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Data Done Differently: What is a Cultural Creator


read time:

3.5 min

Cultural Creators

You may have heard these two terms, influencers and Creators, used interchangeably within influencer marketing circles. Broadly speaking, these are people who “create content” for an audience, but they go about this very differently.

Influencers are less concerned with creating authentic, real, and raw content often seeking popularity and customers with a very public and curated identity. While Creators are driven by creating awesome content, and many would prefer for their identities to be a secret. SignalFire reported there are now around 46 million amateur creators worldwide, and 4 million professionals, so there is a huge market of “Creators” out there that aren’t professionals.

“All influencers are creators but not all creators are influencers.” — Investor Nicole Quinn

Now enter the Cultural Creator: They use their content for good most often trying to improve the quality of life in a society. They’ve been the driving force behind new marketing trends and spotting new opportunities getting people to actually talk about trends, topics, and issues.

Here are 3 big trends we’re seeing drive the shift from influencers to Cultural Creators:

Celebrity influencers are trending down due to their focus on being famous

Users don’t care about whether you are famous, and it’s hurting the reputation of influencers. Users mostly want content Creators to be funny (28%), trustworthy (22%), and authentic (14%) while only 1% want them to be famous per Global Web Index. Users are seeking to follow people online who create fresh content, who are ahead of trends, and are on the right platform. Influencers are getting too tunnel visioned about followers, customers, self-branding, and their total reach, and in turn, neglecting creating quality content that inspires, motivates, and makes you laugh.

This is seen also with the rise of entertainment, meme accounts, and parody accounts, which are the #2 favorites to follow – ahead of IRL celebrities and online influencers. Many users' top motivation for being on social media is to be entertained - it’s not to connect or follow brands. This is an important trend to follow for brands who should consider aligning with individual Creators, but also aligning with communities where internet culture organically thrives.

So, what makes them different? Two distinct characteristics stand out to me, authenticity and anonymity.

Cultural Creators embrace authenticity with their relatableness and anonymity

How often are we able to trace back the source of virality for a video, meme, or GIF? The mystique of not knowing who these people are can make them more relatable, driving the activity and engagement of their content while influencers clearly have a curated, public identity. Generally, these people don’t want to be found. Cultural Creators prioritize the content over self-branding their identity because again, their goal is to share and improve quality of life - not get popular.

This is resonating with many audiences - they can more readily self-identify with Creators who are showing the good, the bad, and the ugly, especially among younger generations who think it’s OK for people to admit when they are struggling. More on that later. It’s about sharing information and insight vs. creating a lifestyle. 43% of users said they prefer to see the content accounts they follow posting their own original work, compared to only 12% who were happy to see them reposting others’ content. Cultural Creators have shown tremendous activity and engagement among their fan bases, which makes them a better outreach target for your brand.    

The Creator movement has been spearheaded by Gen-Zers

There has been no generational group that has embraced this attitude more than Gen-Zers, who are considered the leaders of the Creator movement. Many of the world views and sustainability/ environmental preferences we know about Gen-Zers align with this mind set. In the past year, Gen-Zers have become less concerned with their lifestyle impressing others and more in favor of people being open about their struggles. This extends to topics like mental health where we clearly see Gen-Zers valuing honesty and transparency from the people they follow.

Sites and platforms that stimulate genuine expression by enabling communities naturally and allowing users to connect with like-minded people in spaces that are out of the spotlight are gaining ground. For platforms, we’ve seen them prioritizing tools and capabilities in their product road maps that cater to this shift. For brands, understanding this trend is key to building long-term relationships with young users and their future buyers.

The importance of influencer marketing in your digital strategy is a well-known tactic to get in front of digital-first audiences. However, the world of influencer marketing is changing, and brands need to stay ahead of the trends by working with partners who give them the best opportunity to amplify their message. Approach your Creator relationships by aligning your message with the new frontier of influencer marketing driven by authenticity, trust, originality, and creativity.

Follow us on social for up-to-date trends and insights featuring data from our enterprise partner, Global Web Index.

Influencer Marketing
Cultural Creators
Data Done Differently
Megan Ingram

June 22, 2022