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The Shifting Balance of Power between Media, Creators & Brands

The rise of creators is well-documented and unstoppable. More than 50 million people consider themselves creators, becoming the fastest-growing type of small business in the US. And brands are taking note; media investments grew from $1.7bn in 2016 to more than $10bn in 2020 and is expected to hit almost $14bn for 2021.

Creators have shifted the media ecosystem power dynamic for brands, platforms and media alike – driving high engagement and high impact. Marketers are spending heavily to harness their power and influence, but still the biggest challenges are identifying the right creators that fit with their brand equities and measuring ROI from partnerships.

So, what are the opportunities for brands in the creator economy today and into the future? ITB Worldwide’s SVP Michael Jacobson recently took part in an Ipsos panel discussion alongside Robin Fontaine, head of product marketing at Patreon and Matt Lawler, director, digital media & global partnerships at AEG, to discuss just that.

From defining influencer/creator and how the two overlap to the changing relationships between creators and brands and the evolution of endorsement deals, the session also touches on the themes of enablement, empowerment, and authenticity. Watch the full panel discussion here:

Scroll down to read some of our favourite quotes from the discussion by Michael Jacobson.

“Influencers are not solely those with a large audience. Influencers are people with an audience. We’re all influencers. But not all influencers are creators.”

“The use of talent to promote a product through a third-party medium (be it a TV ad, print ad or PR day) still exists and has existed for hundreds of years – borrowing the equity of an individual who is known and trusted in some way. What’s changed now in the last 10 years is influencer marketing is now an endorsement deal that comes pre-packaged with media. When you get that endorsement of that talent, you’re also getting an audience with it.”

“There’s no one strategy that everyone should go to but [influencer/creator marketing] is yet another massively impactful tactic in a marketer’s arsenal. From top of funnel reach, impressions and awareness to KPIs that are more about driving sales and getting CTA costs down, these are things we couldn’t do 10 years ago at this scale, for this variety of metrics. It gives us a whole new set of tools and opportunities as brands and marketers to be able to slice and dice how we reach those goals.”

“We’re dealing now in a marketing tactic of a very dynamic widget – an individual. It could not get more complex in how you deal with them. There’s pros and cons to that but it’s certainly different to buying a pre-roll placement, a front-page ad or a billboard. It’s the acknowledgement that we’re at the very beginning of this, relatively speaking, so there’s going to be some amazing opportunity but also so much more churn and diligence needed with this much harder to scale use of individuals, than just buying a Super Bowl spot. The scale and complexity of dealing with an individual is part of what your marketing tool is and represents.”

“The creator economy and the evolution of it has meant that brands no longer get to sit behind the shadow of their marketing dollars and sell in less and less authentic ways. It’s about figuring out who you are as a brand, what you represent and how that overlaps authentically with an audience. If you go into this space, do so authentically and partner with those who overlap with your message on the right platform, with the right program.”

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