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An image of the creator culture panel delivering a session for EssenceMediacom at Cannes on the GroupM rooftop

Creating a Creator Culture

The Cannes Essentials - Creating a Creator Culture

We explored the challenge of creator culture and making it work for brands. The appeal of creators for brands was explained by Ben Curtis, Global Brand Lead, VP, Magnum & Category Lead, Luxury Ice Cream at Unilever, and TikTok influencer Kate Hina Sabatine, better known as @Hina, who cited both the authenticity they brought as well as the community and long-term relationships that individual creators have with their audiences. However, creators were not a normal media buy. So while they took a brand to a new audience, the content was different and sometimes uncomfortable.

Arthur O’Neill, Joint Head of Invention at Mindshare, argued that brands and agencies needed a shift in mentality. “Creators are not channels - they are people. We can’t approach them the same way that we approach media, we have to change processes. The process is different, mentality and speed is different,” he said.

And then there’s the need to make the financial and brand safety case. For Unilever, which had success with YouTube and Meta, TikTok made sense once concerns about marketing to kids were all sorted. “After that it was a case of jumping in and sharing the objectives with the creators,” said Ben.

@Hina said brands needed to recognise that creators see themselves as brands and they will want to know that how your brand aligns with their brand and how it will be seen by their community. “I know my community better than the brand does,” she noted.

The future, said both Arthur and Ben, was influencer commerce, with Ben pointing out that a quarter of Magnum sales in China can come via social commerce.

Harry Hugo, Co-Founder of GOAT, added that the future was about being brave. It was time to stop talking about working with creators and start doing it. “Let’s take some shots and accept that not everything works,” he said.