We sat down with some leaders on the business side of the creator economy to get their advice for creators looking to develop their careers.
BEN Group brand marketing executives Lindsay Cohen and James Myrick spoke about their work with creators and shared some advice for those looking to work with brands. BEN is an entertainment artificial intelligence (AI) company founded by Bill Gates that specializes in product placement and influencer marketing across social media, film, television, and music. BEN has worked with huge brands like Disney, General Mills, Microsoft, and General Motors.
BEN believes that brands benefit from partnering with creators. It enthusiastically advocates that influencer marketing is an efficient way for a brand to integrate itself into the cultural fabric of an audience.
“Influencer marketing is a really unique medium in a couple of different ways,” Cohen says. “One of the things I love to tell our clients is that it’s one of the few mediums where you’re getting the content and distribution in one.”
Brand marketers spend a lot of time making content and figuring out how to distribute it to the right audience. Creators have already mastered the art of making great content, and they’ve studied the algorithms to pin down the right audience for said content.
“One of the challenges that comes up is the great irony of influencer marketing—it’s letting go. It’s letting go as a brand and really trusting these creators to do what they do best,” Cohen says.
So how can creators build a trusting, durable relationship with brands?
“No. 1: Know when to say no,” Myrick says before elaborating that if a creator takes on a brand that isn’t right for their audience or themselves, they’re not going to drive performance and it’s going to be a bad look.
“Find the right opportunities; don’t just take the brand for the money,” Myrick continues. “Brand sponsorships are to some degree like a bank account. Different types of content you create are inserted into a bank account of trust you have with your audience. Every bad sponsorship that you do takes out of that trust bank account.”
“Long story short, don’t be a sell-out. Find good partnerships,” Myrick adds.
What makes a good partnership? Myrick tells us that while the AI that BEN uses gives bits and pieces of information regarding the demographics and psychometrics of a creator’s audience, it doesn’t disclose whether that creator will align with a brand in an “authentic” way. Creators who know their “truth” and demand that brands are congruent with that “truth” are the best to work with, Myrick says.
If you’re looking to work with BEN, you have to study your audience and advocate that you have unique knowledge of your subset of the internet.
“Find those brands that want to listen and want to develop really strong relationships within the creator community. And grow together,” Cohen says.
Thank you, Lindsay and James, for talking with us!
We’ll be featuring more inside looks into the business behind creators, so shoot an email to [email protected] for a chance to be included.
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*First Published: Oct 21, 2021, 6:37 am CDT
Grace Stanley is a reporter covering tips and tricks for creators and influencers. She is also the social media manager for Nautilus Magazine and a University of Texas at Austin alum.
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