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Why our creator economy is turning to luxury

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

Worth just over $100 billion, today’s creator economy is made up of innovators who make a living off platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. By the end of 2021, YouTube alone had paid out $30 billion to creators over the past three years.

The question arises, why is such a commitment to social media so profitable?

The shift from the office to the home office allowed aspiring creatives and entrepreneurs to find a balance between what they were passionate about and what they believed could serve as an alternative source of income. This led to a transformation from the “attention” economy, which depended on algorithms and attention spans, to the “creator” economy, which focuses on shaping a brand in such a light that it creates a closer connection with a community attracts.

As the creator economy continues to grow in size and value, we are starting to see industry visionaries taking the reins to empower consumers, inspire and innovate so they can be bold, confident and creative in their own digital journeys so that no one is “left behind “ will be our evolving digital frontier. As? By supporting luxury and products that help bridge this gap between and between Hollywood, consumers and beauty. Here are the top trends I see:

1. Bridging the gap between Hollywood and consumer experiences

While the beauty industry has historically been resilient, recent events have paved the way for creators to find new ways to showcase their creativity and beauty during quarantine. Now, the byproducts of those paths are finding their way into face-to-face interactions and engagements as a result of two years of isolating social distancing, cruel lockdowns, devastating losses and financial strains.

Inevitably, consumers are comfortable on their couches and bedrooms, and feeling a little anxious as they readjust to in-person dating. With the return of live events, Hollywood is finding new ways to allow creators to feel confident and beautiful “on the go” — whether they’re walking the red carpet or walking the streets of New York, with the help of wearable photography and lighting equipment.

Back in November 2021, Steve Harvey and his daughter Lori Harvey announced their latest black-owned corporate investment, adding MOON UltraLight to Harvey Ventures’ portfolio. Co-founded by Edward Madongorere and Dishen “Dixon” Yang, MOON UltraLight is a portable lighting device that was named one of Time Magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2020”. The company made an appearance on Ellen’s 12 Days of Giveaways in November 2021 as part of Ellen DeGeneres’ final show.

We are seeing a shift in marketed luxury items toward the creator economy, with brands wanting to enable consumers and creators to look their best while feeling comfortable and creative.

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2. Product placement keeps our favorite brands immortal

Product placement in today’s creator economy must be tastefully strategic, where even the slightest misjudgment can forever strengthen or forever damage your professional brand.

Hollywood product placement executives like Lorenzo Rusin often emphasize the importance of tasteful brand integration in today’s creator economy. Rusin, who for the past 25 years has spent most of his career working with high-end luxury brands and strategically placing them in major studio films including, but not limited to, Coming 2 America, The Irishman and Terminator: Dark Fate.

In recent years, Hollywood has emphasized the growing importance of product placement in film franchises such as James Bond, Mission Impossible and Top Gun. These YouTuber rankings can be as simple as necessary, but they have to be tasteful. Do you remember Game of Thrones and the coffee cup mishap? Due to the similarities between the cardboard coffee cups, Starbucks inadvertently received advertisements and views on social media.

3. Live engagement is timeless

We’ve seen the rise of apps like Cameo, Community, and TrueFans that allow users to request video messages from celebrities. There are fewer ways fans can request specific items or experiences from that celebrity beyond the personalized shout-out.

Launched in 2019 by CEO Carl Padilla, Celeb Gap is a celebrity engagement platform that allows fans to request video game sessions and participate in “real-time experiences” with their favorite stars, including live streamers, gamers, reality stars, authors and more motivational speakers. This gives fans the opportunity to connect with their favorite stars through a variety of digital offerings.

The future looks bright as more brands enter the celebrity fan engagement economy as a hybrid bridge.

As 2022 enters, we can expect the luxury and creator economies to continue to converge as household names understand the benefits of strategically targeting specific creators to expand brand integrity, utility and overall appeal. In fact, consumers are developing a more sophisticated palette for what is considered stylish and valuable to their respective online communities.

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