How Legacy Brands Can Adapt To The Creator Economy

  • By Fanbase User
  • May 30 2024 · 3 min read

Goldman Sachs recently predicted that the creator economy could approach a half-trillion dollars by 2027. This booming sector is more accessible to newer, smaller, and resource-challenged companies, while larger brands often struggle to leverage creators effectively. To understand how legacy companies can maximize the potential of creators while limiting risks, I turned to Frank Cooper III, the CMO of Visa.

Defining the Creator Economy

Cooper describes the creator economy as an ecosystem where individuals create content online to engage audiences for communication, community, and commerce. Creators range from artists to gamers and influencers, distinguished from general creators by their use of digital platforms to build communities and drive commerce. Only a subset of the broader “Creative Class” participates in this digital-focused economy.

The Impact on Marketing

Cooper outlines how the creator economy is changing marketing:

  1. Content Creation and Distribution: Creators are both content producers and distribution channels, maintaining authentic relationships with their audiences. Marketers must grant creators more latitude to access these audiences authentically.
  2. Building Effective Partnerships: Creators are not traditional creative agencies. Marketers need to translate their goals into terms that fit the creator and identify creators whose values align with their brand, rather than just focusing on follower counts.
  3. Producing Hits: With changes in social media algorithms, creators are in the business of producing breakthrough content. Brands cannot buy their way into success but must focus on producing high-quality content that meets specific audience needs.

Strategies for Legacy Brands

Cooper suggests that legacy brands, like Visa, need to evolve their strategies to leverage the creator economy effectively:

  • Embrace an Asset-Light Operating Model: Partner with fewer, faster suppliers to remain agile and enter new markets or launch new products.
  • Cultivate Collaborative Partnerships with Creators: Develop authentic collaborations with creators to resonate with niche markets and enhance brand authenticity.
  • Explore New Roles in the Value Chain: Consider becoming suppliers, distributors, or partners for creators to tap into niche markets.
  • Leverage AI and Predictive Analytics: Use AI to stay ahead of consumer trends and adapt to rapid changes in demand.

Case Study: Visa’s Creator Economy Initiatives

Since 2021, Visa has tested and learned from various campaigns, such as the Visa NFT Creator Program and the Visa Ready Creator Commerce Program. One notable initiative is the GetP@id program, which pairs aspiring creators with established ones in fashion, music, and food. This program provides tools and mentorship to help emerging creators turn their passions into careers, addressing challenges like economic uncertainty and timely access to capital.

In 2023, Visa increased its focus on partnering with over 500 creators across digital platforms, doubling its marketing efforts in this area. This approach highlights how legacy brands can support and leverage the creator economy to build stronger, more authentic connections with their audiences.


By adopting a proactive approach and fostering collaborative partnerships with creators, legacy brands can navigate the challenges of the creator economy. This dynamic shift presents opportunities to capitalize on the immense value generated in the new era of digital commerce.

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