By Exec Edge Editorial Staff
Rapid technological advances have added a new dimension to many traditional industries. In the fashion world, the Elite World Group (EWG) talent management business continues its remarkable transformation into a talent media force. EWG represents more than 5,400 talents who reach almost 2 billion social media users worldwide.
Led by visionary CEO Julia Haart, EWG is harnessing the power of virtual content and immersive experiences in an entirely new way. Hyper-realistic avatars play a key role in the just-launched EWG Virtual marketing agency. This next-level promotional vehicle positions the company’s highly diverse talent for long-term growth.
Julia Haart: EWG Crafts Enduring Brands for Its Talent
Julia Haart engagingly describes how EWG Virtual will transform each talent’s signature appeal into a cohesive brand with staying power. “The idea is to have talent shift their story so they can build their brands into a network, and when they’re 70 or 80, they can monetize on the time that they’re in the public eye,” she explains.
Building each talent’s brand is a two-part process. First, EWG will bring in photographers, producers, and directors to collaboratively craft the talent’s story. Once the talent’s transformation is complete, EWG will utilize virtual technology to bring their story before online audiences. Influencers and social media will play key roles in helping talent keep their brand in the public eye.
Over time, each talent will build their personal brand into a powerful entity that can translate into long-term income streams. Julia Haart sums it up very clearly and succinctly. “If you have an audience and people come to you for inspiration, I monetize that for you,” she concludes.
Julia Haart’s Role as a Metaverse Pioneer
Julia Haart’s grasp of emerging technologies led her to embrace the Metaverse and avatar concepts years ago. Although she met with considerable skepticism, she forged ahead on her chosen path and today enjoys increasing industry acceptance. “To me, it was an obvious evolution,” Haart says.
“What is very unique about going virtual is that you need to have artistry. The group of people who have the technical wherewithal to create hyper-realistic avatars is minuscule. It’s such a new and nascent industry.
“Combine that with people who actually understand taste, fashion, and luxury — that group becomes almost nonexistent. What we’ve done is brought in the most extraordinary experts in creating avatars and the world they inhabit and the products they utilize,” Haart adds.
Julia Haart Says AR Technology Is Key to EWG’s Success
Augmented reality (AR) technology is playing an ever-increasing role in crafting satisfying customer experiences. In fact, says Julia Haart, a recent BigCommerce report stated use of AR technology results in a 66% increase in consumer engagement.
Interactive Online Fashion Experiences
Traditionally, says Haart, online fashion sales have presented a challenge. The customer can’t experience the thrill of trying on a trendy new outfit and receiving compliments on their choice.
“The difficulty with selling things online is that there’s no experiential factor,” Haart says. “People love to hear their name. They love to walk into a store and hear a salesperson say, ‘Oh, you look so beautiful!’ That is typically missing from an online shopping experience.”
Now, EWG is adding that sought-after experiential element to online fashion sales, exploring creation of virtual dressing rooms. Julia Haart offers a teaser into an upcoming EWG brand collaboration: “With what EWG is doing, it becomes utterly interactive and experiential… You can have an avatar salesperson help you ‘try things on’ and design your own things.” Haart urges readers to stay tuned for updates on this exciting new offering.
EWG’s Breakthrough Steve Madden Campaign
The Steve Madden Ltd. fashion brand, a major EWG client, recently experienced landmark success via a well-crafted virtual marketing campaign. In fact, says Julia Haart, the Steve Madden brand named the EWG campaign as the catalyst behind its record sales year.
Haart describes the key elements of the Steve Madden campaign – “We conceived, built, and produced the entire campaign. It was a first-of-its-kind experience with virtual avatars. We digitized products that you could try on using augmented reality in their interactive e-commerce site. We created Instagram filters. It went viral. It’s not just melding fashion and technology. It’s melding fashion, technology, and communication.”
A New Perspective on Technology
Julia Haart acknowledges that some segments of the talent industry have expressed concern about EWG’s emphasis on virtual technology. She puts the issue in perspective.
“To me, technology is a tool; it is neither good nor bad, neither dangerous nor useful. It’s how you utilize it. … Whether people like it or not, innovation is part of life. So instead of being afraid of the new, we should figure out ways to utilize technology in the service of people. This gives people a voice.”
To Julia, avatar technology enhancements represent the next wave. She describes avatars’ continuing evolution – “We have started embedding our avatars with more artificial intelligence and machine learning functionality. By the time we get there, not only will your avatar walk, talk, look, or sound like you, but over time, your avatar will learn to think like you, too.”
How EWG Is Moving Toward Safer, More Inclusive Social Media
Julia Haart recognizes that improper social media use can produce negative emotional impacts for some users. To evolve the conversation in a positive direction, EWG has brought in experts to train its talent in using social media in a transformative way.
“What we help them do is isolate that which makes them unique, something that they care more about than anything else. Instead of putting hot shots of you on a beach, we help you to send a message through your social channels,” Haart says.
By using social media for honest conversation, each talent can share more about themselves while highlighting a cause they care about. Haart predicts that users, especially teen girls, will follow their favorite talent’s lead and work to enact positive change.
“We’re on a mission to change social media from a place that causes harm to a place that can create connectivity, authenticity, and organic storytelling in a way that has never been done before,” Haart adds. “We’re trying to transform social media into a place that builds people up, not tears them down.”
The Talent Media Industry Continues to Evolve
Today, Julia Haart and EWG Virtual continue to evolve the talent media industry. Each of the firm’s diverse talents will enjoy a transformation into a distinctive brand designed for long-term appeal. Concurrently, EWG’s use of emerging technologies will enhance user experiences and encourage satisfying achievement and personal growth.