As millions of digital users tap the record button to their Instagram, YouTube and TikTok feeds, the old lines between consumer and manufacturer, viewer and creator are collapsing. Smart marketers understand that this dynamic is not just about new ways of achieving reach through “influencer media.” It requires a new relationship to the consumer.
Logitech for Creators is an offshoot of the venerable computer peripherals brand that is trying to establish that new path. We spoke with the brand’s CMO Erin Chin, formerly of Pepsi and Diageo, about what it means to truly “partner” with your own consumers in order to empower -- not just sell -- to your target market. This is not about buying reach or influence. It is more about buying into the ambitions and values of your customer. Listen to the entire podcast at this link.
MediaPost: What is the marketing plan for Logitech for Creators?
Erin Chin: Really it's about creating an inclusive community of creators, regardless of those who are just getting started and first timers, and those who are super well known, kind of popular creators, with massive audiences. We want to be that community, and create that community, and foster and build it where all creators feel welcome. And it's really focused on making the content creation community and the world in general, more diverse and inclusive.
MP: Tell us a little bit about who this creator class actually is, its size, and any characteristics that as a marketer really pop for you about this group.
Chin: While many people make content we tend to focus on what we call intentional creators. These are really people who are ambitious about their content creation journey, ambitious about building their brand, and interested in really getting better and leveling up their tools. The universe is quite vast. There's really been a democratization, I think, in content. These creators are almost like media companies of one.
MP: Is there a core demographic, is there an age range here? How do you size it?
Chin: It spans amongst all of those typical demographics. The way we look at our sizing, for intentional content creators using data that we've got from multiple sources, is about 200 million intentional content creators. A large portion of them are gaming-focused, and an even larger portion are focused on lifestyle content creation. With the proliferation of platforms, and TikTok being a huge one, the lifestyle creator market is really burgeoning. There is a space on TikTok with tons of creators, whether it's cleaning or music or magic or comedy, you name it. There's an audience and there's a creator that's creating that type of content to tap into that audience.
MP: You said part of the aim here is to build community. In practical terms, what does that mean? Does that mean an actual community platform? Does that mean that part of this is that you’re offering services, or that you actually are creating forums for this group? In practical terms, what does community-building mean for you?
Chin: When I say community, I mean a relationship, a really deep relationship with creators. We're launching what is called The Creator Society, and it's our squad really. There are members that we look to help us. We have them fully involved in the process from product concepting [and] development to making sure that we are creating the right tools that actually help them. And then it's about also elevating and inspiring the community, shining a spotlight on creators that might not be as big, so that they can build their audiences and connect with fans who will appreciate what they're doing and can help them build their businesses.
MP: Does that mean you're featuring them in ads?
Chin: We do. We do things called spotlights. We tell creators’ unique stories about where they got their passion to become creators, how making content has impacted their life, and what are the things that they want to do with the voice and the platform that we provide to them. Last July, we had a program called #Creators4BIPOC, which was a program meant to really uplift the black, indigenous, and people of color community. We partnered with 50 different creators and gave them a platform and a spotlight. We compensated all of them, and the whole purpose of it was to raise awareness for BIPOC creators and also to raise funds for BIPOC charities. We ended up donating over $300,000 to charities that were doing really good work in the BIPOC community.
We partnered with 10 dance creators and with JaQuel Knight, who is a prolific choreographer and a partner of ours, who is featured in our campaign. We partnered with him to help lead the copywriting process for those 10 dance creators to copyright their work. He was the first hip hop and pop choreographer to copyright his choreography for Beyonce’s Single Ladies. We partnered with him to drive that process for 10 other creators, so that they can own their IP and get credit for their work.
MP: So you're talking about a very different role as a marketer from the role that you had say at Pepsi or Diageo. What's different about this from working in a lot of these other big brands with big media buys?
Chin: I think it's much more grassroots. It's really about how we pour into and support the creator community. And it's really about developing that authentic connection with this community because we want to celebrate them and we want to see them successful. I think there's been a real evolution with content creators. We've been through the phase where many brands value them for the influence and their ability to reach broad audiences and different audiences than perhaps traditional media. And, yes, they do have the ability to do that, but that's not what we're focused on. We're focused on really developing a partnership with these creators and celebrating them for all that they do to brighten our lives and those moments where they provide entertainment or share a point of view on something or teach us something that we didn't know before. It is a very different marketing strategy, but it's the one that we believe will authentically connect us to that community, and that is, ultimately, the community that we want to serve.
MP: So that's different from even the ways in which a lot of marketers come at the influencer community. Most marketers still look at the influencer community as just media in a new form, and it's transactional. Here, take the cash, give us a message, give us reach in your feed.
Chin: I think the first thing that you mentioned, the transactional relationship, is the first thing. It is against the ethos of how we work, ours is all relationships. And it doesn't mean that there isn't compensation involved, there absolutely is, we have to support this community and feel great about supporting the community. But it's not about the funds exchange, it's about creating relationships where we're helping them and they are partners of ours. And they understand our authentic ambition to help foster and build this community, and they want to be our partners in doing that. So that's the first one.
The second one I’d say is learning to give up a little bit of control. We could make ads all day long that say very specifically what we want to say about all of the specs of our products and why they're amazing. It's more impactful for them to hear the authentic voice of creators that they look up to that tell them exactly what they like and don't like about the products. And, yes, you lose some control but it's so much more authentic and it's in a creator to creator voice, which is also what we really try to subscribe to. We don't want to be a brand that just talks at creators, we want to be a brand who has the creator at the center.
MP: So then let's look at the media mix itself, what does the allocation look like in terms of where are you placing the advertising and which channels are you heavy up on and where's the place to find these folks?
Chin: The universe is digital for us. We're talking about digital content creators, so we are looking exclusively on digital channels to drive our message. And then we've done things like partner with Billboard as well. So here's another example of how we celebrate creators. We came up with this idea last year in advance of the Grammys to celebrate some of the TikTok creators that have helped catapult some of these songs to Grammy success. So we created this platform called the Song Breaker Awards where we honored 12 different TikTok creators basically for their impact on music culture. And then to make it an always-on thing and continue to celebrate these creators, we partnered with Billboard to create the first ever Creator Chart.
MP: You're also using some celebrities. I know you're using Miley Cyrus in one case And then of course you're using some, like a Marques Brownlee, who you might say is almost crossover at this point. What is the strategy for celebrity partnerships across traditional and new?
Chin: I would say our overall strategy for the creators that we work with is to be as diverse and welcoming and inclusive as possible. And so what you'll find is we work with people that you might see in our brand and our anthem video, more up and comer creators, like a Tattedpoodle, who's an amazing cosplayer, or Friskk, who's an amazing streamer. The idea is to find people that we believe are representative of the wide ranging and diverse creator economy, making sure that we represent diversity of identity; whether that be gender identity, race and ethnicity, [or] geographical identity.