Creators have replaced agencies

A couple of years ago, we here at Heard decided we needed to promote our brand and interact with more people. However, instead of taking our own advice and creating content, we tried some traditional marketing campaigns and tactics that fell flat on their face.

While it failed for a couple of reasons, there was one we just couldn’t foresee at the time: the current prominence and preeminence of “the creator economy.”

the creator economy

The idea behind the creator economy is that we now have technology so advanced that individuals themselves are companies that can build and leverage audiences to sell products, develop services, or advertise against.

There are a million different ways to leverage an audience through “the creator economy” and there’s a lot of hype around that, hype is that 100% justified because the consumer is demanding and having a higher and higher choice in the content they are consuming.

in the past

It used to be that you would advertise by borrowing brand equity from agencies like a network, newspaper, or highway billboard. You would trade dollars to use someone else’s brand equity, space, real estate, name, or network and all the viewers that came with it to put your brand in front.

Change began with cord-cutting, continued with the conception of today’s many subscription platforms, and now the internet itself. Today the consumer is empowered more than ever to subscribe to what they want to as opposed to looking at the big networks that used to have all of our attention, which would then be resold to brands.

As a brand, you need to think differently about how you advertise to your consumer.

That old way of buying media attention is gone and the trend is only going to get more aggressive as these different products and services continue to get unbundled, so you need to build an audience around whatever you’re talking about.

This might be building your brand around a leading voice inside of your company. This could be some community that you build around the problem area or the topic that you’re talking about.

There are a few different ways to slice this

  1. Build a direct pipeline to your audience where you can communicate, engage, and troubleshoot their problems. As a business owner, you can eventually sell and market your products and services to them.
  2. Borrow equity from individuals who are building that pipeline. If you don’t believe you can do that yourself, you need to find individuals who represent your consumers’ interests (whether that be B2B or B2C) and partner with them to promote your brand and establish engagement with your audience.

Those are really your only two options because the future that we’ve been talking about for a long time is more than here. We are partway through this era where creators have replaced the networks and agencies that used to market on behalf of brands, so we need to stop advertising like our grandparents did.

As companies, we need to become creators or leverage the equity that other creators have developed.