How valuable is the content creator economy and what steps is the biggest beauty brand in the world taking to engage with it? Marketa Havlik-Liebenberg, the Chief Digital Marketing Officer at L’Oréal SA, recently spoke with Red & Yellow Head of Marketing, Elizabeth Lee Ming, to unravel the secrets behind this burgeoning phenomenon.

As the world grappled with the tumultuous waves of Covid lockdowns, a remarkable evolution was underway – the rise of the creator economy. Just how monumental is this shift? Content, especially authentic video content from creators, experienced a boom which led tech giants to take bold leaps when embracing and supporting it. 

TikTok, the vanguard of modern content creation, has invested heavily in South Africa’s market. And that’s not all; Facebook, globally, invested a hefty $1 billion investment in creator monetisation programmes by the close of 2022.

But here’s the real kicker: a whopping 43% of creators are now raking in a comfortable living, clocking in at $50k or more annually. The days of influencers merely serving as brand mouthpieces are dwindling. Today, it’s all about the creators – individuals driven by fervor and zeal, eager to share their passions with the world. It’s a seismic shift from paid partnerships to authentic, trackable content that resonates with audiences on a profound level.

And the numbers today? The content creator economy is poised to skyrocket at an astonishing rate of 22.5%, heading towards $500 billion by the year 2030. Here in South Africa, influencer advertising spend is primed to surge by a resounding 11%, according to Statista.

When it comes to content creation, there is one dominant trend across all channels: makeup. From “get ready with me” challenges to reviews and more, it’s the product that’s found its place firmly in short form video.

Read on for Marketa Havlik-Liebenberg’s answers to some burning questions about the content creator economy and find out how you can make a living in this new, authentic way of work.

1. Can you share more about L’Oréal’s Beauty Tech for Good Challenge, and its impact on L’Oréal’s digital strategy?

It’s been a journey. Over the past ten years, this innovation has been in development. It’s a tech incubator that operates all over the world. We have always believed that through crowd sourcing and bringing people in, we can help with different challenges. That has had so much potential. We’ve come out with some phenomenal beauty solutions. For example, for people who are mobility challenged the Beauty Tech for Good Challenge resulted in the creation of a beauty applicator that makes applying lipstick easier. 

We want every community to feel beauty. Go check out the L’Oréal Beauty Tech hub to get inspired.

2. How involved is L’Oréal in the content development process when working with creators?

It depends on the type of campaign and request from the brand. There are areas where the brand is quite prescriptive, especially with more luxurious brands and when it comes to the brief. As brands though, we do want creator authenticity and strive to strike a balance. It has to be authentic. 

We want the creator to come through as themselves. In the selection process, which is methodical, we ensure that creators are a brand fit that works and talks to the different brand personalities. We as brands have to be able to let go and trust creators. 

Some advice to South African creators – upskill yourself and get to know best practice for brands, and continue your learning. Especially at a school like Red & Yellow. We want world class execution.

3. What are your three top tips to leverage the content creator economy better?

You really need to be passionate about what you want to do and what you want to project out there in the world. Fundamentally, you will find a way to scale your content if you are passionate about it. Today the opportunity is so much more visible.

Intentional living is the second thing I would suggest. Follow your passion but craft out what you think that will look like in five to ten years. You really need to have a sense of where that passion is going to go. The chances are so much higher that you will thrive and land up where you want to land up

Thirdly, continue to learn. Continue to be curious and upskill yourself in something new. It feels so rejuvenating to do little bits of formal learning all the time.

Take advantage of the content creator economy with online education at Red & Yellow

Red & Yellow works hard to close this skills gap through accredited online qualifications in digital marketing, digital content and copywriting and user-centered design

If you’re short on time and want to upskill in a matter of weeks, take a look at our leading online short courses: Data Analysis for Marketers, Digital Content & Copywriting, Performance Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Media Planning, and Motion Graphics

Our long-standing partnership with L’Oréal SA has given rise to our annual Brandstorm, where BCom Marketing students have the opportunity to create practical business solutions for L’Oréal. Learn more about and apply for our BCom Marketing distance degree here.