Why Decentralized Creation Will Set You and Your Influencer Marketing Free

To generate long-term loyal audiences, brands would benefit from leaning on influencers’ creative input, says Wendy Wang.

We are in the age of content; one might even argue the “over-consumption” of content. The next generation simply does not notice most traditional or even slightly innovative methods of advertising anymore. Their senses have become calloused to these marketing tactics. In fact, banner blindness – a pattern that shows people ignore ads entirely – is a real phenomenon faced by marketers.

While most brands are trying to keep up with digital trends and social media (are you viral on TikTok yet?), next-gen consumers are already overcome with boredom and have moved on to the next. Brands must now be more intentional than ever with their social strategies. It is the Year of Digital Creators.

Don’t worry, I will not repeat the age-old statistics of how brands are leaning in on influencer marketing to reach young people who trust their peers more than brands. At this point, I’m sure every brand has already tried an influencer activation of their own. But how many of them were actually effective and added true value?

 
 

Instead, let’s talk about how to effectively collaborate with your digital creators to create true impact.

Giving influencers freedom is crucial

2022 is absolutely the resurgence of the digital creator industry. Its progression is driven by real people calling brands and their favorite influencers out for not being authentic. This is driven by critical topics such as diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, empowerment, equality, and mental health.

Never before has authenticity been at the core of storytelling like it is today. When executed with a strategy that focuses on these key driving factors, the new digital creators can become more than just media, taking it beyond the implementation of #Ad campaigns.

 
 

Against most expectations, Influencers care more about creative freedom than compensation. When asked what makes them more likely to partner with a brand more than once, 77% said creative freedom is more important. Competitive compensation ranked second, with 68%. Alongside this, the audience of the creator will be turned off if they see a copy-paste promoted post that lacks the influencer’s own voice.

Graph via Crowdtap

A powerful co-creation strategy can showcase the brand’s true essence through the creator’s unique perspective while also engaging communities. As consumers start genuine conversations in response to the creative, they drive reach beyond traditional media.

For example, our work for HP in APAC, developed in collaboration with Australian artist Mulga, caught the attention of its target audience with its joyful, colorful creativity and whimsical designs. The brief was to promote an HP printer subscription model to the Australian creative audience, and what better way to do this than ask a digital creator to make his own mini animation series? Media.Monks gave Mulga the idea and left him to create art in his own authentic style.

It’s a great example of what happens when creators are inspired by the brief, rather than scripted. In return, HP was able to surprise its audience with its bold and colorful collaboration, while a valuable long-term partnership was established between Mulga and the brand.

Creators understand the next generation best

Just like any other, today’s young generation aims to do better than their predecessors. They are breaking down boundaries and driving new online cultures. They are gravitating toward inclusive environments where they feel heard, and understood, and can contribute their own voices. They are value-driven, not just in material incentives, but rather seek brands that can embody societal values and stand for a lifestyle or message that they connect with on a moral level.

Graph via Crowdtap

This digital generation is creating their own unique stamp on digital marketing, driven more by values and inclusivity. The impact they have on social conversation is real and brands need to catch up. They are “woke” to branded ads, and the good news is that branded content does not disrupt their consumer journey. Brands can build trust with this audience but only when their favorite influencer is an authentic advocate of the brand,  using their own established voice and creative input.

The creative industry can do better

To generate long-term loyal audiences, brands would benefit from leaning on influencers’ creative input. We need to initiate a collaborative effort and learn about influencers’ understanding of the brand and how they can relay that message in a way that resonates the most with the audience. After all, no one knows their own audience better than the influencers themselves.

A powerful co-creation strategy can showcase the brand’s true essence through the creator’s unique perspective while also engaging communities. As consumers start genuine conversations in response to the creative, they drive reach beyond traditional media.

For most brands, this step might sound terrifying, but it’s NOT about giving away the control of asset outcomes. Instead, it’s about co-creating with your digital creators. Give them a deeper understanding of your brand ethos, and get them excited and inspired. Only then will you get an authentic brand activation that effectively appeals to the next-gen.

Perhaps it helps to see influencers as more than just ad placements. Realize that they are your target audience, creative partners, and brand ambassadors and have the immense power to reach scale. When the full potential of these digital creators is activated, a deeper and more effective outcome will be guaranteed for your future influencer campaigns.


Image via Cottonbro

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