By: Megan Carroll and Alexa Hershy
We recently had the pleasure of attending the inspiring Create + Cultivate conference in Queens, NY, where hundreds of women gathered for workshops and seminars on creativity, work ethic and influence from a top-tier list of speakers and hosts.
Create + Cultivate was started in 2012 by Jaclyn Johnson, a writer turned blogger/CEO/conference creator/event planner and since then, has toured from Portland, Montauk, Brooklyn, Palm Springs, Austin and Los Angeles as a must-attend conference. With so much hype in the industry around this event, we were excited to see what we could learn and share with our clients.
The one-day conference was a collection of brand pop-ups and speaker panels, covering topics like brand collaboration, entrepreneurship, diversity in media and blogging 101. Attending from the client perspective, it was interesting to see the conference from the viewpoint of a potential sponsor or partner, rather than a blogger or content creator. Here are the three key insights we found most valuable:
There’s enough room for everyone. It is apparent that bloggers, social media influencers, and content creators alike think of themselves as media outlets in their own right. While the space continues to crowd with new bloggers popping up by the minute (literally), each influencer feels there is room for everyone to become their own publisher and share their voice and unique perspective with the world. Each speaker agreed that there is a special niche for everyone who feels a pull to create.
Authenticity is everything. Finding an authentic voice, and playing up unique traits in brand partnerships and large projects was a recurring theme during the conference. From a brand representation perspective, so many opinions, tastes, and platforms to choose from can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, there are multiple partners and possibilities that can bring a brand to new audiences. On the other hand, there is a chance the client or product could get lost behind a detached post that doesn’t match the authenticity of the author.
It’s a two-way street. Making a partnership work for both parties while maintaining the integrity of the message is of paramount importance. It can be easy for both client and partner to make compromises throughout the process that may end up diminishing the integrity of the message or mission. Collaborating on tactics or plan prior to public release ensures the focus is on the message, and helps avoid any partnership mishaps.
The biggest learning of the conference was that successful, organic partnerships don’t just happen - they are made. Create + Cultivate was just a small sampling of the amazing talent that has come to the front lines of the media. However, influencer is still (even more now than ever) a business.
Megan Carroll is a director and Alexa Hershy is an account manager in Allison+Partners’ New York office.