What are effective strategies for generating reach and attention on social media today? At OMR23, many speakers will be dedicating their time slots to answering precisely that question. The quartet we are dropping today have found excellent answers for themselves or the companies they ply their trade for. Today, we’re giving you a taste of why MrBeast’s manager, Germany’s top creator, the social lead at Duolingo and a streetart legend are so good at getting you to notice.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, a quick bit of housekeeping: We’re back—hopefully together with you—this May 9 & 10 for the OMR Festival 2023 in the Hamburg Exhibition Center. Once again we’re expecting a packed house of 70,000, over 1000 exhibitors and partners, plus more than 800 speakers. Last week, we dropped our opening trio of highlight speakers with international fitness influencer and burgeoning entrepreneur Pamela Reif, Kith founder Ronnie Fieg and music manager Scooter Braun. No rest for the weary as today we continue our march to May with the next speaker announcement. Click here for an overview of all of our confirmed speakers.
Wanna take in OMR23? Then get your ticket here.
Mr. Beast’s Manager
Alongside Jimmy Donaldson aka MrBeast, Reed Duchscher has built up the largest YouTube creator channel in the world. With over 135 million followers, MrBeast reigns supreme over all other creators with his videos regularly cracking the 100-million-views mark. Duchscher and Donaldson teamed up in 2018 and haven’t looked back. Their primary driver of success: cash. It will come as no surprise to MrBeast fans, but his videos typically contain generous cash prizes for his community. At the same time, he has tuned his circle of friends into a recurring cast of characters in his videos. And in terms of production each video tops the last, which has allowed him to recreate the hit series Squid Game or Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, among others…
Reed Duchscher himself is leveraging the success of MrBeast into his own successfully business venture. Originally an agent for NFL players, Duchscher transitioned into the YouTube world early on, initially landing brand deals and creating effective monetization strategies for Dude Perfect. In 2015, he then founded his talent management company Night Media, which signed Jimmy Donaldson in 2018. Since then, however, the two have not only developed video ideas, but revolutionized the creator economy. During the pandemic, they launched MrBeast Burger—a ghost kitchen that only delivers fast food stateside. To pull it off, Donaldson and Duchscher concocted a menu and convinced existing restaurants to prepare the food. Restaurants keep the bulk of the sales and only pay a commission to MrBeast. In July 2022, Donaldson announced that MrBeast Burger has already brought in USD 100m in sales for participating restaurants.
Their appetite for food-endeavors sufficiently whetted, the team around MrBeast launched food startup Feastables in January 2022. Taking inspiration from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Feastables produces a limited number of chocolate bars, into which prizes are hid. Bars dropped via the aforementioned Willy Wonka video and the hype that ensues pays off. In the first few months after launch, Feastables generated sales north of USD 10m. As a man in the middle of all of these endeavors, Duchscher is the perfect person to discuss ways of creating long-term reach at scale and how to monetize it. He’s not one you’ll want to miss at OMR23.
The Influencer entrepreneur
Our next speaker is no slouch either in the entrepreneurial and reach game. In fact, just a few weeks ago, Carmen Kroll, aka Carmushka, dropped by the German-language OMR Podcast, and in a few weeks more, she’ll be back on our stage. What sets the 30-year-old apart from so many influencers of her scale (1.1 million followers on Instagram)? She has devised a clever strategy for using her reach to simultaneously build several businesses. For starters, there’s her fashion label “Oh April.” Then there’s her children’s fashion label “Mamushka,” a print magazine, “Things we Write” and her own book project ” Mein Kopf, ein Universum” (My head is a universe). In addition, she runs “Somefriends,” an agency through which she supports other creators together with her husband and a small team.
Safe to say then that Carmen Kroll knows exactly how to build a community on the world’s biggest SM platforms. At the same time, however, she is not reliant on striking standard influencer deals to monetize her reach. Instead, she is prime example of how to leverage her standing into successful business endeavors—you might even says she’s figured out how to hack the creator economy of today. Her rise has been impressive. Since we first reported back in 2019 (in German) on how Oh April was able to build up 60,000 followers in just 24 hours and sell out her first collections immediately, Kroll has really taken off. On the OMR stage, she’ll share insights into how she’s been able to succeed and what Carmushka has planned for the future.
Duolingo’s TikTok whisperer and global social media head
Perhaps, you don’t know the name Zaria Parvez. She is, however, one of the leading actors in social media anywhere and leads the social media strategy for one of the world’s top platforms: Duolingo. The language learning app has over 5.9 million followers on its flagship TikTok account alone, plus an additional 774,000 on Instagram. But it’s with their TikTok campaigns that Parvez and her team truly stand out with a host of videos generating views in the millions. The secret to their success? “Duo” the green owl is prominently featured in every video and has evolved into the company’s TikTok titan. Duo is also an active commenter on posts by stars, well-known creators and other brands—some of which have amassed reach in the millions on their own. We wrote about the phenomenon a couple of years back.
“Duo” the owl is not a new mascot for Duolingo, Parvez, however, ushered in its breakthrough into the social media mainstream through a charming passive-aggressive art. “More than anything, people are looking for a small moment of laughter and entertainment — even more so these days,” she says. “A brand account going ‘rogue’ is an interesting tension point that captivates the attention of the audience.” She says that at Duolingo there are no long drawn.out approval processes and the team has all sorts of freedom in experimenting on content. Why that is crucial and also applies to brands without a spunky green Owl is something she’ll discuss in Hamburg this May.
Legendary street artist and “Hope” creator Shepard Fairey
Perhaps you don’t know the name—but chances are that you’ve seen his work. Considered one of the leading figures in the Streetart Movement, street-art pioneer Shepard Fairey has appeared in several award-winning films including “Exit through the Gift Shop” by his friend, fellow street-art pioneer Banksy. Fairey is probably best known for the famous “Hope” portrait of Barack Obama, stemming from the 2008 US presidential campaign. Fairey designed the red-white-and-blue pop-art-esque poster, which soon became the most-recognizable presidential campaign motif in the world. After Obama was inaugurated in 2008, Fairey’s original poster was put on display in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C, where it is today.
“Hope,” however, was not the first viral hit (before there was such a thing mind you) for Fairey. In fact, it was nearly two decades prior when, in 1989, as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design he created his first local sticker campaign. Originally called “Andre the Giant Has a Posse,” it evolved into the famous “Obey” campaign. All across the world, “Obey” stickers appeared, adorning lampposts, facades, skateboards and more with Andre the Giant’s iconic face.
While “Hope” and “Obey” are surely his most-famous pieces, reducing his career to them would be wrong. Fairey has managed to own and operate a multi-million-dollar clothing brand for over two decades without selling out, incorporating politically and socially provocative propaganda into his threads. Furthermore, his work is on display in some of the most-famous museums in the world, he has created more than 100 large-scale murals in cities on every continent (save Antarctica), including “Make Art Not War” and “No Future,” among others, in Berlin. Furthermore, Fairey has collaborated with major brands such as Adidas, Nike and Pepsi, and in 2001 he founded his own fashion label, Obey Clothing. At OMR23, Fairey will talk in-depth about his life’s work and more on the Conference Stage.