The key to breaking into the creator economy? Authenticity

This piece was first published in Advertising Week Europe’s 2022 Trends Report, created by Clear Hayes Consulting and authored by Akansha Singh. Download the full report here.

With millions of possible creators to choose from, keeping it real may be the best advice for brands looking to play in the creator economy.

“Some of the best creators say they don’t do it to be famous, they do it because they truly love what they care about and it shines through,” said Lucy Banks (pictured), Head of Partnership Solutions, Europe, TikTok. “Their joy is infectious.”

Banks believes that this authenticity is what distinguishes a successful creator, and is what helps propel audiences from the hundreds to the thousands – even millions. 

Francis Bourgeois is one of the creators she references as an example of true authenticity, and someone who grew a massive following from sharing his passions. Bourgeois operates a trainspotting TikTok account, and recently appeared in a brand collaboration with Gucci and Northface.

“My account came from my own sense of enjoyment and therapy,” says Bourgeois. “To then have people say, ‘This made me really happy,’ spurs me on.”

One of the key demographics that creators have incredible success with is Generation Z and Generation Alpha. Marco Bertozzi, President EMEA of Whalar, believes that Gen Z entering the workplace is one of the reasons why the creator economy saw a boom over the past few years, along with the pandemic and increased adoption of TikTok.

“There are no more fairytales anymore, this generation is not inspired by perfect houses, hair or cars,” says Bertozzi. “They’re looking for content that’s very much more real.”

“I think consumers are so aware of how the sausage is made, so to speak,” said Clara Amfo, a TV and radio personality. “Kids have an inbuilt bullshit detector.”

Banks believes that creators are at the heart of this new age of marketing, where authenticity and brand values reign supreme. She explains that one of the reasons why TikTok has found itself at the center of the creator economy is because of its ability to simultaneously fuel emotional attachments and generate action.

“Trust your creator, they know what they’re doing,” she said. “Lead with personality, not your product, and have fun with it. Win love, but cause action as well.”

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