Intelligence

Nanoinfluencers and microbrands for finance?

Reporter: Vested staff

This week’s Vested Suggested features stories that the team at Vested is reading and thinking about to begin the week.

Marketshare: This week, after the leak of Amazon’s HQ2 plan revealed that there probably won’t really be a second headquarters, is an appropriate time to take a closer look at the nexus of retail, commerce, and marketing.

First, Sapna Maheshwari of The New York Times shed some light on the world of nanoinfluencers, social media users who are compensated to promote products even though they have a small audience and no real celebrity. It turns out that big brands are beginning to pay serious attention to those with small followings, as long as they are, let’s say, malleable.

“Brands enjoy working with them partly because they are easy to deal with. In exchange for free products or a small commission, nanos typically say whatever companies tell them to.”

Next, the Wall Street Journal gave some attention to microbrands, nascent business concepts that live on social networks, and whose owners leverage the networks’ ability to target would-be customers with extraordinary granularity. “Marketers can test an audience with a mockup or a prototype before a product even exists, then turn to overseas factories for rapid manufacturing, while outsourcing everything from payments to shipping,” the Journal explained.

Finally, The Economist examined the impact all of this is having on consumer-goods giants, finding that the small, nimble competitors have a sophisticated support network of manufacturing, distribution, and marketing options that make them a serious threat to the titans.

What’s missing from all of this is whether these smaller-time operations can sell young consumers on index funds and mortgages as easily as they have on sunglasses and mattresses, and whether they are scalable for financial brands. We believe there’s something worth looking into here.

More on ‘Weinstein Clauses’: Axios elaborated on the ways that the unacceptable conduct of men is impacting deals, which Vested’s Emma Clarke covered last month. “Private equity firms conduct due diligence on all prospective investments, but readily admit that there are things they don’t learn until the deal is actually closed. Sometimes it’s a complete surprise, sometimes it’s the extent of a known issue. The #MeToo era will only heighten that discovery gap for many buyers — particularly given that so many purchase processes are kept in confidence within the C-suite, without the rank-and-file getting advance word.”

Orwell redux: Biohax, which makes microchip implants that — based on one’s level of cynicism — either allow companies to reduce risk or facilitate the surveillance of workers at scale, is “in discussions with several British legal and financial firms about fitting their employees with microchips,” according to Julia Kollewe at The Guardian (UK).

Pop quiz: What percentage of actively managed funds in Europe beat their passive counterparts?

On the Hill: The Federal Reserve is reportedly preparing to further ease/water down its stress tests in a bid to make it easier for banks to pass, reported Lalita Clozel of The Wall Street Journal. Expected changes include giving firms their results before they finalize annual shareholder-return plans and permitting some institutions to skip the 2019 tests.

Join us for yoga — yeah, really: Finyasa is a free, 60-minute morning yoga class for the fintech ecosystem hosted at Vested’s office in New York City’s midtown neighborhood. Join founders, bankers, flacks, and investors to get in gear for the day. Register at www.finyasa.com.