Impact Studio Drop #08: Creators Everywhere

Olly Gosling
Olly Gosling
May 16, 2024
Welcome to Impact Studio Drop #08, your bi-weekly deep dive into the new, interesting and occasionally unexpected ways to do cool stuff with creators.

Welcome to Impact Studio Drop #08, your bi-weekly deep dive into the new, interesting and occasionally unexpected ways to do cool stuff with creators.

Fancy a GK Bariaki burger? KFC joined a growing number of top tier brands who have been using social-first creators in other channels. And it’s not just TV, if you walked past any Footasylum over Christmas you’ll have seen the faces of some of social’s most influential creators looking back at you from screens and building-high posters. 

Creators are increasingly appearing in new media channels, a trend set only to accelerate in 2024. This drop looks into the evolving value of creators and the role they can play in helping brands have greater impact with audiences in new media channels. 

Walking around a Tokyo shopping centre a couple of weeks back, I saw what Google Translate told me was some face cream sitting innocuously on a shelf, with a picture of a YouTuber accompanying it among the point of sale material.

This sort of occurrence is hardly new these days, creators are popping up everywhere. Once constrained to the realm of social platforms, they are increasingly straying out of this natural territory and lending their names, faces and content skills to far more than just social media. At Influencer we’ve helped put creators in out of home advertising, cinema and even on a Times Square billboard. 

But is the value you get from creators in these spaces the same as when they are being watched and followed by audiences on social? Influencer marketing spiel of old will tell you that creators are the next most trusted thing outside of a recommendation from friends or family, and that because we feel like we know them, we implicitly trust their endorsements. Whether that is still where the value of creators lies these days is up for debate, but what is irrefutable is that unless you are working with megastars, the moment you remove a creator from the comfort of their owned audiences, that recognition and implicit trust is gone. So to understand the real value of creators everywhere, we need to take a deeper look at what is left.

A change in how we think about the value of creators

We often think about the value of creators in one of two ways; they are makers of content, who deliver value through creative, or they are media owners able to mobilise and engage with audiences of all sizes. And the very best of them combine the two.  

But are these things really the essence of what creators bring to the table? To get a little high-brow for a moment and consider causality - are these things the cause of their skill and popularity, or are they effects?  There’s a good argument to be made that they are actually effects. As creators get popular, they create better content, and they attract bigger audiences. So how can we more accurately identify what it is about creators that makes them valuable to audiences and to brands and understand their true value in a multi-channel environment?

In some recent(ish) pitch work, one of the team pinched a phrase from Caleb Madison at The Atlantic to draw a line under our insight work; 

Genius, on its own, but it’s broader than that. It’s a brilliantly insightful distillation of the value of creators - cultural cut-through. Creators’ ability to make people feel seen, heard and understood is at the heart of what makes them great.  

The best creators all have an inherent understanding of the cultures and communities they represent, and have all been able to translate that insight and understanding into content that resonates. We used to talk about authenticity with regards to recognition. But that doesn’t necessarily hold true anymore. It’s about authenticity to a culture, a community and a joint set of principles that people can buy into. Everything else follows from that. 

How do we translate this impact to other channels? 

So how do we go about making the most of creator relationships and content in this new world? There are three obvious ways that brands can go about integrating creators into activity across additional channels with the smartest brands already starting to make moves in this direction. 

1. Leverage creator content in other channels

You’ve spent money making impactful creator content for social channels, you’re probably paying to distribute it through paid social as well. It’s a small leap to start thinking about other channels you can bring that content into. TikTok have recently launched their Out Of Phone proposition that brings content out of social, and distributes it across digital out of home environments. We recently ran a campaign doing exactly this for Nike, putting TikTok content on a massive digital billboard in Times Square. Doing this allows you to reach a different audience at a different time, and in a different context to what audiences might expect. Surprise and delight is a wonderful thing, and there’s inherent value in doing something unexpected. 

2. Bring creators themselves into wider creative 

Especially when working with big hero creators that will deliver recognition among broader audiences, simply involving creators in more channels  is a great way to make the most of the creator relationships you’re building. We’ve had creators show up in TV ads, in Cinema, across point of sale and increasingly in out of home and digital out of home. This kind of activity not only makes for great content, but is something that is often considered a huge benefit to  the creators themselves - deepening the relationship you’re building. 

3. Create something new and bespoke 

The TikTokification of advertising is a very real thing as content across all types of media channels is becoming more like social content - rougher, more raw, faster cuts and higher energy. The easiest way to lean into this is to bring creators into the creative and production process of content across all channels. This allows brands to be joined up across different channels, playing into the differences in format and context that resonate with audiences more deeply.

Creators are playing an increasingly prominent role in the wider media mix, with the likes of KFC, Footasylum, Google and Nike joining a growing number of top tier brands who are using social-first creators in other channels. With built-in audiences and the skills to elevate brand content across a range of channels, creator appearances and input into broader marketing creates a buzz and excitement that brands need to cut through.

By maximising the value of creator relationships and leveraging their skills, audience and content, brands can win with consumers and ensure they’re well placed to take advantage of a trend we see only accelerating throughout the year ahead.

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