Allyens Yearbook 2018

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A story about an ambitious agency

Ever since I discovered the creative agency Allyens, I can’t stop talking about them. Have you ever heard of them?

The agency focused on inclusive, viral and millennial communications? No, it doesn’t ring a bell? Well, let me tell you all about them.

hist hist

tory tory The agency was founded 4 years ago, in 2015, by two millennials who were unexperienced, unsure and basically didn’t know what the hell they were doing.


Starting from scratch — how our traumas led to our business We can’t talk about our vision and ideas for Allyens without discussing how we got here in the first place. It was not an easy process (is it ever?) and it was not like companies that started with a light bulb going off in someone’s head, creating a product out of nothing, being successful and living happily ever after. Although we do hope it ends that way (actually, we hope it never ends), this story is a little more personal.

These two were

TAHA RIANI AND HANAN cHALLOUKI back then an ambitious engineering student and a nosy ready - to - graduate communication scientist.

Aliens Ally + Allyens 8

IT’S ALL ABOUT IDENTITY We are not the easiest people in today’s society. We don’t easily fit in a box, yet we’re constantly labeled as if we do. We’re always searching for the balance between the different identities we exist of and we’re never completely standing on one side of the scale. Starting up Allyens was more than a part of this search, it was like looking for a way out. We needed a way out of the simple-minded solutions that are being created and implemented in today’s companies, to reach people those companies don’t even know anything about. We were looking for ways to feel connected with the world around us and help others connect with their environment too. We were looking for something new and we decided we were the one’s who were going to create it. Being here in this world with our own super diverse identities, we were well aware of the challenges that existed and still exist in our societies and in the way we communicate with each other. Based on stereotypes, labels or simply rumors, many people focus on how we’re all so different from each other and start the conversation from this conclusion. Many brands and companies do this too, making it part of their strategy. We believe that’s why we never felt approached by them. We were and are still determined to change this.


ee f f co f o p cu a r e v o d e ct e n n co They t u o b a s n io t a r t s u r f l a u t u m d an a society that didn’t seem to notice them at all. S N E Y L L A f o g in n in g e b e h t s a It w FROM PHILOSOPHY TO BUSINESS We had already developed, an online platform that inspires millions of people everywhere, spreading positive content and influencing the mainstream discourse about today’s millennials. Since this became a huge success, we got invited to give a presentation at an event of Open VRT, a community for digital creatives that was set up by the public broadcaster of Flanders. The host of the event was Tom De Cock, who is pretty much Belgium’s most creative radio host, at least according to us. He was excited about our presentation and invited us to his home, where we had a great conversation about our philosophy, how we think media should improve their communication strategies and become more inclusive. He was so excited that it motivated us to take the first step and translate our ideas to a real business. So we got to work. We shared our thoughts and ideas with others and it seemed very recognizable for many people in our environment. A lot of them didn’t feel approached by the majority of today’s brands, whether in media or other industries, and felt alienated. We knew we wanted to do

something about it, we already had our ideas, our vision, but we didn’t have a name. It became a Summer brainstorm session that ended with the name Allyens, merging the words “alien” and “ally”. Because we want to transform aliens (companies, people, anyone who isn’t communicating in an inclusive way) to allies (those who are), with our own vision of how we choose to connect people with each other. Instead of focussing on how we’re different from each other, we look for common ground between people, different target groups that a brand or organization is looking to connect with. And there are many, but that doesn’t mean they all work for everyone as well. That’s where we enter: in the search for similarities that can expand a company in a more open and positive direction. In the meantime, we’ve already been working for exactly three years now, completely based on word of mouth of the great companies we got a chance to work with.


5 things you need to know about inclusive communications.

They didn’t seem to care that they were young and had no clue about what it meant to run an agency. They had a vision and they went with it. communications had to become more inclusive, campaigns had to show society as it really was:

SUPER DIVERSE. So they decided to figure it out on the way.



5 you know

things need



i n c l u s i v e communications 12

5 things you need to know about inclusive communications

01. It’s the ultimate way to maximize the reach of every campaign and means of communication in general. It’s an approach that makes sure a certain message is seen or heard by a diverse range of people.

03. 04.

02. Accessibility is a key word when talking about inclusiveness. Whether it’s adapting designs, languages and materials, or redefining a larger strategic plan, the general idea is to keep in mind the needs of more people than you normally would.

It recognizes and responds to the variety of diverse and layered identities of today. In global and super diverse societies, it can become a challenge to reach everyone that is part of it. Inclusive communications ensures that a diverse group of people will not only receive your message, but also that they’ll respond to it in a positive manner, increasing user satisfaction.

It’s the most cost efficient way of communicating. It doesn’t require a different strategy for every small target group, but it includes them in the overall communications plan. The initial integration of inclusiveness as a vision and the very first steps may look like a big challenge, but in the end, it will create more positive outcomes than you might expect.

05. It requires flexibility and a willingness to grow. Brands, companies or organizations can only adapt inclusive communications if they are willing to adjust certain habits and standard processes that may have developed over the course of years. They can only communicate inclusively when they change with the society they’re part of. 13

he A-tea



But they didn’t do it on their own, definitely not. You see, the one thing these two millennials discovered, was their own eye for talent. They seemed to attract all these gifted people, who were drawn by their intuitive and innovative creative ways and wanted to join the force behind it.

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So as Allyens was growing, so were the people behind it, creating an A-team like you haven’t seen before.

The A-team

Tessa Corselis ager Account Man

Sofie Hendrickx Marketing Manager

frustrated. "No, I am not normal face." y This is just m

"Yes, I am always this happy!"

Mayada Srouji Head of Content

"Don't don't r talk to me if yo espect u hummus."

Shari Hermans Illustrator

"I'm Immortal"

douri Samira El-Kad ner ig Graphic Des

st ing the coole, r a e w s y a lw A " the office sneakers at hing on me." t they got no

Mimosa Viljanen Motion Desinger

"I often let my photos do the talking."

akivana Kevin Lus esigner Graphic D

a "Sriraching." h t y on ever

Eva Cywinski Copywriter FR/E NG

"Don ,t you dare

quote me!"

Mariam Ait Hmeid Editor/Writer ,

Noodle Office mascot

alive, but "I might not be imate me. t don't underes ng." I hear everythi

"If you need me i ll be in the forest, searching for portals to another dimension."



Check out our new crib

You can find th is A-team in the heart of Antwe in a building tharp, t made to wande ’s r around.

We are located in a beautiful building in the heart of Antwerp. There may be debate about this, but everyone knows that Antwerp is the most impressive city in Flanders. We spend our days in a beautifully renovated warehouse in the centre of the city. The building won 3 awards for its architecture (which is more than we won with our agency) and we have architects Verdickt & Verdickt to thank for that.


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Each of us has their own giant worktable and comfy swivel chairs (because swivel chairs make an office). We share a cozy little kitchen which we keep fully stocked (snacks are important) and we even have our own parking spot and bike storage. The interior has a rustic feel, with lots of iron and woodwork. The walls are Pinterest-worthy brick and we chose shelving over closed closets to keep the space open and breathable. How can anyone not love working here ?

bird crib

If you have a ch peek, make sureance to get a sneak little bird hous to notice the line of es at the entr ance. 16

Check out our new crib

Humans aren’t the only creatures that feel instantly at home at Allyens.


AIGN IGNS cases Now you must be wondering what these people are actually doing? Where does this so-called magic vision lead to? It leads to campaigns that call out to everyone who feels like they've never been represented before.






antwerp 10 miles


We made Antwerp run Antwerp, thĂŠ most diverse city in Flanders in which many activities are organized to bring people together. One of them is the Antwerp 10 Miles & Marathon (ATM), a well-known fun run race that takes place in the heart of the city. Because there is a clear difference between the diverse people who live in the city and the ATM-runners. Allyens was asked by the City of Antwerp to make this running event a lot more inclusive. and to encourage everyone to run the 10 miles through the big city. This year is the third year in a row in which Allyens is going to work with influencers and create a below-the-line campaign to make the ATM go viral. Three years ago, Allyens launched #10MilesTogether, a hashtag to invoke motivation within the target audience to run together. Everyone knows that a buddy who runs with you, makes it harder to give up. As a result, thousands of people started to motivate each other to run the 10 miles. The strategy for this year is still a secret, but we can already tell you that the hashtag will be #RunAntwerpRun. Be sure to check it out on Instagram and join Antwerp on the run.

Campagne & Cases — Antwerp 10 miles

I mean, can you believe Allyens can actually motivate people to run? For fun? Who even does that? Well, they do. They get people to run 10 miles through a big city, because they know how to create a community. 21


They don’t keep their energy for Belgium, they fly people all over the world.


Campagne & Cases — Brussels Airport


Brussels airport

Campagne & Cases — Brussels Airport

I’m sure when they started Allyens, they had no idea that they would end up filming in the desert of Morocco for a campaign that would reach millions of Belgians. Yet that’s one of the things 2018 had in store for the A-team.

I went to Morocco and it changed my life Tessa is an Account Manager at Allyens. She enjoys a good theme party and often struggles with making decisions: should she kiss or shake hands? “Could someone please just make some socially accepted rules on the matter?”, is what she asks for. ‘Tessa, could you tell us about your Moroccan near-death experience again?’ It’s a request I have often received from my colleagues during the past six months. Although the experience gave me quite the scare, it’s a moment I think back to filled with sentiment. Let me sketch the situation for you. Last September, my boss (she prefers me calling her ‘colleague’, just saying) and I left for Morocco on behalf of Brussels Airport. We wanted to

shoot some videos of Belgian-Moroccan influencers who were visiting family or friends. The fact that I, a newbie, got to make this trip abroad, made me super excited. How was I supposed to know that only a few days later, I would be locked in a very hot taxi in an attempt to retrieve a stolen (read: forgotten) laptop. This is only one of the many anecdotes I could tell you. Anyway, let’s get back to the campaign. Before we started working on it, I had never been outside of Europe, let alone go to Morocco for eight days. My job in Morocco existed of managing everything: making sure we were following the schedule and preserving the budget. This may not be the most attractive subject to mention in a column, but it’s part of the job. Moreover, I have to admit that, when we got back home, the long days and the short nights influenced my life: Morocco turned me into a little monster that following week.

To sum it up: my first time in Morocco was stressful, exhausting and overwhelming, but at the same time it was warm, cosy and simply unforgettable.” But I have to say: all of the fantastic pure Moroccan flavours were a piece of heaven on earth for a foodie like me. Next, I had the privilege of being surrounded by honest and talented new people. Whenever we were travelling from one city to another, all of us were having deep conversations about both the serious and the less serious things in life. I have learned a lot from these conversations. During the trip I got to know myself better as well: I learned that I am more stress resistant than I thought (or maybe that was just thanks to the Moroccan vibe). This is something I have to remind myself of once in a while. Furthermore, I discovered that I am not the only one who laughs at situations when it’s actually very inappropriate to laugh. Lastly, I love ‘the golden hour’. To sum it up: my first time in Morocco was stressful, exhausting and overwhelming, but at the same time it was warm, cosy and simply unforgettable. The fact that the campaign #op123inMarokko became a success, made the entire adventure even more worthwhile.


r e t n I YEARBOOK 2018

Brussels Airport

— Geert van Dessel (Senior Aviation Development Manager) Allyens worked together with Geert from Brussels Airport, in which he is part of the aviation development team. Geert is responsible for the market analysis and the detection of growth and new opportunities at Brussels Airport, especially regarding ways to travel to and from Belgium.

“The trend that came up over the years is that trips from Belgium to Morocco slowed down at Brussels Airport,” Geert says. “The cause is the rising amount of airlines that offer the same flights for a cheaper prize. Apart from that, Morocco is a very specific travel destination. The clients who fly to Morocco are mostly people who live in Belgium with friends and family in Morocco. This market segment has dropped over the past few years”, he confirms. The existing competition longs for new market potential for Brussels Airport. To tackle this issue, it is important to correctly attract the target audience through the right campaigns.In order to do so, Brussels Airport teamed up with Allyens to set up research in collaboration with the research agency DataStories. Based on the results, Allyens set up a strategy for Brussels Airport to promote traveling to Morocco to visit friends and relatives. When it comes to inclusiveness, Brussels Airport shares the vision of Allyens. “Marketing campaigns need to be diverse and inclusive, because it’s simply common sense to be open to diversity”, Geert states. Moreover, Brussels Airport itself is very diverse which is also very important to the company. “The airport is basically a gateway of diversity”, Geert concludes. For Allyens, it’s important to pass on its expertise on inclusive communications, but also on how to reach today’s millennials in an effective way. This is something Geert also appreciated in working with Allyens. ”I learned a lot about general marketing principles, specifically how to target millennials, how to use social media and how to actively approach influencers, by collaborating with Allyens”, Geert confirms.

Geert 26


Campagne & Cases — Brussels Airport

I learned a“ lot about general marketing principles, specifically how to target millennials, how to use social media and how to actively approach influencers, by collaborating with Allyens.”




Starting with research, to create campaigns that can actually make a difference “Why do you need research? We already know how these target groups think.” If Allyens got a dime for every time they heard these words, they would close the agency all together, because everyone working there would be filthy rich. Now why do they bother researching their target groups? Because with a super diverse society, comes a lot of stereotypical thinking.


You see, the human mind works with shortcuts. Every time you think of a type of person (let’s say a 85-year-old grandma), you already have a certain image that comes to mind. Chances are you’re thinking of a grey-haired, short lady, possibly wearing glasses or walking with a cane or sitting in a big rocking chair, moving back and forward. Your own grandmother might look nothing like this, but it’s a standardized image we have of a grandmother. Well, it’s the same for companies that want to reach certain groups of people. They might not know anyone that’s part of the target group and they base their knowledge on the stereotypical shortcuts of their mind, influenced by general imaging, media or stories from their own personal network. The problem is: reality might look totally different than how they perceive it in their minds.


The A-team always digs a little deeper. They don’t believe in bold statements without grounded arguments. No, they want to make sure that what they create is based on undeniable facts and figures. They talk with their users and consumers and collect all the data they can find.

“KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” they say, and they’re more than right.




Campagne & Cases — Mvslim

Because Allyens breathes innovation. They don’t stick to what’s been done before, they search for the new. The thing that’s been missing. It’s how they created the international platform


YEARBOOK 2018 reaches the entire world, including the White House. One four years ago, they had no idea whether or not there would be anyone interested in their initiative. Today the stories about the life of today’s Muslims reach every corner of the world. At this moment, there are about ten million unique visitors, a third of which come from the United States. “Every now and then we’re asked if we have offices in New York or Boston,” co-founder Taha Riani laughs. The website appears very professional and slick, and is entirely in English. Next to an analysis of the Brussels bombings there is an article about a headscarf wearing taekwondo champion, but you can also find 23 pickup lines to use when flirting with Muslim girls (“We’re allowed to have four wives, but I only want you because you’re worth ten”).

How many brands can say they’ve inspired millions of people worldwide and even reached the White House? They seem a little surprised themselves about the success. But it shows that Hanan Challouki (26) and Taha Riani (23) threw bullseye 4 years ago when they decided to create a counterbalance to the negative press Islam is often associated with. As Riani searches ‘Muslim’ in Google Images, the result is clear: bearded men, ISIS flags, pictures of terrorism and radicalism. “The other side of the story is completely forgotten,” he says. “Using mvslim. com, we want to deal with the stereotypical image. When the media don’t cooperate, it’s better to create your own platform,” Challouki adds. Apart from the audience of millions it’s the huge amount of voluntary writers that shows the high need of such platform. More than three hundred voluntary writers help building the website, half of which write from outside Belgium. A team of editors lead by Head of Content Mayada Srouji, one per topic, makes sure the inflow of articles is well coordinated.

“ Our generation is young, articulate, ambitious.” “Our slogan is: ‘Inspire, Motivate, Unite’,” Riani says. Mvslim does not fear taboo. “Deliberately,” Challouki says. “Our generation is different. Young, articulate, ambitious. We are prepared to go into dialogue, as we are worried about the problems of today’s society.” One of the most read articles is about racism by Muslims towards black fellow believers, for example. Mvslim’s potential impact is enormous. This became clear from the article about Kadra Mohamed, the first female hijabi police officer in Minnesota. Hanan Challouki had found the story on


Campagne & Cases — Mvslim

a local blog. Through it has already been shared 467.900 times on social media. Very suddenly, Kadra Mohamed was invited by Barack Obama on a ceremonial iftar meal at the White House in June last year. The international allure has been a deliberate choice from the very beginning. The founders purposely chose .com instead of .be (Belgium) and for English to be the main language. Challouki: “We immediately wanted it to go international, because the issues themselves are international. Problems about stereotypes are found everywhere.

"Minnesota’s fi rst police woman: ho hijab wearing w cool is she?"


Iftar at the white hous

WELL, ALLYENS cAN. Like modern-type fairies, they use Mvslim to spread messages of joy and hope, reaching minorities who need it the most. 33


How I got to run an international platform — Mayada Srouji (Head of Content) The first time I met Hanan and Taha was at the second meeting of Mvslim, just after the website was launched. They had contacted me through my Facebook page, in which I wrote poems and short opinion pieces, and asked me if I wanted to be a part of the Mvslim team. As someone who’s very timid, it was a pretty big step to work with complete strangers, but I was more curious than timid, so it was only a matter of time until I would show up with ideas. The meeting was held at an Antwerp school in a small class room, we didn’t have an own space back then. We were with a group of 10 youngsters, all from very different educational and cultural backgrounds, but we were all the same in enthusiasm and ambition. The first two years, I worked entirely as a volunteer. Whenever I had spare time, I would work on Mvslim. You know when people list up all their hobbies? My hobby was Mvslim. The philosophy behind the platform was one that I wholeheartedly believed in and, with my idealism, it was a way to make the world a better place. As a writer, the platform was an online safe space, where I could open up discussions that were sometimes controversial to talk about or very specific to the Muslimin-the-West experiences. Soon, Hanan asked me to be editor for the history and opinion sections. I was thrilled to begin a new adventure and to leave my comfort zone a little bit more. This is when Mvslim became very empowering to me as a woman. I got to lead a group of writers from all over the world, from Canada to Indonesia and South Africa, with many of them being twice my age and having multiple degrees.


“ The philosophy behind the platform was one that I wholeheartedly believed in and, with my idealism, it was a way to make the world a better place.”

Fast forwards to today, and I’m the Head of Content of Mvslim and basically run the website. With more than a million visitors a month, Mvslim is getting more relevant and important every day. A ground-breaking platform with hundreds of non-believing contributors around the world. Yes, non-believers: We don’t believe in barriers, limits or giving up. If there are stereotypes, we’ll break them, and if anything, we plant the seeds of imagination and inspire people to reach for the biggest dreams they have. If I, a timid woman from a little unknown village, can become head of an international website, believe me, everything is possible!


Campagne & Cases — Mvslim

It’s the thriving powers behind it, a team of enthusiastic editors and volunteers, that keep people on the edge of their seat to find out what’s next.


stone in e l i M l a c Histori h Time t i a W n I d e e g d d n 2018 E slim Ju u M t s r i F a: 45.8k views Californi amophobia Isl of Rising

#mvslim Antwerpse moslim-site

verovert de wereld

wers o l l o f 0 4 2 416. Representation through participation Mvslim: de b rug waar we al


zo lang op w achten

Campagne & Cases — Mvslim

‘Mvslim’ – Inn ovatief platform voor zelfbewu ste moslims

11.492 followers - a websi te

to counter negative st ereotypes

Belgische o prichters m in top 30 v an Forbes’ meest beloftevoll e jonge Eu ropese tale nten.


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#mvslim 37


What’s so admirable about Allyens, is that they are always so excited to find the next project with some kind of societal value in it. Like that time they ran into those who are in charge of law enforcement. They couldn’t wait to set up a campaign that would educate the young people of Antwerp and teach them about both their rights and obligations. I’m pretty sure everything in that city ran a lot more smooth after Allyens came passing through.


Campagne & Cases — Mag da?



Guess what? They work with the biggest retailer in the country.


Campagne & Cases —

But they signed a confidentiality agreement, so they can’t share anything about that. Too bad, right?



e h t t u o b a ll a is Since Allyens , n io t a r e n e g t x e n

How Pieter became a part of the team Pieter Tijtgat is the coordinator in science communications at ‘Odisee University College’ where he is responsible for the educational research group. In 2018, he also became the project manager of Amper Slim / STEMfluence, a science communications project of the Flemish universities and colleges, in which STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Speaking of a busy bee. One day, Pieter attended the educational day of Odisee University College where Hanan Challouki was giving a lecture on diversity. This organization Pieter works for prioritizes the aspect of diversity. When they had to start looking for a communication partner for a new large-scale STEM project, Pieter didn’t want to take the traditional route. Pieter: “When it comes to science communications, people often think about traditional media partners, such as ‘VRT’ or science popularizing magazine ‘Eos’. Since the project focuses on diversity and offering opportunities, I suggested getting in touch with Allyens, keeping Hanan’s lecture in mind. The rest is history.” The project arose thanks to the cooperation of all sorts of STEM stakeholders. It was then renamed ‘Amper Slim’, which literally translates to ‘Hardly Clever’. The aim of the project is to get young people from different backgrounds and cultures interested in STEM educations and professions. Regarding this project, young people are initially reached through social media. Nowadays, young people are often engaged in social media which means it’s simply common sense to attract them through the devices and platforms they’re currently active on. Although Pieter only uses social media on a professional level, he thinks it presents a very interesting marketing opportunity.


Pieter: “I think it is fascinating how millennials are connected to each other through their smartphones. I, as a 34-year old, situate the millennial on a younger level than myself. For this generation, social media became an inherent part of their lives and it plays a tremendous role regarding their individuality. Maybe that is why I don’t see myself as a millennial. Social media is not that much a compelling aspect of my own life.” How do you implement social media within your strategy to inspire the youth without exposing it as an advertisement? Allyens supported Pieter in this, as he didn’t possess the right expertise. To get STEM into the lives of young people, Allyens looked for a way to incorporate this in their own world. The thinking behind this strategy was to expose the target group to appealing content that contained information about STEM and the related professions. Therefore, we opted for fun facts which are in some way linked to STEM, in which we also implemented role models. Pieter also got in touch with influencers through Amper Slim. These influencers took over the Amper Slim Instagram-account so people could follow those who are active in the field of STEM. Pieter: “I see influencers as people who are very active on social media and who have a tremendous amount of followers. Influencers can be situated within different domains, such as fashion, lifestyle, cosmetics or travel, to name a few. Flemish influencers within the domain of STEM, however, are hard to find. The initial objective of Amper Slim was not to boost those young people who are already interested in STEM. In fact, the intention was to attract those who actually have never thought about attending a STEM study program or working in the field of STEM. To give you an example, young fashionistas got the opportunity through STEM to show that technology can also be implemented in the world of fashion. They were able to reach even more people than they first thought was possible. STEM is something that is not so easily associated with Fashion. Nevertheless, the connection really exists.” Another example of this phenomenon is a young influencer who visited a pilot and followed her during a normal working day at the airport. Several Instagram stories were placed on the account of Amper Slim to keep their followers up-to-date. In this way, Amper Slim tried to attract and make their target audience interested regarding different educations within the field of STEM. As such, Amper Slim carries an inclusive message. The purpose is to try to convince every young person because everyone can opt for STEM, not only white boys with a large set of brains. Pieter: “Inclusiveness means reaching that specific unused potential. Take for example a sports activation in which people are encouraged to exercise. Often, the activation reaches people who already like to participate in the initiative, because they like sports or exercising. Nevertheless, the people who really need it, those who prefer to remain seated, are the people who really need to be reached. This is of course the ultimate challenge. Inclusiveness is reaching the unreachable, something that the Allyens team succeeds in.”

m i l s r e amp

Campagne & Cases — Amper Slim

it’s only natural that a collective of all Flemish universities approached them to create a new space for youngsters. And not just any space, but a platform that could make them aspire a future in science or technology. So Allyens made it happen.


Why we believe micro-influencers are the way to go As a creative agency specialized in inclusive, viral and millennial communications, it is needless to say we work with influencers. Influencers are increasingly considered as the secret to success. They can add a tremendous amount of value to a brand thanks to their reach and visibility. Nevertheless, there is a new hype in town: micro- influencing. These are the reasons why micro-influencers are the (new) way to go.

It’s impossible to look at Allyens and miss the amazing people it’s alway surrounded by.

E U L F N I 44

Influencers — Why we believe micro-influencers are the way to go



What makes micro-influencers so preferable to macroinfluencers? Well, they focus on a particular topic which they are passionate about. As a result, they are characterized by their followers who have the same interests. This makes it really interesting for brands, because it’s very useful to draw attention towards a specific target audience.

Customers are more inclined to buy from someone they know, because they will receive direct information and feedback on the brand. Face-to-face communication is still more effective than a more distant communication. Moreover, it is generally known that people tend to purchase products more easily from someone they like or trust.



Brands are losing touch with the super diverse society that we are living in. Micro-influencers can make a difference in this situation, because they help increase inclusivity into our society. This inclusive approach creates possibilities. Many different micro-influencers will reach a specific target audience that is unique from one another. People can search for similarities that provide access to a more open and positive perspective.

With regard to micro-influencers, it is not about the reach, but about how they communicate with their community. They try to build a strong connection with the community who is interested in them. This will increase the impact the influencer will have on your brand. The influencer will change their account according to the interests of the community itself, which makes them more attractive.

REASON 3.: AUTHENTICITY Micro-influencers are much more authentic than famous people or representatives of big brands. Regarding microinfluencers, it’s all about quality, interaction and passion within a smaller community. This will do the trick! The authenticity from someone who lives in a more similar world as them, will give the customer more appreciation and in turn has more persuasive power. REASON 4.: PASSION An influencer with lots of followers will try to become even more instafamous, whereas a micro-influencer will focus more on sharing their daily passion(s) and love for what keeps them motivated. These influencers have a more loyal group of followers who appreciate them for their enthusiasm. Micro-influencers have a passion they want to share with those who are interested in it, instead of the whole wide world. REASON 5.: BRAND LOYALTY Macro-influencers manage to reach a wide audience, however due to their great notoriety they’re asked for divergent brands. Therefore, they lose affiliation with brands which results in a sense of distance. Microinfluencers, on the other hand, keep brand loyalty in mind and stick to brands that are in line with their personality. This provides more credibility to the customer which decreases the distance between brands and their audience.

REASON 8.: INVOLVEMENT If your goal is to involve your customer with your brand, micro-influencers are an ideal cog in your strategy wheel. Involvement is the key and basis of influencer marketing. Thanks to the involvement you will receive better insight into what is going on with your brand. When an account has reached a certain number of followers, less people are interested in engaging with them. REASON 9.: INTERACTION Because micro-influencers work in such a personal way, there is a great opportunity for interaction between influencers and their followers. If you approach someone on a personal level, people tend to be more open. That, in turn, creates a higher level of interaction and less superficiality. REASON 10.: RECOGNITION The network that micro-influencers extend, contains people like you and me. Their followers will consider the influencer as someone in whom they can recognize themselves. This recognition will help attract and inspire the audience, which can result in participation and activation within the community.

S R E C N E 45


We interviewed 3 influencers we loved working with this year — Telli Nur, Bianca Dewamme and Sarah Dimani @TELLINUR We spoke with Telli Nur, 22-year-old Belgian influencer, about social media and what it means to be an influencer. Telli, who goes by the Instagram handle @tellinurr, describes herself as social, ambitious and creative. She sees social media as a place where you can express yourself in a creative and fun way. “Influencers,” she says, “are people who do things their own way and share their ideas with their followers.” “I became an influencer mainly by being active on social media.” Through frequent posting and active participation on social media, she began to expand her Musically-grown fanbase, allowing her follower count to grow simply by doing what she liked. Telli would like to use her voice to inspire her followers to keep chasing their dreams. Her own personal dream is to travel the world. “As an influencer,” she states, “I mostly focus on having fun and sharing my experiences in a creative way.”

157 posts wers 5.173 follo ing 169 follow

I mostly“focus on having fun and sharing my experiences in a creative way.” Telli: “I learned a lot and had a great time working with Allyens.” She believes you can target specific groups by working with influencers who are interested in the same content as you are. “Seeing as the influencer’s followers are most likely interested in the same content,” she points out, “it’s easier to reach your target group. This way influencers can learn new things and in turn teach them to their followers without making them feel like they’re being pushed outside of their comfort zone.”


Influencers — Telli & Bianca

@MISSWOBBIE Meet Bianca Dewamme, 33-year-old influencer on Instagram to ask her some questions about the life of a Belgian influencer. Bianca is an authentic, fun-loving creative. She has a whole list of amazing projects she can’t wait to sink her teeth into, but she admits to feeling overwhelmed at times. “I know not everything can always be easy-breezy, but I won’t let that stop me,” Bianca states. She likes finding happiness in small things and enjoying everything going on around her. Bianca: “Social media is a way to let out my creative outbursts, such as sewing, crafting, cooking,... but also the time I spends with my children. Sharing my ‘background info’ is just as enjoyable as having a nice chat with friends about my life.” She often receives positive comments, allowing Bianca to experience a sort of online therapy that allows her to feel good in her own skin. She does add, however, that “letting yourself get caught in the Instagram’s algorithmic web can quickly turn a calm oasis into a stressful storm.” She loves being inspired by people and inspiring others in turn. “I love learning about fun tips and tricks, activities and unique products through real people instead of fake advertisements.” She also likes the fact that people have been inspired by her projects. After a while she got requested to collaborate with other users. Each time she got such a request, it would warm her heart. “Apparently,” she shares, “people are inspired enough by my work to believe I can mean something to them, too.”

568 posts 1.368 followers 630 following

“ is a Social media way to let out my creative outbursts.” Bianca loves fresh and unique experiences. Testing, which means receiving, weird new products she considers a definite plus, and would not say no to such opportunities in the future. When asked about her dream, she states that though she thinks it’s not the kind of dream we meant, she “would love to go to a tropical island with good food and delicious cocktails.” As an influencer herself, she believes they can offer an added value to marketing, but only if they are actually authentic. Influencers allow people a clearer view of products or services by sharing their experiences and different opinions of the product. This is better, she says, than viewing another toothpaste ad, for example. Bianca only wants to work with brands she believes in. She focuses mainly on ‘realness’. “If I don’t believe in a product, I won’t be seen advertising it.”



@SARAAHDII Sarah Dimani is 25 and lives in Antwerp. If Dimani had to describe herself she would choose the words, ‘fashion activist’, ‘representation fighter’ and ‘woke’. No further explanation required as these words speak for themselves. Sarah’s influencer career started out mostly as a happy coincidence: “I just rolled into it. At the time I was starting out on Instagram, there was a high demand for modest fashion. Subconsciously, I responded to that need.” Social media is important to Sarah because she views it as the place where she can be heard. To her, it’s a platform for sharing and getting to know many different opinions, for inspiring and being inspired by other people. She would call herself an impact influencer. Sarah: “With my platform, I do hope to have an influence, so that I can give my followers new knowledge. I try to combine this with my passion for fashion.” With her Instagram account, Sarah wants to be able to create a kind of online community and a safe space where everyone can talk freely about current topics. She wants people to feel free to share new perspectives with each other. “As an influencer I focus on my message but also on positivity. Everything I promote or share has to be for public interest and has to radiate positivity.” She tries to do this through fashion and by involving inclusivity in what she writes, shares and posts.

With my“platform, I do hope to have an influence, so that I can give my followers new knowledge. I try to combine this with my passion for fashion.” Sarah: “I dream about starting my own thing, and besides that, I dream of change of course!” Her main goal is situated within the fashion world. “I want to be a part of this society and I want to identify myself without it becoming a sensation,” Sarah says. This past year, Allyens collaborated with Sarah a few times. They worked together for Brussels Airport, Modest Fashion Forum and Amper Slim. On this collaboration: “Every time I worked with Allyens, it was a success. Allyens plays an important role in this society. I really see them as an intermediary between two worlds, the western and the diverse world.” Sarah believes influencer marketing can offer a value to the society. “Influencers are so different and they are literally the representation of society,” she shares. “We don’t fit in a box and we don’t have to meet any criteria. In the end we are the target group a company wants to reach. By doing influencer marketing, you respond directly to your target group.”


Influencers — Sarah

503 posts 104k followers 2.597 following

v valu e v a l alu

valu e es lues You know what I like most about Allyens? They’re more than an agency. These folks got principles. And I mean real values, like the ones you don’t often run into these days.


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rent with diffe le p o e P r. gethe olors, to people to pes and c ty f o We bring ty e ork tell, a vari lity. We w a n o m m o stories to c ther. around a rking toge o m o e w th t r e it ta n s u ey ss net share so that th with them ho walks on this pla ch other. ea yw differ from Everybod y e lues and th n a re th m, the va e th ts c e much mo g their nn r what co hile stayin fo w , k o rs e lo e th W ith o y share w habits the lf. unique se


It’s a cliché to say we put pe ople first. But we go furt her than that w e understand them, we rese arch them, w e look for the emotions, ho ir pes, dreams a n d far and we do everything we can to dee ply affect them.

s s e n l u f y a l p rer young explo a f o it ir p s umor It’s with the g sense of h in d n e re v e ot and a n every day. N h g u ro th t riously, that we ge be taken se to s a h g in everyth e look at t the way w o n ly e it n fi de ourselves.


We’re not afr aid to get to th e point and identify issue s that may be se nsitive to others. We be lieve the only way to deal with somethin g is to address it clearly, which is exac tly what we d o.




There is no such thing as quitting, it’s not even a discuss ion we put on the table. We make mi stakes, we learn from them and we start again, with full power and ne w energy.

t n e m r e w o p em re value of Empowerment is the co lp people our entire being. We he the fullest develop themselves to go further and we inspire them to t they could. than they ever though


We challen ge ourselve s to keep g and develo rowing, lea ping who w rning e are and w do. We stay hat we can curious and open-mind constantly ed and we observe wh a t is happen us. Keeping in g around up is never enough.In o relevant, w rder to stay e have to sta y ahead. Ah competitors e ad of our , our custom ers, our com above all, o munities an urselves. d

gratitude ties We are grateful for the opportuni us e giv t we get and the people tha the a chance to prove ourselves. It’s tes feeling of appreciation that motiva e. us to work with purpos



The founders of Allyens are in prestigious Forbes 30-under-30 list Our founders, Taha Riani and Hanan Challouki, have been listed in Forbes 30 under 30. In the words of Forbes:

They may“be young, but they are ones for the ages.” The annual Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list features young, talented people across a diverse list of categories. And the founders of Allyens have made it to the 30 under 30 list of Media & Marketing. Challouki and Riani, 26 and 23 years old respectively, started this agency three years ago. Their vision was to make marketing and communications more inclusive and accessible for everyone. Over the course of just three years, they have proven that they can not only have an impact on the industry, but also that they are able to reach millions of millennials.

BUT OBVIOUSLY, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the credits they get once in a while.

Working with clients such as BNP Paribas, VRT and Colruyt Group, Allyens is steadily growing into an agency with a unique expertise in the field of viral and inclusive communications and marketing. Being acknowledged by Forbes is definitely an honor to Allyens. The reports and editors of Forbes vetted thousands of nominations and polled expert judges to compile the 30 under 30 list and ensure that each member is a leader in his/her industry. The judges for Media & Marketing are Arianna Huffington (business woman and co-founder of the Huffington Post), Charlotte Moore (Director of Content at BBC) and Emilie Tabor and Maddie Raedts (co-founders of IMA).

Even Forbes thought there was something special going on in the city of Antwerp, putting the two managing partners in their prestigious 30-under-30 list. You might even wonder how much better it can it even get after this. 55


Well, I see a big future for Allyens.



A little birdie told me they’ll be working with clients like Johnsson & Johnsson, Equal Brussels and the City of Antwerp in the upcoming year. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m pretty sure Allyens has a couple of big things planned for us in the upcoming year.


I hope you don’t mind me wrapping up this letter now. I know there’s so much more to tell and you might have tons of questions. Thank God the good people at Allyens are the most open and dynamic types you’ll ever meet. So you should just give them a call, or hop in at the architectural pearl they call their office.

s t c a t con Allyens BVBA Oranjestraat 44 2060 Antwerpen

tel: 03 435 66 60