gatorade to promote their Gatorade Zero line. “I think it’s been baseline, which is like, wow, we’ve worked with a name brand like this. That was really sick,” says Victor.

The second was a partnership with the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel focused on empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) during AAPI Heritage Month. “That campaign was based around the Asian American…just to empower Asian Americans. I think that was really cool as well,” notes Victor.

For the entrepreneurial duo, who are both Asian Australians, the Coffee Meets Bagel campaign held special significance. “It’s a message we stand behind, so I think that one meant a lot to us,” says Victor. The campaign also showcased Uncharted’s reach, as they secured the partnership for all of the creators they represented at the time.

Uncharted Founders Cite Passion and Consistency as Ingredients for Success 

For creators looking to make their mark in the influencer economy, Victor and Edward offer several key pieces of advice. First and foremost, they emphasize the importance of focusing on a niche you’re genuinely passionate about.

“Pick something that you are genuinely interested in,” says Victor. “Look at your hobbies. Like what do you like to do in your free time? And just find something you truly enjoy and are passionate about because people naturally gravitate towards that.”

Beyond passion, providing value to your audience is crucial. “Look at how you can provide value towards your creators, whether that is just through entertaining videos or knowledge or information,” he advises.

Building a strong community is also essential for long-term success. “It’s definitely more important to have sustainable growth and have a long-lasting audience rather than someone that just watches your video when it pops off due to the algorithm,” notes Victor.

Edward points to Uncharted creators who embody these principles, like Scott (@scotthoho), a fitness influencer who creates content to help others build confidence, and Jen (@l_yuhann), a creator who started a popular TikTok channel to help other Asians with unique skin concerns. “Since no one else is doing it, she just created the channel because she was filling a gap that she wished she had at the time,” explains Edward.

Lastly, Victor stresses the importance of creating content you’re proud of rather than getting caught up in metrics. “Especially when you’re just starting off, it’s definitely best to create content that you can personally enjoy by yourself,” he says. A lot of creators care too much about the actual views and engagement that videos get rather than the quality and how proud they are of their own content.”

Gatorade, Coffee Meets Bagel Turned To This Under-The-Radar Agency For Influencer Campaigns – The Secret To Their Standout Work

Uncharted’s Vision: Steady Growth, Strong Partnerships, and a Thriving Creator Community

As Uncharted Agency looks to the future, its founding partners have clear goals in mind. They aim to continue growing steadily while maintaining close relationships with the creators they represent. “We don’t want to grow too fast because we want to make sure that we’re not leaving any creators behind,” explains Victor.

Building a strong creator community is also a top priority. “Once we do, I think it will eventually get to a point where we will need to hire help,” he says. “So just making sure that we do hire people that kind of share the same vision as us, that also truly care about our creators as well.”

Edward emphasizes the importance of consistent progress. “We still want to grow. We still want to onboard more creators. We want to become better at it as well and meet more high-quality brands and do more high-quality deals,” he notes. “But it’s basically just taking it step by step.”

For those contemplating creating their agencies, Edward offers simple but powerful advice: just get started. “You don’t need to have everything planned to a T,” he says. “A lot of this stuff with entrepreneurship is figuring stuff out along the way.”

Victor echoes this sentiment, encouraging a collaborative mindset over a competitive one. “Especially in a space like this where there’s not a lot of transparency between pricing brands and other agencies, prioritize collaborating with others and providing value to them,” he advises.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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