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Lifestyle Business

'Put people first': Influencer marketing expert advises businesses affected by pandemic

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
'Put people first': Influencer marketing expert advises businesses affected by pandemic
Spark It management team (top, from left): Katrina Yulo Garcia - President and Chief Executive Officer; Kara Santiago Dagdag - Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer; Cheryl Gatan, Head of Talents. Bottom, from left: Shannen Uy, Account Director and Head of Strategy; Nicole Goyena, Head of Lifestyle Accounts; Marc Amoranto, Head of Business Development, Spark It LA
Photo release

MANILA, Philippines — Prior to the boom of "influencer" culture nowadays, a company has been among those that had pursued the business of influencer marketing.

Six years in, it is celebrating the milestone with three new feats, including expanding its reach in the United States.

Spark It has helped shape the foundations of influencer marketing in the Philippines. The agency helped elevate influencer marketing as one of the key pillars to consider for brand’s marketing efforts - executing a multitude of campaigns, amplified using credible key opinion leaders (KOLs), championed activations within communities, fan groups, niche influencers and creators, and mounted several on-ground and digital events.

"We really take pride in our constant innovation of Influencer Marketing in the Philippines. From being the pioneer in utilizing platforms like Facebook and Instagram for marketing campaigns in the early 2010s, to fully utilizing the strength of microinfluencers and community groups, our greatest win is being able to adapt to the fast-growing environment of our industry," said Kara Santiago-Dagdag, Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer.

The agency has bagged international awards, including one from Public Relations Asia Singapore, Marketing Interactive, and for Santiago Dagdag, who was named Woman to Watch 2020 by Campaign Asia.

The company, however, is not spared with the challenges of running a business amid a pandemic. It is even more challenging to move forward as the nature of the business relies on connection and interaction.

The agency found ways to still make things work, especially with its human resource -- the heart of its business model.

"One of our greatest wins is being able to provide mental health support via our healthcare provider to anyone who may need it. We have also applied mandatory rest days and no meeting block offs on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons so that the team can ease into the work week and ease into the weekend with ease," Santiago Dagdag shared in an exclusive interview with Philstar.com.

At the company's sixth year anniversary last July, the brand revealed three surprises that mark more milestones.  

It unveiled its newest look and logo. It also announced that it is expanding its business in Los Angeles, California. Spark It Los Angeles will be providing management representation for US-based Filipino talents to help them grab opportunities for collaboration and become partners for their digital growth.

The third surprise was its partnership with The Plastic Flamingo (The Plaf), an organization that collects plastic waste to produce emergency shelters, piles and pontoons.

For Spark It, the partnership makes sense as the agency is in the business of public relations which produces a lot of seeding kits. Most of these kits are made of materials that produce and leave large amounts of carbon footprint. With this partnership, the company hopes to be more socially and environmentally conscious by becoming a collection point for plastic waste within the company and its external partners.

With challenges ahead, the company keeps in mind a golden rule most astute businesses have come to value, especially amid uncertain times.

"There is no easy way to navigate through a business during a pandemic, but if there's anything that we've learned, is that you should always put your people first. When you have yourself and your employees are the forefront of your priorities, decisions that will be for their benefit will come easily," Santiago Dagdag pointed out.

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