#CannesLions: Niche creators Robby Ayala and Sara Hopkins on making engaging brand content for millennials

By ‎@__emilyparker‎
Thursday, 25 June 2015

Robby Ayala and Sara Hopkins have spent #CannesLions creating Vines and Periscopes packed with jokes, stunts and plenty of playacting. In other words, it’s been a typical week for them. The two are part of Niche, a Twitter-owned network of social media creators. Major companies such as @HP and @CocaCola hire them to create and share branded content with their followers. This week, they’re partnering with @Twitter.

Ayala (@ROBBYJAYALA) and Hopkins (@Sayhop) are valuable to marketers because they both have devoted millennial audiences. When they share content, it frequently goes viral; Ayala’s branded Vines often drive millions of views. We took a walk along La Croisette with the pair to find out more.

@TwitterAds: Tell us about your work with Niche.

@ROBBYJAYALA: I work in brand strategy at Niche, and also as a content creator. As creators, we use Niche to monetize our cross-platform content. The great thing about Niche is they do an excellent job of facilitating the process of letting the creator and the brand create content in the creator’s own style, so the content that’s branded looks organic and authentic.

@sayhop: I want brands to work with me in the most natural way possible, so that when my content shows up in my followers’ feeds, they’re like, that’s just Sara, that’s her style. It’s cool she’s doing something with a brand.

@ROBBYJAYALA: Brands have to understand the creators themselves are their own brands, so incorporating a brand’s messaging in content made in the creator’s own style is the perfect recipe for a branded post.

@TwitterAds: What has been your most successful branded content?

@ROBBYJAYALA: My top-performing content ever has been the Hewlett-Packard #BendTheRules Vines on Twitter. They went viral last summer, and got more than 15M views. It was really special. My @HP branded content has outperformed most of my unbranded content which is remarkable.

@TwitterAds: What’s your advice for brands looking to make effective content like this?

@sayhop: I would say, leave it to the people that created that audience in the first place, and work with them. Give them guidelines, but let them stay true to form. That’s what got the followers, and that’s what will keep them happy.

@ROBBYJAYALA: Brands should think about what kind of image they want to come across, and who they want to represent their company. Take a look at creators’ past work.

@TwitterAds: What can brands achieve by partnering with creators like you?

@sayhop: Virality. Getting their message out to an audience they may not reach through TV, radio or other forms of advertising. We have a very specific kind of audience, and they can reach those people right there in the palm of their hand in the most intimate way possible. This is probably the most intimate form of advertising that exists right now.

For upcoming consumers, this is where they are. They’re on their phones, all the time. You’re reaching the millennials. These are people who are buying things, so you want to get in contact with them.