Social media has drastically changed the way brands connect with consumers. We are moving away from blatant and intrusive advertising to partnering with digital talent to create content experiences that people enjoy and celebrate.
The Role of Creators
Influencer marketing is no longer viewed as a standalone marketing tactic, and the value of individual influencers has extended far beyond the number of followers they’ve amassed.
The term “influencer” is used interchangeably with the term “creator.” Their role has evolved, and they are now viewed as more than just a channel to reach an audience, more than just an advertising billboard. They have become trusted creative partners.
Metrics like follower count, or even likes and comments, have taken a backseat as marketers start to think of influencer strategies that enable real human connections at scale. Instead of creating a simple ad or sponsored post, brands capitalize on the trust that influencers have built with their audience, and work to build partnerships that are rooted in authenticity as creators recommend the product or service to all their friends – thousands and sometimes millions.
Brand-creator partnerships have evolved from being just an awareness play into a full-funnel marketing strategy. Content creation is at the center of these creative partnerships, and one might argue that creativity in marketing is at an all-time high.
The Evolution of the Creator Economy
Creators have formed a new class of digitally-native entrepreneurs.
Today, more than 50 million people worldwide consider themselves to be creators. Of these, nearly 95% view themselves as amateurs, with two million-plus considering themselves to be professional creators, earning enough from their passion to earn a full-time income.
As their notoriety and opportunity to secure brand partnerships evolve and increase, influencers are very likely to seek professional representation to help them sustain their success and growth.
Plus, with talent deals and brand asks becoming more complex (and bigger budgets available for collaborations), deeper and more strategic relationship management is a must.
The Role of Agents and Managers
In the beginning, formal representation and management of influencer talent was concentrated on macro and specialized talent. As influencer marketing needs and strategies evolved, and the demand for talent across all tiers has increased, naturally, so has the presence of influencer management agencies.
The main role of agents and managers is to help with the day-to-day coordination and negotiation of creator contracts. They act as an extension of the talent to ensure all processes, legalities, and communications are clear.
Talent Relations and Creator Marketing
In the same ways that talent agents and managers represent talent, we at Open Influence represent the brands and are the match-makers. We exist to help brands find the right talent.
As the creator landscape grows, we navigate the complexities to ensure brand-creator partnerships are an authentic fit.
OPEN INFLUENCE TALENT RELATIONS TEAM
How it started:
Open Influence was a first mover in the talent agnostic model, servicing the demand side for influencer marketing. This, enabled by tech, gave us access to a much wider pool and negotiation leverage to work against advertiser needs.
How it’s going:
With our tech-enabled white-glove approach to services, we’ve seen high retainment from “complex” clients requiring nuanced talent procurement and an increased legal representation + innovative strategies vs. transactional.
Where it’s headed:
As clients ask to evolve in parallel with influencer rates/scopes/legal, tapping into deeper relationships and better processes with the supply side of the influencer equation will be critical.
The Importance of Talent Relations
According to our 2022 industry report, these are good times for influencer and creator marketing. Almost three-quarters of marketers (71%) expected their budgets to increase in the year ahead.
We are intentional about honing in on the relationships between managers, agents, and/or agencies to ensure we partner with high-performing and talented creators.
The Talent Relations team is spearheaded by Senior Manager, Talent Relations, Katie Wilder. The team was born from the need to drive deeper relationships and a more strategic focus to the creator side of our offering; ensuring we efficiently maximize our “priority” talent and agencies, the same way OI focuses on priority campaigns and clients.
Katie confirms, “we [OI] can only service our demand [clients] if our supply [creators] are prioritized, ensuring smooth processes and personal attention vs. transactional. We are thoughtfully building strong and complex partnerships between brands and the creators who represent them, and that is now a requirement in the industry.”
OI’s Talent Relations Team helps drive:
- Access to more and better talent
- Premium rates
- Expedited launch times
- Feature testing and feedback
- Crisis management
- Finding the sweet spot between needs and creative freedom
- Authentic brand partnerships
- Optimized agency processes
- And much more…
The Talent Relations Team plays a balancing act that results in strong and authentic relationships between brands and creators. Their role is to intermediate between all parties and ensure success. But, how do you ensure success when tragedy happens? After all, we are humans.
We spoke with Katie Wilder about navigating Talent Relations and best practices when times are not so simple in our world.
“It’s so important in general for us as a company to keep a pulse on any type of change affecting the talent side. Whether that’s pricing, new features, legal standards, platform shifts, although equally if not more important, are personal events. We want to be respectful of the fact that creators have lives outside of the content we have the opportunity to see daily.
Unfortunately, as of current events, we have instances when tragedy strikes. The same way that we take a mental health day or take a seat to focus on what matters, creators need to do the same. We have to not only allow, but predict that both brands and talent alike will need space and flexibility when something terrible happens. We do our job best when we are in constant communication and remain focused on the overall sentiment that is coming from the creators, their followers, and the general public.
At the end of the day, our brands succeed when we’re able to recognize the importance of appropriate and empathetic social media use and make room on the airwaves for what really matters. Our Talent Relations get to be that middleman between creators and the Account Management team, to better service our clients in so many ways.”
Open Influence is a global multi-award-winning creator marketing agency focused on generating value for brands across all the major social media platforms.