Brands are redefining the rapidly growing creator economy

brand suitability

Rose Ferraro, Chief Revenue Officer, Trusted Media Brands

In the age of the influencer, a substantial amount of brand recognition and revenue dollars can be attributed to celebrity endorsements of a product, service or brand. In July 2022, the creator economy was estimated to be worth more than $100 billion (up from $20 billion just half a year prior), proving that there is much to be earned for companies that invest in the creator community.

To stand out, the way a brand implements an influencer campaign must be innovative, including a clear strategy and a variety of creators. 

Redefining the brand-influencer relationship

It is estimated that the creator economy is currently used by 75% of marketers, a number that is projected to climb as high as 86% in the next three years. In working with creators, brands must be considerate and thoughtful in selecting partners and ambassadors since not all guarantee success. Consumers are becoming more and more critical when it comes to the authenticity of brand-influencer partnerships. Campaigns seeing the most success clearly define the connection between the brand and the creator.  

People who are part of a community based on shared interests want to see someone who also deeply cares about a topic as a spokesperson with a brand centered around it. In-depth research and analysis of talent audiences are imperative to create the right partnership. This brand-creator connection can be more difficult with an influencer who is more of a household name than it would be with someone recognizable to a specific niche crowd. 

Assembling an in-house pool of talent

For brands, there is a tremendous benefit from amassing an owned network of creators. By working with creators that are genuinely passionate about a brand and its products, services or content, marketers and influencers collaborate on more effective content. These contributors can also have tremendous social influence, but the prioritization for alignment should start with relevance and a deep understanding of and appreciation for the community, not social followings.  

Brands unable to assemble their own networks can enlist partners with built-in communities of creators. As one example, Trusted Media Brand’s culinary brand Taste of Home has a collection of cooking aficionados at its fingertips. These “Community Cooks,” as they are aptly nicknamed, can be leveraged at a moment’s notice for media and marketing opportunities around the U.S., providing notoriety to the Community Cook, purposeful alignment for a brand and excitement for the Cook’s following. As a large food publisher, Taste of Home understands audience interests, preferences and passions on a granular level, beyond simply categorizing someone as a food influencer with importance prioritized based on social following alone.   

Given the pivot to remote work, which has increased content consumption entirely, and the continuous evolution of technology via smartphones, the possibilities for content creation are endless. Putting increasing amounts of power in the hands of the creators, understanding them and defining connection and alignment is more important now than ever before.

Leveraging influencer partnerships to drive business outcomes

Savvy marketers looking to create consumer engagement understand that a large social media following is not enough to drive desired consumer behaviors. To truly maximize ROI, they are now leveraging publishers’ first-party data to garner deep insight into their highly engaged audiences to create hyper-personalized campaigns of target consumers, which include selective creator participation. 

One example is KitchenAid’s use of TMB’s first-party audience data, revealing that two in three members of TMB’s reader panel “Inner Circle” own a KitchenAid stand mixer. Deeper insights revealed that its readers are four times more likely than the average user to be a “holiday enthusiast.” Moreover, 55% of Taste of Home’s kitchen survey respondents are highly interested in handy kitchen helper content (hand mixers, stand mixers, food processors, choppers, etc.). Using this insight, TMB and Kitchen Aid partnered for the ‘Mixing and Mingling’ holiday campaign, presenting custom-produced videos by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen and three influencers in the culinary space, Zestful Kitchen, Elena Besser and JessicaInTheKitchen

“At KitchenAid, we know influencers are a key component to driving measurable brand lift and authentic consumer engagement,” said Mitchell Cooper, brand manager at KitchenAid. “That’s why we were excited to partner with TMB to create a customized campaign based on first-party audience data that inspired consumers to mix it up this holiday season with unique, festive recipes. We can’t wait to see how this resonates with consumers and all of the delicious dishes to come.”

Conceptually, each influencer provided a close-to-the-heart “mingling moment” where they relied on their KitchenAid Stand Mixer to make the recipe of choice for the occasion. This “mingling” moment was brought to life on video in their home and paired with a step-by-step recipe video produced by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen. Each influencer posted their video to their Instagram and TikTok platforms, and KitchenAid distributed it across their owned ecosystem as well. 

All the content produced in this campaign was aggregated on an easy-to-navigate, shoppable digital destination with support from organic and paid social drivers, streaming ad units, multiple home page takeovers as well as custom ad units on mobile and desktop across TMB’s network of brands. The campaign resulted in video views at 124% to goal.

The next frontier of the creator economy

Creators and brands have unique opportunities to create more sophisticated campaigns that can simultaneously live across multiple distribution touchpoints. These campaigns successfully target audiences with relevant and editorialized messaging on their platforms of choice. When it comes to achieving a successful social campaign going into the new year, it is essential to stay consistent across brand authenticity and initiatives, especially when deciding which influencers are a fit for a brand’s messaging. Choosing creators and media partners that are passionate and knowledgeable about the product and subject matter is paramount.

Sponsored by: Trusted Media Brands

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