Alex Roa On 2023 Creator Challenges, Creator Economy Predictions, & His #1 Advice For Creators
What Challenges Are Creators Facing?
The creator economy is experiencing tremendous growth and new challenges.
Alex Roa, Founder and CEO of The Culture Club, explains, “Over the past ten years, more people are becoming contractors rather than working for a company on a full-time basis because, as a contractor, you have more freedom. The same thing will happen in the entertainment industry with the rise of the creator economy.”
However, this freedom can bring financial instability, among other issues. Alex notes the following significant challenges that more and more creators have been dealing with over this past year:
- Fewer brand deals: Fewer brand deals mean more creators rely on audience financial support through exclusive content or merch.
- Creators as brands: Creators are expanding into launching brands and diversifying their income streams.
- A greater emphasis on ROI for brands: Brands are prioritizing ROI metrics from influencer marketing campaigns and access to usage rights so they can share content on multiple platforms.
One of the most significant steps The Culture Club team has taken to help creators adapt to these changes is being the barrier between creators and the unfortunate reality of business malpractice.
Usage rights education ensures creators aren’t signing their careers and content ownership away to brands with an unfair usage rights clause.
He adds, “From the scam part, we’ve developed our own financial reporting system, a sidestep from platforms like Willa, which overpromised creator financial freedom and ended up massively underdelivering.”
Creator Economy Predictions: How Will The Hollywood Strikes Affect the Creator Economy?
Hollywood strikes have flooded recent news as writers, actors, and other creatives fight back against studio regulations and poor compensation.
Alex believes that these strikes will lead to more work for creators.
“Unfortunately for the [actors and writers] industry, I think there’s going to be a transition of wealth that’s going to happen… I would be afraid to be an actor right now if that was my career. I’d be afraid because I think, long-term, the studios are going to win, and I hate saying that.”
If the studios win, Alex predicts that money from Hollywood studios will go to gig workers, such as creators, rather than traditional actors and writers. This transfer will continue how money from traditional advertising is now channeled into social media, effectively decentralizing advertising.
He predicts that Hollywood studios may lean on gig workers and creators to fill current gaps from the strike and may decide after the strike is over that they prefer working with creators.
Studios may also work with creators over traditional actors because of their built-in audience.
From the studios’ perspective – Why work with an actor who isn’t well known when you can work with a creator who comes with an audience?
While this would lead to exciting work for many creators, it’s devastating for employees in the industry.
New Challenges as a Talent Management and Digital Marketing Agency
A constant challenge of managing talent is striking the right balance of how many creators you can comfortably take on while maintaining a high quality of service to help each creator achieve their goals.
Alex says, “Frankly, it’s been a tough year, so we’re trying to figure out what we’re doing. Sometimes, when we’ve signed too many people, there comes a quality thing, so that’s probably the biggest challenge from a marketing standpoint.”
But he adds that everything is a numbers and relationship game with their talent. The Culture Club team prioritizes helping its talent because, for many creators, work through this agency is their number one source of income.
He explains, “That’s where the dichotomy is really difficult – where we have to manage expectations for both [creators and brands] and grow together.”
Exciting Creator Opportunities
A huge opportunity Alex sees for many creators is the chance to appear on creator shows. This opportunity may be partially due to current Hollywood strikes.
Alex shares, “I’m having more conversations now than ever about doing influencer or creator shows. They are not actors. They’re not part of the union.”
Streaming services are particularly interested in hiring creators for their shows because they need constant content to keep their platforms trending.
Staying Relevant as a Marketing Agency
The creator economy is constantly evolving, so how can talent and marketing agencies like The Culture Club stay at the forefront of these changes and stay relevant partners to creators?
One way that Alex keeps The Culture Club relevant is by prioritizing bringing in people from all different walks of life.
He says, “Part of what we do at The Culture Club is share our culture in team meetings. For me, I’m from Texas, and we do certain things. Other people are from New York, and they do certain things. We learn so many new things we bring in someone new, and that keeps our minds fresh about what’s happening in the world.”
Hiring young people who live and breathe social media is another way to keep an agency on top of trends created by and for younger generations.
The Culture Club team also texts each other ideas based on what they see scrolling social media, providing an endless stream of inspiration.
Partnering with Beacons.AI
Data and analytics measurements are a continued priority for brands who want to ensure they receive excellent ROI on influencer marketing campaigns.
Alex has recently partnered with AI company Beacons, for all of The Culture Club’s data collection and reporting to stay on top of these increasing demands for advanced analytics. Previously, his team did everything by hand.
He says, “It’s all done automatically through our partnership with Beacons, and not only do we have better, more accurate data, but the time that person would just be collecting it, we can now spend making recommendations.”
This hyper-specific data helps the team plan campaigns with detailed requirements such as age, interests in a certain kind of music or product, gender, location, and much more.
Another unique aspect of Beacons’ data collection is comment synthesization, which reports on the general consensus of how people felt about a particular ad. This feature helps companies quickly understand what ads were viewed positively or negatively, saving the company’s team time scrolling through comments.
Alex’s Advice for Aspiring Creators
Alex’s biggest piece of advice for aspiring creators is to stay resilient.
He shares, “For creators, it’s resilience – to failure-proof yourself when something doesn’t go your way. If the brand deal doesn’t work out, you had the worst month ever, whatever. We know that it’s going to be a hard couple of months ahead, but we don’t care. We’re going to keep doing and doing the important things.”
He encourages creators to have a strong reason behind their goals and to decide to keep going, no matter what happens.