5 Ways Brands Can Get The Most Out Of Working With Creators

5 Ways Brands Can Get The Most Out Of Working With Creators

You’re ready to launch a campaign about a new product. All you need is an influencer with millions of followers to spread the word, right?

Wrong. Cookie-cutter approaches to working with creators are played out. Consumers have been bombarded with social media messaging for more than a decade, and they’re tired of the noise.

Influencer marketing rang up more than $13 billion globally in 2021, according to Statista. And more than 500,000 influencers can be found on Instagram alone, a study by InfluencerDB found.

So brands should choose marketing partners carefully. Find a creator who has real talent, connects with your brand, understands the products and makes them integral to campaigns.

Here are five ways brands can better use creators to promote their products.

1. Look for creators rather than influencers. We all know about Youtube stars who have gathered hundreds of thousands of followers for, say, lipsyncing. But paying them millions to promote your product just because they have followers isn’t the best strategy. You want a creator who can bring a novel perspective to the brand -- someone who’s part of the target audience, yet has the creativity to execute on behalf of the brand. The ideal creator is a passionate individual who can take brand values and apply a unique insight, which could only come from someone on both sides of the agency-client dialogue. Finding that messenger is critical to a successful campaign.

2. Involve the creator in the process from the beginning -- and build a foundation. The most successful brands build campaigns around the creator. Instead of trotting out a 30-second spot developed by an agency, then finding messengers to post about it, bring in an artist from the start. For example, find a songwriter whose values align with those of the brand, and build a campaign that, say, seamlessly integrates the product in their newest music video, which can then lead to harmonized cross-promotion on social, brand-sponsored live shows, events and more. And don’t make it a one-and-done engagement. Build upon the creator relationship, returning to them for future opportunities. This strategy will make each campaign more authentic.

3. Don’t just look for who’s trending now. It's tempting to court major stars with huge followings, but emerging talent will save money and create a relationship for your product that can grow with the creator. Take time to look for the diamond in the rough. You might find the perfect match for your product at a showcase for new performers, like a film festival. By supporting new talent, your product will gain credibility and its own following.

4. Don’t be afraid to take your lead from creators. Advertising agencies use focus groups to hone their message. Try having creators be your focus group. They’re in touch with the communities you want to reach and know how to speak to fans. Support a cause that resonates with the artist and makes sense for your product. Create good will around your brand that will pay dividends for years.

5. Even big brands can go small. Supporting rising creators, and integrating them into campaigns, is no longer reserved for smaller brands. Major players like Jägermeister are thinking outside the box with talent they hire, sponsoring emerging artist showcases at SXSW and working with breakouts like KidSuper on custom short films and collaborations. Don’t be afraid to follow this lead and tap into, as Jägermeister calls it, “Generation Now.” The ROI might be smaller in the short term, but building community can pay off in the long run.

The bottom line: The biggest mistake a brand can make is paying for a traditional campaign, then throwing money at an influencer to promote it. Instead, find an emerging talent who identifies with your brand and let them lead in developing a campaign that speaks to your target community.

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