The Story Of Influencer Marketing Startup Creatory’s Rise In Vietnam
How has a technology-empowered talent agency like Creatory been able to bring out the best of their influencers and creators in just a few years since their founding? Vietcetera meets with CEO Jay Jin to better understand the company’s strategy as well as the influencer marketing industry at large.
The new famous today is less about the red carpet and more about social media. In Vietnam’s case, it’s not just a global trend that the country is trying to catch up to; the country is a key player in forming it. In latest figures, Vietnam is now officially among YouTube’s top five biggest markets. Pew Pew, an online game streamer, has surpassed MC Tran Thanh to become the highest ranked influencer according to the We Choice Award. YouTubers like JVevermind and HuyMe have become so famous they have transitioned into filmmaking.
For brands, this is a great opportunity to showcase their products directly to consumers through influencers. And with an impressive pool of 3 billion lifetime views and 20 million followers to offer advertisers, Creatory is among the few providers that have succeeded in leveraging this.
How has a technology-empowered talent agency like Creatory been able to bring out the best of their influencers and creators within just a few years since their founding? After recently bagging a new seven-digit round of funding, Creatory is positioned to grow its foothold in the influencer marketing industry. Vietcetera meets with Creatory CEO Jay Jin to better understand the company’s strategy as well as the influencer marketing industry at large.
What is Creatory’s mission?
Creatory’s mission is to bring Vietnam’s extraordinary leaders forward who are willing to showcase how our lives should be more fun and exciting.
What problems is Creatory solving in Vietnam for marketers and content creators?
As with everything the Internet and technology has to offer, changes are rapidly felt and need to be adapted to. Right now the media industry’s democratization, or what industry people would like to refer to as personal media, is taking shape at a rapid scale. All the key players in this shift of new media are the content creators. For them, the barrier of entry to video production is now a high hurdle. If they can overcome this, they can deliver content at great scale.
Of course this high hurdle was generated from the high expectations of their audience. Millennials and Gen Z are now living their lives with different values than that of their parents. They want to express and create more. Becoming a key opinion leader (KOL) or micro influencer can allow them to achieve that.
How does Creatory’s business model work?
Our business model is dependent on splitting ad revenue. We have three ways to generate revenue. The first is our influencer marketing agency; our talents rely mostly on their exposure to provide marketing services to brands. The second is our video production service. The third is our talent agency that takes a fee from the talent.
Our three in one package provides a more convenient solution to brands as otherwise they would have to deal with separate entities. The combined model is also efficient in speed and communication, thereby allowing us to deliver premium quality of videos and branded content much faster and easier.
Who are some of Creatory’s most influential content creators?
Our platform has a wide portfolio of influencers that are categorized into two: game and lifestyle. Some of our most well-known creators include MisThy, Pew Pew, Woossi, Di Di, Vannie, Rip113, and Win.D.
We understand Creatory has just raised some venture capital money as well. Where do you see growth opportunity in the business?
To consider our own growth opportunity, we always want to consider our position first. Many multi channel networks and competitors in Vietnam or in Asia usually focus on monetizing the creator, but not on how to grow them. Yet to grow your creator not only as a brand, but also as an influencer is important. We’ve seen how this approach has given us the opportunity to build services that creators need too. Some of that service is built and prepared because we’re in Vietnam. That’s how we differentiate ourselves.
Right now, our service scope is the largest in terms of growth opportunity; it’s also quite polished not only for Vietnam but for Asia in general. The service we provide is currently limited to 50 influencers, but we would like to grow that community by ten fold. Hence, the majority of investment will be spent on how to scale that, as well as on expanding to the rest of Asia by leveraging Vietnam’s competitive advantages.
Can you share some of the trends currently developing in Vietnam’s influencer marketing industry?
Overseas, the best strategy for influencer marketing right now is all about how to connect influencers with brands in the long run. At the initial stage, influencers are only seen as a tool for reaching out to audiences in the social space. Brands treat influencer marketing as a transaction rather than relationship. Brands can outsource their fans to get key performance indicator (KPI) guarantees and other metrics. That has since been happening until now. However, because of this standard, many influencers don’t understand brands and vice versa.
Not many companies can bridge the two at the moment. Even if brands approach influencers specifically, it’s still hard. The two parties need someone to facilitate effective communication and understanding, so that both of their needs are met. And that’s who we’re trying to be. In a broader sense, this is also where the global trend is going towards.
How would you categorize Creatory in the technology scene?
We are a digital talent agency, so the nature of our business is leveraging platforms like YouTube and Facebook on a daily basis. Hence why our digital understanding needs to be strong, so that we know how to scale and integrate the tech. We try to do so by building internal tools such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).
Since our goal is to expand the capacity of our service, and given the current size of our company, we need to digitize everything. At the moment, talent management companies haven’t been able to scale. But at least with us and our internal tools, we want to lower the entry requirement for video and democratize content creation.
Can you share with us your previous experience in the Vietnam startup scene? What motivates you to start this new venture?
Before I worked at Creatory, I was working with LINE. I also started an app marketing agency and a concert-business startup focused on K-pop shows. From the first experience with LINE, I understood that the best strategies for user acquisition from any platform will always be local content, especially from partnerships. However, finding such is difficult, as people in Vietnam usually just buy content from overseas then distribute them here.
We applied the same strategy to our second experience with the app marketing agency by utilizing our network from local providers to other online messengers. Another takeaway from this experience is that in content, whether it be the creative or the talent, more of that job is taken by the talent than the creative itself.
The third experience with the concert business gave us insights into how K-pop powerhouses like SM, YG, and Big Hit produce their talents. This motivated us and gave way to how we merged our talent management company with content production together. Our two old businesses are now part of Creatory.