Watch the full NAB Show 2023 session “The Independent Age in the Creator Economy.”
- As part of the CAPITALIZE Inspiration Theater programming, the 2023 NAB Show rounded up a panel of experts to share their insights into the creator economy.
- Moderated by Nick Urban, founder and CEO of the social platform Nowbase, panelists included YouTube content creators Adrienne Finch and Lauren Lipman and Marinda Yelverton, senior vice president of brand solutions, North America, at global creator commerce company Whalar.
- The panel highlighted the power of audience engagement, the significance of brand partnerships, and the evolution of tools empowering creators to carve out their own economic independence.
As the creator economy surges forward, transforming the Media & Entertainment industry, the 2023 NAB Show served as a platform for an exploration of this rapidly evolving landscape. The panel discussion, “The Independent Age in the Creator Economy,” held on Sunday, April 16, 2023 in the CAPITALIZE Inspiration Theater, explored the dynamics of this burgeoning economy, now representing more than 50 million creators and a marketplace exceeding $104 billion. Watch the full NAB Show session in the video at the top.
The discussion, led by Nick Urban, founder and CEO of the social platform Nowbase, offered a deep dive into the challenges and opportunities within this new economic paradigm. As creators navigate shifting revenue models, new government regulations like The EU Digital Markets Act, and the legacy of ad-driven social media models, the panelists — YouTube content creators Adrienne Finch and Lauren Lipman and Marinda Yelverton, senior vice president of brand solutions, North America, at global creator commerce company Whalar — highlighted the power of audience engagement, the significance of brand partnerships, and the evolution of tools empowering creators to carve out their own economic independence.
Discussing the importance of storytelling and human connection in marketing and advertising, each of the panelists emphasized how consumers connect more with stories and people than they relate to traditional advertisements.
“There’s just a lot of people out there wanting to connect and wanting to just be involved and put all in when they believe in a creator,” Lipman said.
“Consumers truly have the power here and they look to creators for relatability, aspiration. They don’t want to be told to buy a product. They want to really buy into a product because that brand really fits with their core values, their purpose, all those things,” said Yelverton.
Yelverton endorsed the subscription business model as “not only the most lucrative, but also the most connecting,” she said. “It’s a true-two way conversation. Because guess what? If [a creator] doesn’t have time to even talk to everyone every single day, they have each other and they are like-minded individuals who are looking for the same thing.”
The importance of authenticity in content creation was another big topic. Authenticity in content creation is about being genuine and consistent, allowing audiences to connect on a personal level. It’s more than honesty; it’s about staying true to one’s values and style, fostering trust and loyalty among audiences. In an increasingly saturated digital landscape, the panelists agreed, authenticity stands out, serving as a key tool for engagement and influence.
“Brand collaborations are the definition of a partnership,” said Finch. “I will say not every creator is on the same page when it comes to that. A lot of people have different intentions or want to speak about different brands for different reasons. For us, I know it’s all about authenticity and genuinely working together to create a win-win situation.”
Lipman cautioned against endorsing products that don’t actually serve your community. “If we see a brand and we’re working with them and the contract is going but the product doesn’t work — I’m not going to promote makeup that will give someone a rash,” she explained. “If a couple of people were to purchase a product that I promote and it sucks, breaks, is bad, that is my authenticity, my credibility. Why would anyone else ever want to buy anything that I promote ever again?”
Maintaining authenticity while working under the pressure to create more content is one of the biggest challenges creators face, Yelverton said. “It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the pressure to produce content and creativity, [but] I think it’s a challenge.”
Platform evolution is another challenge to maintaining authenticity, Yelverton added. “So, how do creators maintain that authenticity while they try and explore as well? And being able to test and learn yourself and then see what resonates. I think that’s going to be a consistent challenge as these platforms evolve and change their mission. One minute it’s social commerce, the next it’s short form video, you know? And being able to stay true to yourself and your audience follows you along the way.”
Another evolving factor is the shift in perception of creators over time, with brands now recognizing their influence and potential for marketing and brand representation.
“The brands have obviously jumped into this space and figuring out different ways to align with creators,” Yelverton said. “For those of us who pay attention to this space in terms of what’s going on, programmatic advertising and things that we might see on matter, the Facebook platforms, Instagram, etc., where you can really target audiences with advertising. What we’re seeing is a huge uptrend in brand partnerships.”
Influencer marketing is a “win-win-win-win situation,” says Finch. “And here’s why. Because as a company, you’re actually paying far less than you would for a traditional ad. The whole entire production of a commercial talent ad space marketing for everything, you’re paying way less. This is a one-woman show over here…. So they’re paying way less. And guess what? For me, that way less is a lot because it’s just me. So I’m getting paid more. They’re spending less. Not only that, but they have absolute in real time metrics of demographics, feedback, comments, likes, dislikes, exactly how it’s doing. So I think companies started really latching on to, okay, this is very targeted and we can target and we can find creators that we trust and have credibility.”