Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Meet Evangeline Leong (Kobe)
Meet Evangeline Leong, the co-founder of Kobe. Kobe is featured on Mumbrella, Channel 8 News, Lianhe Zaobao, Business Times, Marketing Interactive, Money FM.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I am Evangeline Leong, the co-founder of Kobe. Kobe specializes in influencer marketing – we make stories heard, through relevant voices on social media. This is our 5th year, and have got 5,500 influencers in our network across APAC, and over 300 clients.
What got you started on your business?
I was visiting a wanton noodles stall at Circuit Road and I was curious how the stall owner does marketing. His answer was “我的口碑好” (my word-of-mouth recommendation is good). It struck me how word-of-mouth was the most effective and easily understood form of marketing. I’ve been in the digital marketing industry for almost 10 years, and one of the biggest challenges is adoption. It started me thinking about how we could capitalize “Word of Mouth” and accelerate it with social media, where conversations happen quickly and are easily accessible.
I embarked on the journey to study how this solution could be developed, and applied skills in digital marketing (relevant targeting, tracking metrics, bidding prices). Kobe was then born – with methodologies and proprietary technologies that could deliver relevant targeting, outcome-driven and pricing algorithms for brands.
I adapted Kou Bei 口碑 and shortened it to Kobe to reinforce the familiarity with “Word of Mouth” to accelerate adoption.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full time basis?
I was a business director at PurpleClick. I spent close to 10 years here and this was the place where I got my years of business and digital marketing experience which had given me the confidence to start Kobe.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
One difficulty that I faced was the setting up of Kobe. The influencer marketing industry has a debatable reputation. There have been many sagas and scandals revolving around influencer marketing. Common misconceptions include influencers being fake or deceitful.
However, Kobe aims to change the perception people have of influencers. With Kobe’s PCT patent A.I system, the influencers chosen will be based on relevancy and authenticity, over the traditional selection method based on popularity or ‘style-fit’. This will help to improve the credibility of using influencers for marketing strategy.
Another strategy is to educate the public and marketers through education and sharing. This is why we set up another arm which is Kobe Academy. We believe the right way to change the perception is through education. We have worked with many tertiary institutions such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic to come up with a course on how to teach people to be influencers. We even partnered with Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to develop a masterclass to teach marketers on the topic of social media, content and influencer marketing. Just this year, Kobe organized the very first conference – Influencer Conference Asia (ICA) 2020 where we invited many social media experts and influencers such as @bongqiuqiu, @mongabong, Denise Keller, Karl Mak from SGAG, Chow Jia Hui from The Smart Local, Sylvia Chan from Night Owl Cinematics to share their knowledge and experiences.
What is your vision / personal motto?
Eyes on the stars, feet on the ground. Always have a leap of faith – take the first step, even if you don’t see the staircase.
Who inspires you?
It is going to be my team! The most significant moment in my journey has to be the day when Kobe turned 1. My team took the initiative to organise a “1st year anniversary celebration” by baking a cake and surprised me. I felt touched because everyone was so busy and I did not expect them to do so. They would also initiate to create a fun working environment by implementing a theme day. I am proud of the culture that Kobe has created. A humble yet confident one, a realistic yet innovative one – much like how perfectly eastern values meet western innovation; we have got a diverse and bonded team that has created all the successes together.
Do you have any word of advice for other ladies who are starting their business / starting to pursue their dream?
Courage isn’t the absence of the fear; it is doing it in spite of fear. Just take out a notepad, and start writing down what you want to do. That is 1 step, and a big step – and then just take it 1 step at a time. Remember though, goals without routines are wishes, and routines without goals are aimless. Keep going!
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
One thing I would recommend is to execute the project in baby steps. Break down the project into smaller chunks of goals. Conquer the goals one by one. As you manage to achieve the goals, you will feel more confident and naturally be empowered and motivated to continue the journey. If you are not able to achieve certain goals, seek advice from friends and family members, or people who have done it before. Feel free to contact me if you think i could help you in any way. Gender is a non-issue. There isn’t any reason why ladies should feel any less confident! There is an unorthodox but really effective way to feel empowered – go empower someone else (like you mean it!). You’ll see what I mean.
What have you learnt recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
Teaching is the best way of learning. Empowering is the best way to be empowered. Listening is the best way to be heard.
What excites you most about your industry?
The ever-changing state of the industry. Influencer marketing is always changing. From bloggers then to now we have different tiers and categories of influencers. Last time we were so used to the term “macro-influencers”, but as the industry progresses, micro-influencers are on the rise and even a new term “nano-influencers” appears and is increasingly getting more popular. Other than human personality, we are also seeing animal influencers, baby influencers, and even chicken rice influencers! How interesting. As technology advances, we are seeing another new category which is artificial intelligence influencer. It has already been getting some traction overseas. Hence, it is very interesting to see how the industry will progress.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
I’ve been really lucky to have met good people. I’m grateful to my colleagues at Kobe, my mentor, my influencer community and my clients. I’m grateful to my people.
What do you do in your free time as self care? How do you unwind?
I love yoga, watching documentaries, reading inspiring books and playing leisure games like Candy Crush.
Let us know more about what you do!
Kobe specializes in influencer marketing – we make stories heard, through relevant voices on social media. This is our 5th year, and have got 5,500 influencers in our network across APAC, and over 300 clients. Not about popular faces from an album, but relevant influencers who’d tell the right story to the right audience; and get you the right results.
Connect with Kobe!
Are you a Fempreneur too?
Connect with us – we’d love to feature you! Say hi to us at [email protected] or reach out to us via our social media.
Read TLC x Fempreneur Series:
- Charlyn Ding, Om & Away
- Maddy Barber, Madly Gems
- Shireena, Sheens Image Consulting
- Angelina Tan, BeauLab
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Nadia, HelloBello (Malaysia)
- Zairin Azman, UMMA
The rest of the Fempreneur interviews can be found here.