The metaverse is estimated to be worth $800 billion by 2024, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub. The opportunity for brands is vast, yet as the digital landscape evolves, brands must be agile to survive, let alone win. The challenge is how to be responsive to a new generation of consumers who want to participate in the brand, not just be passive consumers of it.
The answer lies in co-creation, with smart brands bringing in a savvy, connected class of influential creators, enabling them to tap into multiple rich and exciting media properties and connect to specific audiences.
Reaping the benefits of co-creation requires trust, giving outsiders the freedom to create on behalf of the brand and accepting losing an element of control. For some, that feels scary. But those who manage it well unlock the capability to create immersive experiences and deeper emotional connections with consumers.
So how do you ensure fruitful collaboration?
Select the right people to partner with. Authenticity is key when considering who to partner with. It’s important to differentiate between "influencers" and influence, with the former raising questions about authenticity and believability.
The value of creators to brand, lies in their deep understanding of consumers. Connecting with your audience via an influential creator enables brands to fully enter their world, however, just as audiences can sense the superficiality of ‘Influencers’, they instinctively sniff out inauthentic brands.
Deciding who to work with is a balancing act between budget, reach, and influence. Focus on creators who will do more than just lend their face, those who will play with your concept and bring something almost intangible to the table.
Build professional and collaborative relationships. Be prepared that some creators won’t be interested in collaboration. Brands therefore need to hone their approach and sell the opportunity. Likewise, be prepared to interrogate each creator’s understanding of the brand. The best partners are those who know their audience and understand their demographics. When you fire up a creator’s passion, their enthusiasm and excitement can generate results that go beyond expectations. Don’t forget that creators are brands in themselves; be respectful and recognise them for the professionals they are.
Consider how much creative freedom to give. Working with creators isn’t about giving them carte blanche to do whatever they want; the output of your project needs to represent value for your brand. But while co-creations need to reflect the brand, expect -- and, indeed, want -- them to diverge from it. Authenticity of meaning trumps the consistency of brand aesthetics and voice. Creators need to be free to create something that conveys what is true to themselves. Having strong governance in place is what safeguards your brand.
Ensure content aligns with business goals . Finally, it’s important to remember that you can’t just throw money at creators and hope for the best. The process should be strategically aligned to your business goals, with clearly defined parameters that lay the foundations for a successful creator relationship. With a robust methodology in place, brands who know what is authentic to them can play and reap the rewards. These elements are what give brands the building blocks they need to be more agile, to explore the creative potential, and to unlock new opportunities.