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The creator economy: what is it and how can brands engage with it?
September 29, 2021
What is the creator economy?
It is a new ecosystem in which creators are able to apply passion and creativity to make money, instead of simply relying on likes and views. It focuses on bringing more life and meaning to the traditional media landscape in a way that empowers creative people worldwide to bring out the best in them, entirely driven by their passion.
The essence of this economy lies in the fact that every creator can now reach their target audience directly, without the assistance of a third party. That offers a massive shift from what we’ve been used to with the traditional media landscape. To put it simply, today you and I can now build strong businesses even from a small but dedicated fanbase in a way that takes full advantage of our creative juices, passion, innovation and hard work.
Platforms elevating the creator’s economy
Take a quick look around the marketing world now; the landscape is changing drastically, as people now have more freedom to be creative in the way they bring to life their ideas. The creator’s economy is now booming with rich and innovative content and in a way that resonates with millennials and the current generation. I must point out that some game-changing platforms have propelled the success we now see:
Patreon: Patreon is a go-to platform when it comes to rewarding content creators for their content. Today over 6,000 patrons support ten or more creators at the same time.
OnlyFans: The current swift rise in popularity of OnlyFans is nothing short of incredible, racking up over 50m users in 2021. Today, it’s not difficult to find some social media redirecting their followers to this platform, with promises of exclusive content.
Stir: With Stir, you can share revenue from your content through collaboration. This platform alone raised $4m in funding in 2020.
YouTube Super Chat: Most Youtube gamers use this option to make their money, as the feature allows users to pay for pinning comments in a livestream video.
Buy Me a Coffee: Through a meet and greet model, the app allows the audience to book coffee sessions with their creators (similar to a zoom call). By April 2021, this app hit 300,000 creators.
How brands can engage with the creator’s economy
The writing is clearly on the wall; brands that want to remain relevant in this dynamic content creation and marketing world must adapt and fast! But that’s not all; they should also find ways to empower the critical players in the field - the content creators.
I believe it’s time for brands to shift their focus. Instead of trying to connect with consumers, they should aim at creating bonds with people instead. But what's the difference? Consumers only purchase your products, people build personal bonds with your brand, and this is where the creator’s economy comes in. It allows brands to build natural communities and add value. Consider the following tips:
1) Rethinking value proposition to partner with content creators and reach new audience engagement opportunities
Brands need to start telling their stories differently. Few people now pay attention to brand stories that don’t resonate with them. Audiences are now looking for more personal connections with brands. And this is why a good partnership with content creators is essential. They are better placed to create more engaging and authentic connections with target audiences.
2) Educating marketing teams on the needed virtual platforms
The new economy offers exciting and game-changing platforms, and your marketers should be able to explore them. Above are five of the most influential platforms. Give it a go, explore them. Getting your marketers active on them will give them a better understanding of what creators are into, and opens the possibility to test and learn from new strategies on how to approach audiences and offer new unique experiences in collaboration with content creators.
3) Supporting the growth of content creators
News flash: marketers are no longer in the driver’s seat. Today, brands now share their control with content creators with loyal audiences. These creators now earn their money from their audiences and can further invest in their content creation to add more value. I believe the smartest move is to support their creativity while providing them with the tools they need to make the most of it. Let's start approaching and understanding content creators as production and storytelling directors.
4) Shifting from the traditional marketing approach
Out with the old, in with the new. Brands need to rethink the way they communicate to adapt to this changing marketing landscape. The creator economy is completely decentralizing the media landscape and is up to brands to understand the amazing potential this entails, in order for them to reach consumers who are looking to build long term relationships, instead of a one-time conversion.
Key takeaways and recommendations
- If brands want to remain relevant, they need to adapt and support the rise and growth of the creator economy.
- The creator economy holds the key to present and future marketing, cutting out traditional marketers. As a result, creators will dominate the media and creative organisations in the future.
- Brands still have enough time to shift their mindset, readjust and collaborate with the players of this economy: content creators. Doing this will help them create more engaging and effective marketing strategies and explore new audience engagement.
- Brands should explore new models that focus on real people, not consumers.