The Creator Economy could grow into a $100 billion sector.
Not ten years from now. Not five years from now.
The Creator Economy is the single biggest opportunity for brands since the dawn of the internet. They can build entirely new business models, create digital products that were unthinkable only a few years ago and drive new revenue streams. Marketing, innovation and even talent acquisition are about to be disrupted in ways that will create remarkable competitive advantages for first-moving companies.
What could this look like?
It’s entirely possible that over the next few years, brands will drive more revenue from digital and virtual product lines than physical ones.
It’s entirely possible that creators of all sorts will leave their day jobs in droves and become their own micro-ventures, creating and monetizing content across platforms – including platforms they own themselves – with the aid of enabling Web3 technologies.
It’s entirely possible that today’s dominant social media platforms will go the way of Blockbuster Video as creators flee them for places they have more autonomy, privacy and can get better financial returns for their work.
Creator Economy start-up investments reached $5 billion in 2021. Several creator startups are now valued at over $1 billion.
The wave is coming.
The time for brands to engage with the Creator Economy is now.
The question is how.
In this article we want to share what we’ve learned about the Creator Economy and how brands can tap into it.
How is the Creator Economy different from what we already have?
This is a fair question. Almost everyone has heard of the Creator Economy by now. But many are struggling to understand if it’s just a ‘new and different’ sticker on what we already have.
Here’s why it’s different.
People have been creating on the internet since it became widely available.
Rudimentary personal websites and blogs eventually gave way to more sophisticated social media platforms where creators shared their art and content. Some creators were able to scale and monetize their work (through platforms like YouTube, Substack, Patreon, etc.) while others simply created and shared without any significant financial return (on platforms like Facebook and Twitter). Today, somewhere between 50-100 million people consider themselves creators – typically producing video or written content, with untold millions more waiting in the wings waiting for a reason to engage.
This global content ecosystem we’ve built over the last decade has largely favoured and been dominated by large brands, which have developed social media strategies and influencer marketing programs and digital fan communities to tap into the online energy.
Also, importantly, most of the scalable social and creative activity has been reliant on large corporate-owned social platforms. The vast majority of creators simply haven’t had a practical way to be compensated for their work outside of those boundaries. And those that have been compensated often have been subject to inequitable models of value sharing, algorithmic upending of their revenue streams and a lack of autonomy and control over their work.
For the last decade at IOVIA, we’ve been helping brands build consumer and fan communities so they can access scalable market insights, co-create products and services and get creative content from their fans. We have always advocated what we call mutual value creation – a way to split collaboratively created value fairly between brands and fans. Some brands were open to this. Many were not.
Soon they won’t have a choice.
The balance of power is about to shift towards creators because Web3 and its enabling technologies (Blockchain, Crypto, NFTs, etc.) will allow them to monetize their work outside the boundaries of major brand channels or social platforms.
The result will be a rush of new creators into the digital space. Keep in mind – 29% of American youth don’t want a job at all. They want to create for a living.
The gig economy didn’t give them what they wanted. But the Creator Economy will.
With all this, the rules of brand-creator engagement will change and new partnerships will create entirely new value streams.
What are the immediate opportunities for brands in the Creator Economy?
New models of value creation are starting to emerge inside of the Creator Economy.
LEGO and Epic Games are creating a safe space where kids can make and share their own content inside the Metaverse. Lush has largely abandoned social media in pursuit of a bespoke global social strategy that will include creators. The Disney Creator Lab is an incubator for emerging creators and influencers. YouTube BrandConnect is a new 2020-launched way for brands and creators to collaborate.
These are just a few tips of the icebergs hiding underneath the waterline.
But there are still vast oceans of opportunity where brands can chart a customized path or explore how new business models, technologies and relationships with creators can help them.
These opportunities include:
· Innovating new digital business models, digital products and digital revenue streams.
· Exploring emerging digital sectors that hold significant value (Web 3.0, Blockchain & Crypto, NFTs, DAOs, AR/VR experiences, etc.).
· Providing truly equitable platforms, marketplaces and communities where creators can connect, collaborate and share with each other – and monetize their work.
· Accessing creative talent in new, scalable, cost-effective ways.
· Creating entirely new forms of brand value.
At IOVIA, we’re helping brands explore and execute on all the above.
We’re building on what we’ve done partnering with brands like LEGO, Unilever, LUSH and IKEA on business model development, engagement strategies, community and creativity.
We’re just now focused on the possibilities the fully operational Creator Economy offers.
How IOVIA can help you navigate the Creator Economy
This is just an introduction to the Creator Economy. There’s plenty more to consider and learn. And we understand it can all be overwhelming. The rules of engagement are changing. A brand can waste time and resources just trying to understand what it is, much less how to drive value from it.
That’s why we’re here.
We’ve been deep on every aspect of the Creator Economy, the key themes underpinning its emergence and the new business models that are driving value. We’re focused on helping brands understand how to build creator relationships and Creator Economy business models that are responsible and sustainable.
We’re now offering two levels of service for brands looking to tap into the huge market potential of the Creator Economy:
1. Opportunity Landscape
We provide a deep look into the Creator Economy and provide insights and bespoke, customized strategic opportunities for your brand.
2. Creator Economy Business Model
We collaborate with your brand to identify strategic opportunities and develop a business model and implementation plan for the Creator Economy.
Ready to learn more? Want to talk about how we can help?