fbpixel These content creators are being hired as brand consultants – here’s why. - MG Empower
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23/06/2023
Written by - Daniel Shale

These content creators are being hired as brand consultants – here’s why.

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Brett and Scott Staniland (represented by our talent agency, MG Talent) are twins, models, content creators and vocal advocates for the sustainable fashion movement. But recently, they’ve taken on a new role for brands that recognise their potential beyond mere content machines–as marketing consultants, strategists and brand educators. The game is changing… and these creators are playing it right. 

Yesterday, we hosted a panel at Cannes Lions 2023 with Brett & Scott, Matthew Siberry (Head of Home & Partnerships at Pinterest) and Francisco Costa (Founder of Costa Brazil and former Creative Director at Calvin Klein). And from our in-depth conversation about the creator economy, the future of marketing and the ever-changing landscape of brand-creator relationships, one big idea emerged. 

Musing on the invaluable insights creators possess, their adaptability in a shifting advertising landscape, and the growing importance of long-term partnerships, our panellists all came to the same conclusion: the ‘Board of Creators’ – a term coined on the spot by Matthew from Pinterest – will soon be a staple of every brand that wants to truly understand their consumer.

Let’s explore.

Unparalleled insights: Tapping into niche communities

Wanna hear a funny story?

As passionate advocates for sustainability, Brett and Scott have never been afraid to call out the brands that are getting it wrong. Indeed, when Vestiare Collective made the decision to ban fast fashion from its platform, Brett didn’t hesitate to tell his followers why this was a mistake. Even though he’d done a campaign for them in the previous year. 

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Fortunately, Vestiare responded in the best possible way. Having established a relationship with Brett, they reached out to him to talk about the call-out. As the conversation unfolded, they suggested moving it to Instagram Live – a great move on the brand’s part, as it resulted in an ultra-transparent and accessible discussion, inspiring consumer trust while cementing both parties’ positions as proponents of an authentic narrative about the future of sustainable fashion. 

Since then, Vestiare has gone a step further and hired the twins as sustainability consultants to advise on how to communicate the good things they’re doing, and navigating the inevitable challenges. They are now regularly brought inside brands – including Love Island, Stellantis, EcoAge and the sustainability-centric media agency Green TV – to act in this new capacity, and all parties are benefitting.

Here lies one of the key reasons why creators are being hailed as brand consultants; their unmatched ability to provide insights into the wants and needs of very specific, ultra-niche communities. Matthew emphasised this point: “Not only are creators fantastic at driving awareness, but they’re also the ones that can give you that niche and nuanced voice in a smaller market, which maybe you as a brand don’t fully understand.”

The traditional brand-creator relationship works because creators have established communities, giving brands direct access to an engaged and receptive audience. But we can’t forget that the true value of a creator is bigger than that. It’s the sum total of all their interactions with their community – the content they put out, the comments, DMs and Story replies they receive in response, and the impact of all that lived experience on the creators themselves. 

Shifting beyond commissions: Adapting to a changing landscape

“If we look at the wider social media environment and the creator economy, there’s fantastic opportunity. But in the world we’re living in right now, brands are moving further down the funnel because they just need to shift product. On the other side, the creator economy is going to double in the next ten years, so the entrance in the market is going to go through the roof.

For creators, that means finding new ways to differentiate yourself–and being incredibly intentional with what you’re passionate about. Really truly understand your community in order to help build it, and the brands will come to you.” – Matthew

It’s no question that the media landscape is evolving. Traditional advertising budgets are reducing and brands are hyper-focused on finding new avenues to the most effective and efficient reach. For creators, this means taking what they know and exploring opportunities beyond brand collaborations–hence why Matthew thinks it won’t be long before the ‘Board of Creators’ is common. Not just a possibility, but an inevitability. 

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Creators possess a unique advantage in adapting and diversifying their income streams. So by tapping into niche expertise, insights, and influence, they can offer services beyond content creation, providing brands with strategic guidance on effectively reaching their audiences. They’re social listening tools, in human form. 

And there is a certainly a brand-side need for this, so it won’t be like jamming a round peg into a square hole. 

As Matthew said, “Sometimes brands get so stuck in the clouds with what’s going on that they don’t actually know what’s really going on, what’s happening around them. That’s why need to have creators on their boards. Brett and Scott, for example, are a direct line to a conscious consumer – they’re able to tap into nuanced insights that brands simply can’t get alone.”

The power of long-term partnerships: Building authentic narratives

Reflecting on his past, present and future, Francisco emphasised the significance of long-term partnerships in creating authentic narratives, “Co-creation has been so successful for us – both at Calvin Klein and Costa Brazil. Everyone we work with understands what we do, they have full visibility on it, but they also have full freedom to do whatever they want. Because that’s where the magic happens.” 

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Indeed, long-term partnerships foster trust and allow creators and brands to collaborate closely, ensuring a shared understanding of values and goals. By nurturing these relationships, creators and brands can co-create resonant narratives that authentically connect with audiences, leading to greater brand loyalty and impact.

New dynamics and a path to sustainable success

So what do you think? Will the Board of Creators really become a brand staple? Our take is that the emergence of content creators as brand consultants signals a transformative shift in the influencer-brand dynamic. Whether brands embrace it is up to them, but at MG Empower, we’re all about co-creation in all its forms. So we’re here for it!

Want more insights from Cannes Lions 2023? Follow our journey on social media – links below. 

 

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