Social Media evolution: from MSN to Clubhouse

Credits: Pixabay / LoboStudioHamburg

It’s hard to imagine our daily lives without social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Cooperations with influencers is an essential part of our business, and even in private we like to be inspired on Pinterest, entertained on YouTube and connected on LinkedIn. But if we think back to how this madness started and remember our MSN or ICQ days, it’s quite amazing how quickly social networks have evolved and differentiated. Today, there are countless platforms and networks for a wide variety of purposes. We would like to introduce you to the milestones and evolution of today’s most important social media.

Big Bang: It ward Internet and with it unlimited possibilities.

With the (public) access to the World Wide Web, the horizon in terms of communication, networking and online representation expanded. The first ancestor of social media as we know it today were the so-called Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) aka mailboxes in the early eighties, which made it possible to exchange messages online between different users of a platform. In the nineties, more precisely in 1995, MSN, Microsoft’s social network, appeared as one of the first social media prototypes designed to allow users to create their own profiles. The main competitor was ICQ, which was launched by the start-up Mirabilis in 1996 and bought by AOL in 1998. While the use of MSN initially depended on the use of paid Microsoft utilities, ICQ was accessible free of charge from the outset. The instant messenger was considered the market leader at the turn of the millennium, but the competition never sleeps…

Exponential growth of the social media population

Shortly thereafter, the networks LinkedIn (2002) and its German competitor XING, then known as OpenBC (2003), were launched. While both were primarily designed for business use, MySpace and Skype from 2003 onwards appealed more to private users, MySpace even with a specific focus on musicians and artists. Skype, by the way, was so popular that it was bought by eBay in 2005 and by Microsoft in 2011. Facebook and Google were also extremely interested in the platform. Speaking of Facebook… Mark Zuckerberg launched the blue network just a year later, in 2004, and started his media empire, which dominates the market to this day with Instagram and WhatsApp. Instagram, however, wasn’t released until 2010 and was bought by Zuckerberg’s people in 2012. Shortly after Facebook, YouTube also appeared in 2005 and Twitter in 2006. Meanwhile in Germany: the networks studiVZ, SchülerVZ and meinVZ are launched by a subsidiary of Holtzbrinck Verlag and establish themselves as online communities for students and pupils. At the start of the studiVZ career in 2005, Facebook was still only available in English. The boom years of social media were clearly the 2000s. But even today, new networks are still being founded and used, such as TikTok and Clubhouse.

Survival of the fittest: What do we actively use today?

Hardly anyone still actively uses MSN or ICQ. Some of the older communities no longer exist. SchülerVZ, for example, was shut down in 2013. Its “mother” studiVZ was also supposed to die in 2020 but is still online. ICQ, on the other hand, has just been relaunched and is available under the innovative name ICQ New (creativity at its best). Still, there are a handful of social networks that have been actively growing since the 2000s and are still evolving with new updates and features, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Recently, however, Clubhouse and TikTok are absolutely among them, though TikTok isn’t even as new as you might think. The pioneer app musical.ly has been around since 2014 and was replaced by TikTok in 2018. Pinterest, which has been a constant success story since 2010, has not yet been mentioned, but it is at least as relevant as Twitter and the like. Here, it’s less about news spread or representing oneself and more about inspiration and living out creativity through uploads of appealing images on various topics. As soon as ZUCKER. has a brainstorming session, we like to scroll through the depths of Pinterest and get inspired by the endless number of mood boards.

Credits: Unsplash / Szabo Viktor

The diversity of social networks is truly amazing! It’s not easy to keep track of everything here, and it’s absolutely not necessary to be represented in every community. That can be quite time-consuming. In addition, we should always critically question the contributions in the networks, as well as their impact. Public accessibility and relative anonymity, as well as the frequent lack of verification of messages, make it possible for fake news and propaganda to spread and lower the inhibition threshold for personal insults and even open threats and hate speech. In terms of data protection, we should also question our use of social media and take a hard look at how our information is used. Nevertheless, we are amazed and grateful for the opportunities that the networks offer us and the developments that we have witnessed over the last 20 years and now take for granted. Both in our work and in our free time, social media enriches us in many ways and we are always happy to try out new trends.

Fun Fact to wrap up: the world’s first Twitter post by founder Jack Dorsey was just recently auctioned off for $2.9 million! Crazy, right?

Grocery shopping goals: This is how it works in the future

Credits: Pixabay / igorovsyannykov

Special situations require special measures and often great things come about under pressure! We know this from everyday work, when on Mondays everything does not go according to plan or a customer pushes forwards a deadline. But also looking at the past few months, which have completely turned everyday life upside down, we can see various trends that are not only exciting for us as a PR agency of consumer brands like Amazon, but also for us as consumers ourselves!  

One of these notable trends is the food shopping revolution – driven by contact restrictions, strict hygiene measures and curfews. As the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention! We all benefit from this invention – or rather development  and even after the Corona pandemic. When we think of grocery shopping, we think of crowded supermarkets and long lines at the checkout. But since the pandemic restrictions, grocery delivery services have picked up steam. Those who still like to leave the house for their shopping will soon find a scenario that probably feels like theft at first: stores where customers take what they want from the shelves and then simply march out again.  

What will the shopping of tomorrow look like? Delivery, self-scanning, automated payment via app – the developments are going in different directions. To give you an overview, we present the most important grocery delivery services and shop-and-go stores. 

Our favorite delivery services

 

AmazonFresh 

Admittedly: We’re fans of Amazon.de – and not just since 2013. That’s how long Amazon.de has been a ZUCKER.customer, and for some time now, the ever-popular online store has also been offering a grocery delivery service in several German citiesAmazonFresh. Prime members can order organic products, beverages, fresh fruit, drugstore items and much more from AmazonFresh. Above an order value of 80 euros, delivery is free of shipping costs, below 80 euros the delivery costs are 3.99 euros and there are different delivery periods to choose from. AmazonFresh even offers separate categories for certain diets (vegans, hello) and those who need cooking inspo can even find recipe ideas at AmazonFresh.   

REWE 

At REWE, ordering groceries online is just as easy. You even have three different delivery options: Delivery by parcel, delivery by REWE delivery service or pick-up of the online order in a participating REWE store. Other advantages that we find very nice: You can (just like with AmazonFresh as well) easily give REWE deposit bottles to the drivers when a new order is delivered. What’s more, you don’t have to pay any delivery charges when you place your first order. Reason enough to try out the service, right? 

GORILLAS 

If you need urgently and quickly selected groceries, GORILLAS is the place to go. With the promise that the order will be delivered within ten minutes, the slogan “Faster than you” definitely makes sense, since just looking for the shopping list, putting on shoes and walking to the supermarket already take longer. A GORILLAS grocery delivery costs 1.80 euros, from 40 euros value of goods the order comes free of shipping costs. Simply download the app, select items and that’s it.   

Credits: gorillas.io

Shop and Go – shopping of the future?  

 

Amazon Go Store

We’d love to tell you about an Amazon Go Store in Germany, but that’s still a long way off. The convenience store with proprietary “Just Walk Out” technology exists in Seattle to date, and we think the concept sounds crazy at first: Get in the store, take what we need, and then just walk out again – what? Of course, that would seem like theft at first. But what’s really true is that it eliminates the in-store payment process by giving consumers a code in the Amazon app that, when scanned, opens the Amazon Go store doors and tracks the products they take off the shelf. Even if an item is put back, the app recognizes this. Upon leaving the store, the receipt for the purchase is emailed and the amount is debited from the Amazon account. Sounds futuristic, but it will certainly become part of everyday life sooner than we think. 

shop.box and collect.box 

Nevertheless, there are already small grocery stores without checkouts in Germany. The Schwarz Group has developed the store.box and collect.box, both stores manage without cash registers and are located in Heilbronn. Payment is easy, without having to scan the items or pull out your wallet. Customers use an automated app to enter the store.box, take the items they want from the shelves and leave the store without having to check out. Payment is made very simply using the online direct debit system from Klarna. The collect.box is even more convenient: the items are selected in advance using an app, and all you have to do is pick up your purchase from the collection box. Super practical and uncomplicated!   

Would we ever again want to do without the luxury of having our shopping delivered directly to our doorstep? We’re not quite sure yet, and as soon as a convenience store with “just-walk-out” technology comes to Berlin, we’ll be the first to try it out. For professional reasons alone, we want to know how it goes, leaving the store without having to pull out a wallet. 

(A blogpost by Loretta Käch)

Sources and Links:

 https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/wirtschaft-verantwortung/karotten-per-klick-wie-lebensmittel-lieferdienste-von-corona-profitieren-li.132198 

https://www.backwelt.de/newsview/ganz-ohne-kassen-schwarz-gruppe-testet-die-shop-box.html 

Pimp up your Homeoffice: Our ZUCKER.favorites for the perfect workplace

Credits: Catherina Schürmann

We’ve really come to love the home office over the past few weeks and can’t even imagine living without it anymore. The personal touch in furnishing and decorating our workspace has had a big impact on that… Sure, in the ZUCKER.Office we could add a personal touch to our workspace with desk accessories too, but with beautiful lighting, nice furniture and fancy work gadgets in the broadest sense, we absolutely can’t complain about working from home. So, we want to show you some of the highlights that help us create a feel-good atmosphere in our home or are simply super practical. By the way, these are exclusively ZUCKER.pieces from our customers and friends – acquisition done right!

Nanoleaf Shapes

The smart lights can be combined into different patterns and designs and stuck to the wall (don’t worry, they won’t fall off!). They even react to music and dance colourfully to the rhythm of our ZUCKER.sounds. Did you know that colourful lighting can affect productivity and motivation? Blue shades, for example, promote concentration, while green puts you in a good mood. The colours of the Nanoleaf panels can be set and changed via a dedicated Nanoleaf app to take us through the different mood phases of the workday. In the app, you can also craft “schedules” of when and how long the lights will shine in which color: Team meeting? Purple! Blocker to write a press release? Orange! Break? Green!

Credits: Nanoleaf

hexxas by CEWE

CEWE’s hexxas are ideal for those who prefer a less interactive workplace, but still want to have creative and variable wall decorations. The hexagonal photo tiles can be arranged in almost endless combinations and formations – whether with an overarching motif as in our example or with many individual photos. And what is nicer in these times than to reminisce about the last (real and carefree!) vacation or to have friends and family around you at least in the photo version? The hexxas can be easily combined into a complete work of art and expanded at any time. Thanks to the magnetic suspension, you can also exchange the individual tiles whenever you feel like it, and thus bring variety to your wall. On the product page you will find lots of inspiration for your own personal wall design.

Credits: CEWE

Houseplants

The green friends give us a huge Pflanzenfreude.de (German pun for plant pleasure)! Whether monstera, strelitzia or an ivy: they are not only incredibly beautiful to look at, but also improve the indoor sherepatm and help to reduce stress. With the vast variety of houseplants, it is not so easy to pick the right one. Hanging? Standing? Large? Small? On the website of our customer Blumenbüro Holland you can find advice and get familiar with different plant personalities. From spring on, the home jungle can also be complemented with colorful bouquets. Simply beautiful!

Credits: Pflanzenfreude.de

MonKey Desk from ROOM IN A BOX

If you want a change of perspective at work, the MonKey Desk from ROOM IN A BOX is the perfect choice. The sustainable desk elevation made of high-quality corrugated cardboard turns a sitting place into a standing place. Since few of us can afford or want to invest in a height-adjustable desk, the MonKey Desk offers a practical alternative on the cheap. After use, it easily folds back up and stores in the drawer. But what does all this have to do with monkeys? Nothing! Mon stands for monitor, Key for keyboard. Consisting of two levels, the screen finds its place at the top and the keyboard at the bottom. The desk is even available in different sizes and ergonomically completely thought out – the back will thank us for it… Convince yourself! (Pro-tip: If you like the ROOM IN A BOX design, we can also highly recommend the shelf system).

Credits: ROOM IN A BOX

Stashcat

Functioning digital communication is the be-all and end-all of the home office. Video calls, customer meetings or team arrangements are made possible by various messenger platforms such as Teams or Zoom. The big providers mostly come from the USA, but our customer stashcat has developed a German alternative that is way ahead of the competition, especially in terms of data protection. Data security is extremely important in today’s world (greetings to those of you who have been using the same password for all accounts for years), especially in the digital world of work. That’s why stashcat is also used by the Bundeswehr and German authorities, for example. We think it’s super cool and interesting! Do you think so too? Then talk to your dear colleagues from IT about it…

Oatly Oat Milk Barista Edition

What can’t be missing when working, neither in the office nor in the home office? A cup of coffee in the morning (to drive away sorrow and worries)! We like our coffee best with Oatly’s Oat Milk Barista Edition, because shaking it foams up and gives us that fancy cappuccino-from-the-hipster-café feeling. Milk froth for the win!

JOYUMA Coffee Carrier

Speaking of coffee… We like to spend our lunch break outside walking in the fresh air. Even while doing that, a coffee just brightens our mood and warms our hands and souls. However, we are not fans of Coffee-To-Go disposable cups, so we rely on the pretty and at the same time sustainable coffee chains of the Berlin start-up JOYUMA. Like cell phone chains, the coffee carriers made of vegan leather can be easily tied around to keep our hands free for making calls, waving or holding hands. The cords are even interchangeable and can be coordinated with our outfit. Trend Alert!

Credits: JOYUMA

Foot Locker

What else do you need when you go for a walk? A comfortable pair of shoes! How lucky we are that Foot Locker is one of our customers and always keeps us up to date on sneaker news. Especially the sustainable sneakers are a trend, we really love. Just between you and me, some styles are so comfy that we even leave them on indoors and use them as slippers.

Mondhügel

As the day goes by, coffee gives way to after-work drinks! From soda to beer, we get really creative when it comes to starting the evening. A very special tip for Friday night: the Kreuzberg Gin by Mondhügel. Handcrafted in Markthalle 9, it tastes super fruity when diluted with the right tonic syrup and puts us in the right mood for the weekend. Cheers!

Credits: Mondhügel

Tech on the job – Mice

Credit: Pixabay / Free-Photos

When talking about PR, people always think about strategy, concepts, redactional flow and other very brainiac qualities. But in the end, it’s a lot more physical than it is given credit for, at least for the hands: try writing a 50-page crisis management Q&A in limited time, or reviewing it by scrolling and clicking on every part you want to change and comment, and you end up with very tired hands. In our previous “Tech on the job” article, we presented keyboards to help the maniacs of writing, in today’s episode, we will focus on an even more controversial peripheral: the mouse.

All but one for all, all for one

Let’s be blunt: if your company wants you to work on a random mouse they buy in bulk for 2,5€ a piece and is not open to listen to your needs, you might be better off consider other options… Just like each employee brings a different skillset and set of talents to a firm, they all come with different needs and they are right to ask for the right tools to work in the best conditions for them, and this holds particularly true for their mouse.

The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade

Heavy use of a random computer mouse combined with awkward working postures of the hands and wrist (which is a dead given when we are working remotely, from our bed, sofa or coffee table) can result in a repetitive strain injury to the wrist. This in turn causes swelling around the wrist which leads to increased pressure over the median nerve, resulting in the onset of so-called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Bottom line: we end up being one man down in the middle of an important project just because somebody up the food chain wanted to save 10 bucks on a mouse.

So, ok, your boss will buy you a new mouse, but you have no clue what you need. Well… We cannot really tell you what YOU need, but we can go with you through a couple of criteria to help you identify what your ideal mouse would be like. With this blogpost we want to guide you on your way to find the perfectly matching mouse for your hand by taking you through a few simple questions and showing you some recommendations for mice that might give you some inspiration or references when negotiating with whoever will pay the bill in the end.You (and they) need to come to a simple realization: the time of the good old two-button mouse is over. It will not cut it anymore: they are unresponsive, uncomfortable and don’t get us started on the plastic cord getting tied in thousands of knots every time you have to pack it in your bag…

Cabled or wireless?

Choosing between a wired or wireless mouse is an important decision, which highly depends on the way you intend to use the mouse.

On the one hand, wireless mice are not constrained by a cable and they are normally travel-friendly, which is generally more convenient and practical in modern business, when you can work from everywhere. However, depending on the manufacturer, they can be less responsive, the signal can be distorted by other devices and, well, you can also easily forget them in a coffee shop or an airport lounge. Worst case scenario? You have your infrared mouse, but you lost the little USB-dongle allowing you to connect it to your computer, which, of course, you cannot re-buy on its own.

On the other hand, wired mice have been around for a while and do not have much left to prove. They are usually a cheaper option for similar performances. The cable is however their main pain point. It can be too short for your office setup and force you into an uncomfortable position, it can be too long and get caught in everything on its way if you don’t do some cable management, it can get tangled every time you go mobile.

If you are mobile, a frequent flyer or a coworking space addict with a good memory, a wireless mouse could be worth the investment. If you are looking for a mouse for a working station or an office, wired mice should get your attention, provided you are not having a flex-desk policy, because, indeed, mice are bacteria nests and you wouldn’t want E.coli, Salmonella, Shigella or Staphylococcus getting passed from one person to another, right?

What about security?

The techie hiding somewhere in a corner of your head might remember reading, back in the day, an article about Bluetooth or other wireless technologies being used as entry points by hackers and therefore a threat for the security of your data. True, indeed, Bluetooth, Infrared and Co. can be used to get information on your system or as an entry point to access your data.

But.

A professional hacker interested in your data would probably find other ways to get access to it faster and more discreetly than by hacking your Bluetooth devices. Just to give you an idea, he would need to be physically present in your office and get a direct line of sight and contact with your hardware to start hacking. Even if he managed to find all the information necessary to connect to your devices, the data he would receive would take a lot of resources for him to decrypt, process and leverage. Any hacker would have a much easier time just sending over a ransomware  disguised as the portfolio or the information of a random influencer, that will most likely end up being opened by an unsuspecting trainee…

Credit: Pixabay / fancycrave1

Moreover, the technology has evolved and most of the devices are now meant to be paired to specific USB-dongles, so that any attempt to connect to or from another device will fail.

Anyways, it would be understandable that, say, your data protection officer has objections, but de facto, the risk is extremely limited. It exists, however, especially in environments you can’t control (cafés, airports, public transportation), so think about how you want to use the device and decide wisely! Plus, between you and me, if you want to find weaknesses in your security, look at your professional smartphone which is most likely 10,000 times easier for anybody to hack just because you really want to use Air Pods or bullet headphones that keep disconnecting and you let Bluetooth on all the time to make it easier to reconnect them. Who can relate?

Size does matter. Is it big enough?

Your hands are different from all your colleagues, be it by their size, their span or the mobility of their fingers. Even the way you hold your mouse might differ: are you a palm, a tip or a claw grip kind of user? With all that, how can one think that one size fits it all?

A mouse, especially for heavy users, needs to fit like a glove to avoid unnecessary fatigue and strain on the muscles and joints. Manufacturers cannot tailor to every single need, so you will have to make a compromise and go for the solution that gives you the less trouble to get used to the new grip.

There are many points to take into consideration in terms of ergonomics, but the most important are undoubtedly:

  • The size and weight of the device: don’t give a micro mouse to gigantic hands, don’t give a mastodont of a mouse to fragile wrists
  • The grip strength: you need to be able to move the mouse easily, without strain on your fingers and wrist when holding it with a light grip
  • The lack of contact stress: your wrist must not be in contact with any surface when manipulating the mouse, it should not slide on the mousing surface alongside the mouse but be slightly elevated.
  • The so-called “elbow mousing”: contrary to what is being done by almost everyone in the world, you are not supposed to move your mouse by moving your wrist but by moving your elbow to reduce the stress on the fragile wrist.

To meet those different needs, mice nowadays come in all forms and shapes. Which one fits you best?

Are you looking for efficiency before anything else? Are you a crazy multitasker? Go for Logitech MX Master 3

The MX Master series have been a household name for quite some time now, and the latest one, the MX Master 3, is without a doubt one of the best mice for office work, be it for long session or precise work such as graphic design. It is comfortable to use for most people and charges in just a few minutes thanks to its USB-C port, avoiding one of the major downfalls of wireless devices which can be either taking forever to charge or run out of battery extremely fast.

Credit: Logitech

This wireless mouse, unfortunately only designed for right-hand users, has some great features particularly interesting for the office life, including the possibility to connect to several devices (say a PC, a laptop and a tablet) and switch from one to the other in an instant, or a thumb wheel to scroll horizontally.

Another very interesting feature is the thumb rest transformed into a button: press the button, move your mouse and you can execute specific commands, such as switch desktops, open specific apps… This can be controlled through the dedicated Logitech software, which could be a problem for your IT manager (he was already pissed after you managed to get the budget for a fancy mouse, he will definitely not be happy with having to install third-party software on his computers).

With a retail price of 109€ this one ain’t the easiest to afford, but it actually is a beast designed for productivity that is extremely hard to let go after you tasted it.

Are you a geek-at-heart that likes pretty things? Are you looking for a powerful wolf in sheep clothing? Go for Razer Pro Click

Just a few months ago, the idea of listing a Razer peripheral in a list of recommendations for office peripherals would have been totally crazy, given the heavy gaming focus of their products. However, the latest releases of the three-snake brand made it possible.

The Pro Click is the result of a collaboration between Razer, one of the most prominent gaming hardware manufacturers and Humanscale, a company specialized in the production of ergonomic peripherals for the workplace.

It is a hero in terms of performance as it is equipped with the optical captors installed in all the latest gaming mice of Razer, with 16,000 dots per inch (an overkill for any kind of office-related task – imagine, it can send up to 16,000 signals when moving it just 2,5 centimeters) and with an accuracy of over 99,4%. In addition, its optical switches for the right and left clicks are graded to resist over 50 million clicks and the battery will last you over 400 hours over one charge. Seems perfect, doesn’t it?

Credit: Razer

When speaking about the battery of this mouse, there might be a little struggle: it’s using a micro-USB cable to charge, instead of the much faster and more popular USB-C. The core of the problem is that the design of the mouse makes it nearly impossible to use just any micro-USB cable you might have, you have instead to use the one provided with the mouse, and we all know what happens to charging cables…

So, let’s face it: The Pro Click is no doubt on the pricey side with a retail price of 109,99€, and is once again only planned for right-handed users. But the influence of Humanscale on the design makes it a real contender to be one of the most ergonomic mice from a major manufacturer on the market at the moment.

Are you touchpad addicted? Do you need a mouse only from time to time? Do you lose your mouse all the time? Go for Logitech Pebble or Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600

Both these mice are ambidextrous and on the cheap side of our price scale, tagged respectively at 24,99€ and 34,99€. They are clearly meant for a mobile use, on the go, and for rather tiny hands. The low price point makes them quite disposable and easily replaceable.

The Pebble connects to a Logitech USB-dongle, works with all operation systems and is basically plug and play. To be honest, for such a low price, of course, you are not getting anything really fancy (two buttons and a scrolling wheel, give or take) and a design that doesn’t make it really ergonomic for longer sessions (you might want to look at the more pricey Logitech MX Anywhere 2 for this). Anyways, a point that might be important for some of your most fashion-addicted colleagues: the Pebble offers five different colors.

Credit: Logitech

In comparison, the Microsoft mouse is for tiny hands that are not comfortable with bigger mice, offers decent features, three different colors and an OK level of performance for office work. It is small enough to be carried in any bag, and all-around a great solution for anyone looking for an inexpensive pointing device they know they can rely on (the battery is marketed as holding charge for up to 6 months). Its dimensions make it easy to lose, but at least, it will be there for you when you need it, most of the time!

 

Credit: Microsoft

Are you one of these weirdos that use their left hand for most things? Go for SteelSeries Sensei Ten

With around 10% in the world being left-handed, most manufacturers have made the very capitalist choice to build their mice for the other 90% of the population. This makes looking for a left-handed mouse quite the adventure, but more and more mouse manufacturers are offering ambidextrous designs, which are, if not optimal for either hands, at least comfortable to use for both left- and right-handed people.

SteelSeries is one of those manufacturers. The Danish firm is heavily focused on producing gaming peripherals but has been releasing lower entry points products that could definitely fit in our list. The Sensei Ten offers a left-handed-friendly design combined with a state-of-the-art  sensor that makes the mouse extremely easy and accurate to use. Once again, the full potential of the mouse is revealed by the proprietary software, but some of the built-in features are enjoyable from the moment you plug it in, for instance the Tilt Tracking that allows it to keep tracking your movements even when lifting the mouse over your desk (especially practical for users that move their mouse as if they were conducting a symphonic orchestra, lifting it and slamming it on their desk to make it move faster).

Credit: Steelseries

At a retail price of 79,99€, the Sensei Ten is slightly more accessible and could be one of those devices firms could look at as a mouse for their new employees to use at first, the time to see if they feel comfortable with it or if they need something else. Its only real downside is the cable, which is not braided and therefore susceptible to be crushed, torn, cut or broken in the daily office life. Shit happens…

Are you Hipster much? Are you old enough to remember the boot sound of Windows 95? Go for Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse

At the first glance, this is not the most appealing mouse of the ones we presented, be it specs-wise or in terms of design, but it will no doubt bring back fond memories to the boomers among us. The Classic IntelliMouse is the latest version of a mouse that was basically used in all offices around the world, a mouse that was not flashy at all but a mouse that was doing its job, no questions asked.

This version modernizes the classic designs and also packs a couple of tech upgrades, especially in the sensor. It is a wired mouse and is quite on the chubby side of the scale, but it’s comfortable and you can definitely rely on it in the hardest circumstances.

For 42,99€, you get a mouse that is virtually indestructible and with a proven track record of excellence.

Credit: Microsoft

Do you want the best for your wrists or elbows? Go for Logitech MX Vertical

The vertical design of this Logitech mouse is interesting as it forces the hand of the user in a unique “handshake” grip. This position is hands down the most natural for your hand on a mouse, as it matches its natural position when you are walking or sitting at a table. It is definitely the best in terms of ergonomics, even though it might not be the easiest to get the hang of.

This mouse also comes with a number of all the excellent features we listed in other Logitech mice. One of our favorites is the smart charging. A fully charged battery is meant to last you four months, but in case you are taken aback by your battery dying out in the middle of a meeting, or worst, a pitch, plugging the mouse in for just a minute will give you an instant three-hour charge. You can also connect the mouse to up to three devices (PC, laptops, tablets) and switch between them at the click of a button.

Credit: Logitech

It feels a bit bulky to the smaller hands, but it is no doubt an experience you might at least want to try when you pick up a new mouse for your long office sessions. At 85,99€, it is an investment that you will definitely consider if you want to save time and money on treating an inflamed carpal tunnel.

Are you an alien? Are you looking for a thrill? Do you want to learn something new? Go for Logitech MX Ergo Wireless

We can already see eyes rolling in the back. What the hell is that thing? Well… Using a trackball is definitely not for everyone, but if some eSport players manage to be among the best on their games using such peripherals, it is proof enough that it can be as efficient as traditional mice with enough practice. We even have some ZUCKER. heads using them in their home office.

But what is a trackball exactly? Well, it is one of the most ergonomic features you can put in a mouse. How is it ergonomic? The trackball replaces every movement of your elbow and/our wrist for moving your mouse cursor by a flick of your thumb on the ball that controls the cursor. Easy as pie. Ok, not that easy, but extremely fun to master!

It is hard to really compare traditional mice to trackballs in terms of tech specs, it would be like comparing apples and oranges. They are clearly for different people, who also use their computer differently. But the ball of that mouse is responsive, the grip is stable in most hands (it does not offer a left-handed version, though) and offers the most popular connectivity options (USB, Infrared, Bluetooth) you can expect from a mouse in 2020. You will also note the tilt plate under the mouse: you can change the angle of the mouse by up to 20° to adapt your grip to the most comfortable position for your wrist.

Credit: Logitech

The only real downside we found to that mouse is that it asks a lot of the user to feel at ease using it. The trackball is one thing, but you must learn a totally different finger position to make use of most of the buttons on the mouse. Perfect illustration is the two buttons usually associated with Previous and Next that you traditionally click with your thumbs on the side of the mouse, (if you have more than three buttons on your mouse)  but are now under your pointing finger, or the wheel that offers two buttons when you slide it left or right. It is quite the gymnastic to go through for the health of your joints.

At 109,00€, it is in the pricey portion of our selection, but it is definitely an experience you will not regret if you like a challenge for your mind.

Now it is up to you

So, here you have it, a very short selection of very different mice for you to consider and ask yourself the right questions. We do not aim at pointing you in one or the other direction, we just wanted to present you a series of options you might not have heard of, each with its very advantages for your office life. You can use our article as a source for some tech lingo to convince your boss: there’s a good chance your IT manager will not argue with your boss when they sign off on your choice. There are also cheaper alternatives to our selection, which might make it easier for whoever needs to pay for your new peripheral. But do not, under any circumstances, underestimate the importance of having the right mouse for your hand: this can have very severe and long-lasting consequences. Once you start feeling a pain, it is already too late, so do not wait too long before starting searching your quest for your own Holy Grail of mice.

50 Shades of Podcast PR

Credit: Unsplash / mohammedmetri

Hobby meets business! Podcasts are super popular as an entertainment medium, but also for PR and marketing. A rapidly growing podcast fan base, high credibility through sympathy building and the entertaining character as well as a wide range of creative use possibilities make the podcast a promising medium to successfully place brands, products and messages in the minds of the respective target group. In this ZUCKER. blog post, we want to show you some ways how to use podcasts for PR and marketing.

Staging your message

The most obvious goal of PR regarding the podcast medium is probably the inclusion of a topic, a product / brand as a talking point or an editorially integrated tip. In marketing, sponsoring an episode could also be an interesting placement option, with the brand or product being mentioned at the beginning and/or appearing in the text description of the episode. An integration marked as advertisement within the conversation is possible too – comparable to a classic native advertorial. If a customer has the opportunity to produce relevant content himself, brands could also consider launching their own podcast as owned media.

So much for the theory: At ZUCKER. we have already gained some experience in using podcasts for our customers. By giving two examples, we want to show you how different an “editorial” integration can look or sound like.

Credit: Unsplash / soundtrap

Oatly feat. Lovebrand

HORIZONT’s Lovebrand podcast presents exciting topics from the media and marketing industry in interview form. As the name suggests, the focus is on the HORIZONT lovebrands – brands that the editors particularly like or find interesting. The podcasters talk to founders, bosses, managers, marketing experts and other personalities behind these brands. Two of their interviewees in the summer of 2020 were the managers of our client Oatly, Helge Weitz and Tobias Goj. The episode “dedicated” to them was about the development and expansion of Oatly in Germany, the persuasive power of a well thought-out packaging design, and communication solutions for the oat drink and its brother and sister products. An interview is particularly highly regarded in the podcast medium. Brands have the opportunity to explain themselves, to stage themselves and to anchor themselves in the minds of the listeners beyond a mention.

Stokke feat. Beste Vaterfreuden

With Stokke, we hosted the Stokke Summer House in 2018 – a community hub of sorts for pregnant women, new parents and their friends to connect with experts and like-minded people through talks, creative workshops, and wellness and fitness classes. The podcasters from Beste Vaterfreuden also took part in the event. In their podcast, Jakob and Max discuss all the important topics surrounding fatherhood and family – joys and frustrations. In 2018, they moved their studio to the Stokke Summer House and went live for the first time. Do men get more emotional when they have children? That was the guiding question they set out to answer here. This production was neither a simple mention nor an interview, but more or less a framework: the Stokke Summer House provided the setting for this episode. Very authentic!

Garnier feat. Brigitte BE GREEN

In PR it is rather unusual to place ads within podcasts or to sponsor an episode – we usually leave that to our dear colleagues from advertising. But these two ways of staging are also extremely popular with many brands. That’s why we don’t want to deprive you of an example here, even if ZUCKER. wasn’t involved. In Brigitte’s sustainability podcast BE GREEN, editorial director Alexandra Zuykonov addresses the sustainable lifestyle in all its facets and everyday challenges. The episodes on the topic of “Plastikfreies Badezimmer” were sponsored by the beauty brand Garnier, or more precisely the sustainability program “Green Beauty”. In the text description of these episodes, listeners were educated about this program and directed to Garnier’s website. In the podcast itself, “Green Beauty” was also introduced directly in the first five minutes – but marked as advertising. It also presents specific examples of how Garnier is implementing the program in a sustainable way. The best part about it? The coordination of the brand with the podcast – both fit together perfectly at this point, so that the “Green Beauty” program does not appear like advertising here, but rather as a natural complement to the podcast content, so to speak. The staging has real added value for the listener! #goals

Credit: Unsplash / thomashetzler

The perks of using podcasts

As a medium, the podcast is extremely credible and authentic. To take advantage of this effect, it is important for brands to choose the right podcast to integrate their message – message and format should fit well together. Likeability also contributes to credibility: Listeners often build a closeness to the speakers via the podcasts, for example because they hold the same opinions, share the humor or simply find the voice nice. According to a recent study, this closeness contributes to a new quality of openness and loyalty that companies can use to strengthen brands and retain customers. When wisely integrated, this sympathy can transfer directly to the brand or product. After all, it was recommended by “friends.” Listeners pay close attention to the podcaster, listen to him / her from start to finish (perhaps with small interruptions to open the chip bag or take a pee break) and sometimes even more than once thanks to the unlimited on-demand availability in terms of time. So the lifespan of a podcast episode is correspondingly long, with new listeners often joining in at the very bottom of old episodes.

We are still totally fascinated and inspired – be curious which of our customers you might find in your favorite podcasts soon…

Let’s talk about: Media podcasts for lifestyle inspiration

Picture Credits: Unsplash / CoWomen

Podcasts are booming – according to a study by Goldmedia, more than 10 million Germans over the age of 14 actively listened to podcasts in 2020, and more than 4 million even listened to at least one show every day. Especially podcasts by well-known German media companies are becoming increasingly popular, such as Das Thema from the SZ, Mal angenommen from the Tagesschau, Einspruch from the FAZ, or Verbrechen from the ZEIT, among others. Many of the so-called media podcasts are dealing with inspiring lifestyle topics – corresponding to the sections of their (online) magazines.

Most people have heard of the podcasts with the widest reach, but did you know that there is a podcast from LandIDEE magazine? We’ve found a few treasures in our podcast library that we’d like to share with you. Note: these Podcasts are in German. But we are sure, there are similar podcasts in English as well. Anyhow, these media podcasts might be inspirational in terms of realizing the range of different podcasts by well-known media and how they transfer their content from print to spoken words.

Brigitte BE GREEN

…is a sustainability podcast by Brigitte, or rather the relatively new magazine of the same name Brigitte BE GREEN. Editorial director Alexandra Zykonov talks to colleagues, influencers and other guests about sustainable lifestyle topics. The podcast is not about unrealistic claims and the perfect environmental saviour, but about the challenges that a sustainable lifestyle can bring. Topics like fair fashion, sustainable menstrual products, ecological beauty products or discussions about veganism and climate change with grandparents are touched upon humorously. Alexandra and her interview partners remain toughly honest and talk, for example, about the feeling of guilt that plagues us once we have consciously behaved in a non-sustainable way. It is precisely this honesty that makes the podcast so special. You can also listen to the other Brigitte podcasts such as Brigitte Bücher, Paaradox or What the finance, with topics around literature, relationships and the financial world.

Sofa so good

We love Schöner Wohnen’s interior podcast not only for the play on words in the title. Editor-in-chief Bettina Billerbeck and columnist Anne Zuber discuss the big and small topics of the living world in this format: open kitchens, tips for a better night sleep, wall colours, room scents, houseplants, pets, and and and… Funny insights, useful tips and cool DIYs improve our personal interior design skills. The life hacks can even be directly implemented most of the time. The result? Feel-good level 100 in the beloved home – especially in the current time (keyword: home office) more important than ever!

#twentysomething

…powered by GLAMOUR. In keeping with the spirit of the magazine, Lina Mallon talks about her everyday life and touches on all the important topics that interest those of us that still are in their twenties. She chats about being single, Tinder dates, booze ideas, spontaneous actions and everything she herself learned in and from her twenties. Lisa’s experiences make us laugh and ponder. She speaks plainly and we can find ourselves in one or the other situation or draw our own conclusions from her learnings. In any case, the podcast helps us to reflect, accept and grow. By the way: the topics are not bound to age! Even with 30, 40 or whatever the podcast is absolutely recommendable and inspiring.

Picture Credit: Unsplash / Kate Oseen

Verstehen, fühlen, glücklich sein

Meta-topics like fear, friendship, love and happiness affect us all. Sinja Schütte, the editor-in-chief of Flow, looks at the big feelings and relationship issues from the perspective of mindfulness. Her conversation partner is meditation researcher Dr. Boris Bornemann – inspiring thought stimuli are the result of the conversations. Instead of mere “psychobabble,” the mix of personal opinions and scientific facts really inspires us to think and question things we may not have thought about before. This mindfulness podcast is exciting and intense – we love to be enriched here.

Quatschen mit Sauce

Chatting – that’s what podcasters can do! And what’s the saying? The best chats take place in the kitchen! For the “Kitchen Talk”, Essen & Trinken editor-in-chief Jan Spielhagen and online boss Christina Hollstein invite celebrity guests such as star chef Tim Raue to chat about food – what else! Restaurant experiences, recipe ideas and small sins: The podcast makes you crave for more. #foodspiration guaranteed!

We are in a podcast frenzy and hope to inspire you with our tips. Now it’s time to open your ears, turn on the podcast, and give the rest of the world a break!

Singletasking is the new Multitasking? Tips and tricks for efficient working

You know these days when all customers call in at once, each of them adding a new to-do with deadlines set to the day before yesterday? Where to start when everything has to be done at the same time? 135.000 mails in the inbox and the phone ringing for the third time – good morning y’all! Before this stress turns into madness, we must take a deep breath, have some coffee and cleanly write down every To-Do. In the following article you will find tips on how to organize your To-Do list. Now you can structure your day ahead. One thing at a time: Singletasking is the new magic formula! #getshitdone

Singletasking – What is that?

Singletasking definitely has nothing to do with being single – just to get that out of the way. Singletasking is a working method that focuses on working on one task after the other. The full concentration lays on one To-Do only. The longer the To-Do list, the more important it is to keep your head clear. Now it’s about prioritizing tasks… What if everything is equally important? Well, then the choice is yours: which task are you most motivated for at the moment? In case of doubt, consulting with colleagues or the boss will help – how do they assess the priority of different tasks?

One thing after the other…

Let’s say, we work for 20 minutes on task that is at the top of our to-do list and concentrate solely on that topic, the quality of the result is likely to be very high, simply because our working method was maximally efficient and focused. We are mentally focused on one topic, on one client. This way we do not run the risk of mixing up customers, ideas or contact persons. Since efficiency is also a matter of time and we don’t let ourselves be influenced, stressed or distracted by other to-dos while singletasking, it is also quite possible that we might not even need a full 20 minutes for this first task. Every minute we won’t need can be used for the second task – with emphasis on “first” and “second”, one after the other (we can’t stress this often enough).

By completing only one task at a time, we prevent absent-minded mistakes and achieve a much better result. Thanks to high concentration and little distraction, our efficiency increases. We prevent stress by keeping a clear to-do list that will prioritize for us the tasks that we need to execute, which directly leads to improved productivity with less churn due to human mistakes. Last but not least: checking off a To-Do is simply a great feeling! So far the concept…

Do it, but do it now – How to become a Singletasker

Becoming a professional singletasker isn’t that hard – in fact, it is quite easy. Here too, one step at a time.

  1. Write a To-Do list
    The key to successful singletasking is a structured To-Do list. Write  bullet point after bullet point in anorder that makes sense to you and your tasks.What is the most important? What can be done the fastest? What am I most motivated to take care of? The logic is up to you, your clients and your deliverables. But a helpful keyword in this context is definitely motivation: super important to complete a task efficiently.
  2. Avoid unnecessary disturbance
    Who can relate: we’re knee-deep in a task, we have an epiphany, we finally get going and then someone comes around the corner for some small talk. Nice in terms of team building, but unfortunately very disturbing for our concentration and efficiency in singletasking. How can this be avoided? First of all: home office. No colleague can just barge into the room (roommates are warned not to disturb you). But since home office is not always possible for everyone, please let your colleagues know before starting to work on a to-do that you do not want to be disturbed for the next half hour. Surely everyone will understand. Maybe your office also has a kind of “quiet room”? Incoming mails or video calls, among other things, can also come in your way. Therefore, second point: set up a blocker in your digital calendar (for example via Outlook). This way, everyone can see that you are currently unavailable, while the blocker also helps you with your personal scheduling. Close all programs that you don’t need to complete the task at hand. Third: put on headphones, block out the noise around you. The headphones not only silence the office noise, but also signal visually: I don’t want to be disturbed at the moment!
  1. Get the boost
    Sometimes it takes little helpers to boost concentration, motivation and thus productivity. What these little helpers look like, each person must decide for themselves. We know best  what helps us to concentrate. Here are a few examples: classical music, delicious coffee, drinking lots of water, having eaten enough beforehand, putting your cell phone aside… If you really can’t concentrate at all, write down what is on your mind. Even if it is a private matter – writing it down helps to put the thought aside for now. Here you will also find more tips for productive work with a focus on the home office.
  2. Check off task
    The most important thing in singletasking is the actual completion of a To-Do. Finish the task and then check it off in your To-Dos list. You will see that checking off makes things easier – out of sight, out of mind. Now there is more room in your head for the next task. Take a short break and then continue!

If this working method appeals to you and you would like to try out singletasking yourself, you should consider the following: be consistent, don’t let anything get in the way “just this one time”, learn to say “no”. Explain to your colleagues and your boss beforehand how you work and why you rely on singletasking. Maybe this blog post will help you with your argumentation.

Conclusion: In the end, everyone has to find their own optimal way of working, there is nothing such as the one perfect method or strategy. Whether singletasker, multitasker or something in between, the most important point is that you find a rhythm in which you can complete your tasks in the best possible way. Singletasking is certainly very useful in some situations, for example when it comes to tasks that really require high concentration. But the “good old” multitasking has its advantages as well. Nevertheless, we hope that this blog post will inspire you to try something new or to think about your working method.

Picture Credit: Pixabay / Free-Photos 

Blumenbüro Holland x Zucker. – 10 years of flowerful cooperation

Credits of the bodypainting picture (on the top on the left): Tom Wagner

Time for a little party: We are celebrating 10 florishing years of flower- and plant-campaigns in collaboration with our client the Blumenbüro Holland! 10 thousands of botanical clippings, 10 millions of reached flower-friends and so many blooming memories… The past 10 years have been incredibly enriching. That is why we want to share some of the best impressions of the past with you in this blogpost. While remembering all these good old times, we can already feel the burst of our creativity-bud! So: We are looking forward to a flowerful future and a lot of fun working together with the Blumenbüro Holland!

These pictures speek for themselves – no words needed. With green spotlight on, we sproutly present our “Best-Of-Blumenbüro Holland-coop”:

Augmented reality in PR – todays storytelling & media contact

Credits: Pixabay / Mimzy

The term Augmented Reality (in the following abbreviated as AR) describes a computer-assisted extension of reality by certain elements or information. It’s not about creating a new virtual world that can only be experienced with certain glasses, for example, but rather complements reality in a clever way. A well-known example of this was the Pokémon Go trend. Players can search, find and collect certain Pokémon  items in their surrounding via app. The characters and elements are not real, but virtual and only visible through the app.

A second, very well-known example are the life-size animals, displayed by Google Search. Anyone who owns a smartphone can view the 3D animals virtually in life size via Google Search. The only condition: Google is set to the region USA and the language English. If you are looking for a penguin, a scalable, animated model of the animal will be displayed next to the images in the info box. You can view this model in 3D, so that the penguin can be placed life-size in your room by using AR technology. Wow! Who hasn’t always wanted to have a penguin as a guest in their living room?

But AR doesn’t only provide fun and enjoyment in your free time, it’s also very interesting on a professional level. We will show you, how it can also enrich the marketing and PR branch in a meaningful way and what is possible with AR regarding storytelling, branding and media contact!

Use Cases of AR-concepts (selection)

Whether from the beauty, fashion, technology, lifestyle, interior or tourism sector – AR can be used by and for (almost) every product or offer. The eyewear retailer Mister Spex, for example, uses the extended reality in its online shop: the glasses can be “tried on” online before the customer orders them to avoid mispurchases. In 2018, Adidas enabled digital try-on of the then new model Ultraboost 19 running via snapchat filter. In collaboration with Modiface, beauty company L’Oreal developed its own app in which new make-up trends and hairstyles can be tried out virtually to find out what you like before you buy anything. Modiface had previously worked for Estée Lauder and Sephora, but was then taken over by L’Oreal, so the AR specialists work in-house now. The cosmetics label definitely recognized the potential of AR quickly and seized the opportunity. The furniture empire IKEA also launched a free app called “IKEA Place” in 2017, where you can virtually place pieces of furniture within your own house – so to speak, we ourselves become interior stylists. This selection of successful AR examples already shows the extremely versatile application possibilities. When it comes to application, it should be essential that the technology itself is not the main focus, but rather the customer’s experience with the product or the range of products.

AR approaches in PR

Especially in live relations AR solutions are convincing and stay in the mind of the target group. Whether it is a product launch or an event: AR brings products and brands to life, creates a special experience and lasting memories, for example through photos with specific filters and backgrounds, which are staged especially for the the product or event and react interactively. Likewise, the product itself can be visualized live by AR technology and individually staged by the target group or media partners. A story is no longer told, but created together with the target group! Storytelling becomes storydoing and listeners become actors! In addition to filters, QR codes or special apps are also used in marketing. In the tourism industry, press trips could be enriched with interesting information and elements that can be visually accessed at any time and any place via QR codes, apps or even AR glasses. In this way, media partners get to know the destination in a playful and individual way, for example in form of a rally – based on the Pokemón Go search.

The social media also offer a variety of possible applications for AR. The most obvious example would again be a photo filter for Instagram or Snapchat, tailored to specific topics, products or brands. This filter could be used for influencer cooperations and generate emotions and attention from their followers.

But AR does not only help to address the target group emotionally. Especially for brands and products with a need for explanation or, for example, technical background, AR concepts are very helpful and a rewarding opportunity to demonstrate or let media partners experience them in a creative way.  QR codes could be integrated into a press releases. When the product in question is called up, the AR technology is used to visualise it so it can be applied and staged by the journalist. This is particularly interesting for a product launch, whereby the virtual product can already be made available to editors before the official launch. Ultimately, however, the interaction is also interesting for the readers of the media, so that journalism was and is also revolutionized by AR. Several German media, such as Die Welt, have already used AR solutions in the past. The article came to life while reading it on the smartphone, so that infographics suddenly appeared in 3D.

We summarize: The extension of reality and digital interaction arouse emotions, provide fun and have a lasting memory value. This effect makes AR extremely interesting in PR, marketing and journalism. We are also inspired by the unlimited possibilities of AR solutions…Be curious, we have some ideas in the petto!

Influencer and Artificial Intelligence – you need to know these AI personalities!

Photo Credits: Pixabay / geralt

Influencer Relations have become an integral part of marketing and PR: with a focus on Instagram as a social media channel, influencers make their way in our daily lives with posts of appetizing recipes, the latest fashion must-haves, creative interior designs, travel snapshots or sports trends. As public figures, they are all at once trendsetters, opinion leaders and role models for their community.

Nowadays, the influencers don’t even have to be real people, because artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role in this part of modern work and life. V Influencers created on a computer celebrate great success and stand out from the masses with their follower numbers and renowned partnerships.

You haven’t had any contact with AI influencers? No problem, we will introduce you to three successful AI content creators. What is the with the virtual personalities and who stands behind their names? What makes a cooperation with them so special?

  1. Lilmiquela

    With 2.4 million followers, Miquela Sousa aka Lil Miquela is the queen of the AI influencers, so to speak. She was created by the Californian IT company Brud. Since 2016, the Los-Angeles-based half-Brazilian is successfully active on Instagram. Since 2017 she also publishes her own music. Born as an artificial characterfigure, she has developed into a significant influencer in the fashion and lifestyle sector, working with high-end brands such as Prada, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Porsche and Diesel. She has already been photographed for various covers of renowned fashion magazines such as ELLE and was voted one of the 25 most influential people on the internet by TIME Magazine in 2018. She also got involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

    Photo Credits: lilmiquela / Instagram

  2. Noonoouri

    Cute, curious, couture – that is how Noonoouri describes herself. This attitude can also be found in her Instagram Feed. The posts are aesthetic, artistic, stylish, creative and versatile. Amongst those, you will findactivist posts for Black Live Matters,  climate protection or animal welfare . The influencer has 360,000 followers on Instagram, she posed (virtually) with stars like Kim Kardashian and she works regularly with high-end magazines like ELLE, Vogue or L’Officiel. As a fashion influencer, she lives – surprise – in Paris, where she partners up with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Fenty and Tom Ford. Her creator, the graphic designer Jörg Zuber, comes from Munich. The fictional character is his dream come true. Starting as a child, he has been fascinated by the creativity and glamour of the fashion world. He combines fashion with freedom – this is exactly what Noonoouri is supposed to embody.

    Photo Credits: noonoouri / Instagram

  3. Bermudaisbae

    If you don’t know any better, you might think that Bermuda is a real person and possibly part of the top model clique around Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner & Co. – that’s how authentic her appearance on Instagram is. In fact, the pretty blonde is friends with Lil Miquela and regularly shares posts with her or their mutual buddy Roland Blawk – he too is a well-known virtual personality with 156,000 followers on Instagram.  Both Bermuda and Blawk are other creations of the start-up Brud, the “parents” of Lil Miquela. The 256,000 followers of Bermuda enjoy colorful, sometimes controversial lifestyle, beauty and fashion pictures. Bermuda’s appearance is confident, sexy and provocative. The “Robot Queen” also entered the music business. Besides joint music projects with her BFF, she successfully released a cover of “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

    Photo Credits: bermudaisbae / Instagram

Who created them?

Behind the virtual personalities you often find innovative tech companies, visionaries and creative people. They saw the creation of 3D avatars as a personal challenge, a sign of tolerance and freedom in our modern world. However, now, there are also AI influencers that were created by companies specifically to act as brand ambassadors or campaign faces. One of them is Colonel Sanders, created by and for KFC in cooperation with the agency Wieden + Kennedy for the #secretrecipeforsuccess campaign from 2019. The Colonel was not created to act as a bold advertising face but as an authentic influencer for their own social media channels. By the way, his person is only half invented – “Colonel” Harland David Sanders is the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, who died in 1980 at the remarkable age of 100 years.

Cooperations with AI-Influencer

Like human influencers, virtual avatars are sought-after cooperation partners. It is not only the phenomenon of the artificial personality that makes a cooperation so exciting and attractive, but also the many possibilities offered for staging and controlling the marketing of a specific product are a great benefit for many companies. Scenes and backgrounds can be mounted and adapted as desired – according to the wishes of the cooperation partner. Of course, the preparation and production of theposts take some time and effort but it is worth it for most clients – the curiosity to work with computer-controlled influencers wins out. Even German companies are already using virtual models: the car brand Smart has worked with the plus-size model Brenn, created by the agency Diigitals, which specializes in virtual models. This is intended to make the technical topic of electromobility more “lifestyle” and accessible. The French luxury fashion brand Balmain also ordered AI models from Diigitals  for their #balmainarmy – one of them is Shudu. These collaborations are definitely causing a stir.

The avatars find great acceptance and sympathy in the community. Their followers and fans obviously know that they are fictional characters. Nevertheless, Miquela, Noonoouri and Co. have managed to develop a character that seems real, authentic, interesting and credible – a good basis for a promising cooperation.

We are excited to see how Influencer Marketing will develop in the future. One thing is clear: we will certainly hear more about artificial influencers.