Omar Kbiri and Yara Michels: a Communication Science on the Spot double interview

7 June 2016

On Tuesday 31 May the Graduate School of Communication hosted the first ever Communication Science on the Spot double interview, organised together with the Amsterdam Research Initiative (ari).

The first guest was new media expert Omar Kbiri, driving force behind Maak, a management agency for talent and stories as well as co-founder and creative director of the yearly YouTube festival Veed. Our second guest was online entrepreneur Yara Michels, who runs award winning platform Chapter Friday – and is a Communication Science alumna. During an interview with Eva van Reijmersdal, Omar and Yara gave their insiders’ perspective on the world of online influencing.

Since agencies have thorough knowledge of influencer strategies, as well as connections with online influencers, brands prefer to work together with an agency. However, brands differ in how quickly they can adapt to and implement the use of these strategies. Therefore, it can take a lot of time for an agency to teach a brand about the newest strategies, tools and platforms.

Since every platform uses a new metric, most calculations of the return on investments of a marketing campaign are based on traditional media channels, such as television or radio. According to Omar, it can thus be difficult to convince a brand to use new platforms, such as Snapchat or Instagram, because brand awareness is difficult to measure. Finally, when a brand catches up on a certain platform, it might be slightly outdated already. 

According to Yara, as an online influencer your credibility and your audience are your unique products. It is important for an online influencer to be authentic, transparent and open when collaborating with a certain brand, because the audience recognizes sponsored content. If the content of an advertised message is well brought and interesting, the audience will appreciate it, whereas when the content of an advertised message is bad, this will have a negative effect. Therefore, when creating content, Yara’s number one criteria is: what’s in this for me, if I were a reader? As an online influencer, it is important to have a good story, a creative and open personality, be talented (i.e. writing sketches or storylines) and of course have an interest in online influencing.

Written by Susan Vermeer

This was the final session of Communication Science on the Spot of this academic year. If you have a suggestion for a person you would like to see On the Spot, please send an e-mail to Hopefully, we will see you next year!

About Omar Kbiri

Omar Kbiri is an expert in the field of new media, PR and communication. He is the driving force behind Maak, a management agency for talent and stories, as well as co-founder and creative director of Veed, a yearly festival for famous YouTube vloggers and their fans. Omar also founded Biko, an agency especially for online influencers. When working as a presentor, journalist or video maker, Omar’s favourite topics include storytelling, pop culture and reaching young audiences.

About Yara Michels

Online entrepreneur Yara Michels runs award winning platform Chapter Friday that focuses on style, creativity and careers – or as she calls it: ‘an online toolkit to an awesome and successful life’. Her website was founded eight years ago – when blogs weren’t money making machines yet, and her photos were edited in Paint. It quickly became one of the go-to style blogs in the country. Every post – whether that's a video on how to travel alone, printable Goal Sheets or a funky playlist for office dancing – should make someone’s life a little better, happier or prettier. She also runs a YouTube channel, is a total Snapchat and Instagram addict (with 120K followers), wrote a book, develops social media strategies for big companies and is a TV host. In short: a total media fanatic.

Published by  GSC