Back in March, I attended Variety’s MASSIVE Summit to hear Lisa Sherman, Ad Council President and CEO speak on a panel with Shira Lazar (What’s Trending), Alan Beard (Fullscreen), Pam Kaufman (Nickelodeon), Ken Halvachs (Digitas) and Rafi Mamalian (Understone) about influencer marketing. The day featured a lot of conversations about working with creators and how brands can create highly targeted, optimized and successful partnerships with content creators.
Following that, I flew down to Orlando for my first Playlist Live conference. It’s an experience you have to have in person to truly grasp the energy and excitement. I got to see and speak to some of my favorite creators, listen to them speak on panels, and of course frolic in Harry Potter World with them. Ad Council also co-sponsored a panel with DoSomething.org about creators using their platforms for social good. Listening in on many conversations a both events, there is definitely a consensus about the future of brands and causes working with creators.
Brands and creators both want to work on innovative content and will no longer settle for simple content integration. Creators want deep, long-term partnerships with brands so they can truly become ambassadors for the brands they are working with. Brands need think outside of the box when it comes to content they’re creating with influencers.
Ads Starring Creators
Digital talent is no longer interested in just creating content on their channels. They are hoping to branch out onto other platforms, including traditional media, and to star in branded ads/PSAs that aren’t only living natively on their channels. For an awesome example of such a partnership, check out our Bullying Prevention PSA starring, Joshua Evans (JoshuaDTV), Grace Helbig, Amanda Steele, Ricky Dillon and Trevor Moran (just to name a few…).
Influencer vs. Creator
Alan Beard from Fullscreen said at the Variety summit that “the word influencer is a dirty term” since content creators aren’t about it. Instead, they want to position themselves as more than someone who can influence an audience, and as people who are creating compelling, entertaining content.
Videos > Photos
Creators are moving away from photo content and into long-form video content. Not only do they feel like they can be more creative with video, but they also feel like video can tell a better, more captivating story. Videos also seem more authentic whereas photos can be edited.
Tools ≠ Humans
There are several tools and companies out there that can support talent integration efforts for brands. While these services can support a brand’s efforts, nothing beats an in-house expert to own all relationships and represent the brand in the creator world.
Creators Want to do Good
A talent manager at AwesomenessTV told me “all of our creators want to get involved in social good campaigns, but they just don’t know where to start.” That’s where we come in. Our Creators for Good program serves to connect talent with social causes they’re passionate about. We strive for the creator to feel integrated into the campaign as a true ambassador for the cause. And since we have over 40 different fully integrated social good campaigns on our docket, there’s a good chance we’ll find the right one.
Overall, both events were great experiences where I could chat with both brands and creators about how to work better together. It was also clear how passionate creators are about doing good. So look out for some exciting work from the Ad Council as we tap into these new learnings and help creators use their powers and platforms for social good.