Marketing Agency Leadership Influencer Marketing

Creators as brands: influencer marketing leaders’ near-future predictions


By Sam Anderson | Network Editor

July 27, 2023 | 6 min read

At a recent roundtable with The Drum Network’s leading influencer marketers, we asked our panel what they expect next in this fast-changing space. From AI to vertical video anxiety, here are their answers in full.

A phone, on a tripod, capturing an image of a triangular light display

What do influencer-marketing leaders predict in the near future of the industry? / Nadine Redlich via Unsplash

Imogen Coles, UK influence lead, Ogilvy UK: “With the growth of the creative economy, we’re moving away from working with creators as promoters, towards working with creators as entrepreneurs or as brands. We’ve seen a trial of that over the last 10 years, with the awful trend of influencers creating books, for example.

“Back then, though, we were only selling to an influencer’s audience. As we move toward influencers-as-entrepreneurs (or as brands), though, we’ll partner brands and influencers. Take Prime energy drinks: developed by Logan Paul, KSI, and a bottling company. They’ve created an amazing brand, and now an FMCG brand wants to buy Prime for a huge amount of money. What I'm excited about is the start of that process. How do brands spot the growing creator entrepreneurs, to create something new together, so that you're not only jumping off the back of the creator’s audience; you're also forming a new audience and reaching a much broader one. We can combine the creator’s skillset and entrepreneurial mindset to understand culture at the speed of culture with the knowledge and the facilities of the brand and marketers.

“The issues we once had were because we relied far too heavily on influencers branding products. We need to co-create. That's why influencers-as-creative-directors hasn’t worked out in the past; it's just sticking a face on something. It's only with true, genuine collaboration that we're going to access that huge revenue opportunity in the growth of the crater economy.”

Pete Metcalfe, chief executive officer, Social Chain: “I like the notion of the camera pointing both ways, and the impact that's going to have on production values. We’re completely evolving our studios to be about creators. Ultimately, the barrier to entry in production is gone. It's a completely open game. You've got low-fi point-and-shoot: we're trying to pivot towards that. Big brand agencies are trying to pivot towards it, too. Somewhere, that’s going to converge.”

Hannah Anderson, managing director, Kyma Media, Kairos Group: “I hate to be the one who mentions AI, but we're on the precipice of it really lowering that barrier to entry. Will it be lowered with AI video editing? With AI influencers? I'm interested to see the impact that it's going to have. It will have one.”

Paula Albuquerque, head of MG Influencer, MG Empower: “With AI, the sweet-spot for brands and creators, for us, has been heavily experimenting with AI on our proprietary platform where we visually analyze content, on the elements that are engaging and resonating most with audiences. While that will never replace the role of influencers or creators in the content creation process, it helps creators and brands to understand what drives best performance and what’s really connecting with audiences. I'm curious to see how that evolves; I think it's going to set some interesting standards for the industry.”

Jordan Carroll, global innovation director, The Fifth: “We've got it so sweet now: content shot on mobile vertically; edited on mobile vertically; published on mobile vertically, to be consumed that way. It’s completely frictionless. All the platforms are banking on vertical video; we're getting good return-on-investment from it; the creators find it really rewarding.

“Just around the corner, a big device shift is going to come along with Apple releasing their new VR headset. I'm not saying this first edition will be the one that changes everything, but maybe in three or four iterations, that will be become the secondary or even primary device. Then shooting content changes; editing changes; so does the way we consume it. I’d love to stretch out this time, right now, to really enjoy the vertical moment – we haven't had it long, and it's working really well. But tech’s moving too quickly. We’re going to have to adapt.”

Shivani Choda, head of digital, The Romans: “For me, it’s about looking at the wider landscape of digital and technology. To what degree is technology going to disrupt how creators create? How is that going to change the content they then develop? Is that still going to be authentic? The influencer world is growing at an unprecedented rate. More people want to influence; more people are struggling to understand what ‘creators’ and ‘influencers’ even mean; it's become such a saturated space. That, combined with differing levels of technological disruption: it’s going to be interesting to see what the results look like from a creative standpoint.”

Tommy Joe Moore, senior creative director, DRPG: “A key interest of mine is it's not so much ‘who’ when we're talking about influencing, but ‘when’. How can we evolve the way in which we work with clients to make them a lot more agile in the decision-making process? It's such a fleeting, time-bound market. For most organizations with the right money to spend at the right scale, those decisions still take far too much time. How can agencies work with clients to speed that up, so that we can use the right people, with the right content, at the right time? It’s exciting to see how that model changes.”

Marketing Agency Leadership Influencer Marketing

Content created with:

Kairos Group

Led by experts with more than 100+ years of gaming and media industry knowledge, Kairos Group comprises multiple entities including Kairos Media, Kyma Media and Horizon Union.

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DRPG is one of the longest established, trusted and uniquely integrated communication and production specialists, famous for making anything possible as we connect people, build brands and help grow organisations worldwide.

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Ogilvy UK

Ogilvy is all about depth and breadth - we have London's broadest and deepest skillset in communications our award-winning teams work fluidly across our core capabilities Advertising Brand & Content, Experience, PR and Influence. And we have the UK's largest dedicated team of award-winning behavioural scientists in-house.

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The Romans

We’re bored of boring PR. Founded in 2015 and backed by advertising agency Mother, our team has worked with some of the world’s most exciting brands and created some of the most innovative and awarded earned media campaigns of recent years.

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We strengthen your SocialChain by building stronger connections between people and brands.

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We built the agency with one clear mission: to do things differently.

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MG Empower

We are a fully integrated marketing powerhouse offering a range of best-in-class marketing services, from community-building and brand co-creation to amplification and full awareness campaigns, to world-class brands, talents and innovators.

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