A creator girl, in a creator world

We look at the rise of the Creator economy, and the challenges and opportunities facing brands in a rapidly growing content ecosystem.

The heyday of the Influencer is past, and the era of the Creator is here and now. Is there a difference? Yes. In contrast to the stylised content of Influencers backed by big brand sponsorship deals, the sentiment around Creators is that they are much more authentic, speaking genuinely to products and topics that they are passionate about. Any monetisation is seen as the reward for producing genuine, entertaining and rewarding content. The spectrum of Creators is also a much wider ecosystem, with macro, micro, and nano Creators working at varying scales of audience, output, and spend.

The rise of the Creator economy

According to Goldman Sachs, the Creator economy is set to be worth $250 BILLION in 2023. So Bill Gates was right; his 1996 essay titled ‘Content is King’ (this is where the phrase was born), was a very astute prediction that appears to be materialising in a big way.

The Creator economy is made up of millions of individuals and brands working collaboratively to utilise expertise, personality, and creativity in order to produce content, build audiences and grow businesses. Brands need to rethink traditional content strategies involving large budgets and long timelines and put more focus on producing quick, authentic content. Partnering with Creators should be highly prioritised, as this will allow brands to create the volume of content needed for modern touchpoints, and refresh content regularly to avoid creative fatigue.

Growth is set to almost double over the next five years, with improved monetisation of short-form video platforms, increasing digital media consumption, and rapidly advancing technology. All of these things indicate that the Creator economy is set to grow in line with predicted growth in digital advertising spend.

How brands can adapt and capitalise

It’s not all about entertainment, either. Audiences are increasingly looking for ‘edutainment’, seeking answers and using platforms as their chosen place to learn. The Creator-Educator as such is on the rise, and brands can work with Creators to build trust and cultural caché through more learning-led content, whether that aligns with their product or simply positions the brand in a more credible place.

There are 200 million creators globally primed for brand partnerships and sponsored content (WGSN).

The key challenge for many brands is going to be relinquishing creative control – which factors highly on Creators' wishlists when considering a brand collaboration. With unique voices and creative visions, brands will need to empower Creators rather than try to mould them into the brand’s specific viewpoint. It’s this empowerment that results in authenticity, which in turn engages individuals, builds communities, and drives genuine performance and growth.

So, the takeaway from all of this is that Creator content is not only big business right now, but it’s going to keep growing at a meteoric rate. So invest now! Done correctly it’s a sure-fire way to increase reach and help you be more cost-efficient with your spend. Just don’t forget to choose Creators who align with your values, compensate them fairly, and treat everyone as a collaborator by harnessing their unique skills to do what they do best – create!

Sonali de Alwis

Sonali de Alwis is the Executive Creative Director at OLS. She works across all client accounts, driving creative excellence, and is a dedicated believer in using global insights and consumer trends to shape more effective work. She loves journalistic photography, elaborate recipes, going on far-flung adventures, and can often be found in one of the many south London food markets.