An increasing number of companies are actively seeking to nurture social media influencers, with expectation that their experimenting with new formats and platforms will set new trends in marketing activities and help attract the elusive millennials, company officials said Monday.
The moves come as influencer marketing has appeared recently to have a ripple effect across a wide range of industries.
"Companies' investments to nurture influencers are not only aimed at improving sales and marketing effectiveness, but also aimed at helping young people better find jobs or establish startups," an official from one of the conglomerates said.
|Kia Motors operates its "VIKTuber" program to nurture YouTube creators specializing in cars of the future. / Courtesy of Kia Motors|
The company said the program is designed to support creation of unconventional content beyond existing formats.
The firm received applications from May 28 to June 21, and tasked selected applicants with creating video clips related to Kia Motors once a month from July to October.
The car company pays 200 million won ($16,500) in activity costs to selected applicants and offers training on video production and editing as well as vehicles for trial rides.
"Existing content about cars has mostly focused on technical aspects. We expect content created by VIKTubers to be fresh and ingenious," a Kia Motors official said.
Hanwha Group has operated the "DREAMPLUS Travel Creator" (DTC) program aimed at nurturing creators specializing in content related to travel, which has emerged as a promising occupation recently.
The eight-week program includes education from professional content producers and lectures from CEOs of startups in the travel and leisure sectors.
The company supports 4 million won in activity costs including travel expenses.
"DTC is part of our social contribution activities to help university students who are interested in travel and content production get a job in the area or set up a relevant startup," a Hanwha Group official said.
The company noted that 55 out of 80 students who underwent the DTC program have been recruited by Hanwha affiliates as well as other companies such as CJ, NHN and EBS, and tasked with content creation and marketing activities.
As the program has been well-received in Korea, the company is also running the program in Vietnam with 18 students in the Southeast Asian country, it said.
|Vietnamese student participants of Hanwha Group's DREAMPLUS Travel Creator pose in this photo provided by the company, Monday. / Courtesy of Hanwha Group|
KT opened its Creator Factory Center in May to nurture media creators, providing education on shooting and editing videos as well as necessary equipment.
Shinhan Bank launched its "Shinhan Influencer" program in July to support its employees' activities on YouTube and other social media platforms.
"Shinhan Bank will utilize the Shinhan Influencer as another marketing channel to enhance communication with young customers," a Shinhan Bank official said.
|Shinhan Bank CEO Jin Ok-dong, center, poses for a photo with employees during a ceremony to launch the Shinhan Influencer program in central Seoul, July 29. / Courtesy of Shinhan Bank|