Attention Brands: Now Is the Time to Embrace Agility in Your Creative Teams

By Jaron Gilinsky, CEO, Glimmer

In 2024, we are still in the dawn of a new digital media era. YouTube and Facebook are less than 20 years old, while TikTok is not even seven years old and Linkedin has emerged as a B2B storytelling platform just in the last few years.

It’s like Hollywood in the 1950’s for digital stories, and the tools and platforms of digital story production and distribution are relatively new and quickly maturing. At the same time, the audience is arriving in droves.

In the dynamic landscape of today’s media world, the need for agility has become more pronounced than ever. For brands striving to stay relevant and competitive, fostering an agile creative workforce is not just a choice but a strategic imperative.

Here’s why brands should embrace agility in their creative teams:

Stories are driving digital social commerce

Both consumers and businesses are increasingly looking for products and services to buy and use based on what they see on their social feeds.

The evidence that stories are driving commerce on social media. is staggering, with  92% of marketers getting positive return on investment from digital video spend.  It’s not just D2C. 8 out of 10 B2B companies are producing videos and customer stories.

Every business is now in the story business, because stories are driving billions of dollars in social commerce.  Social commerce is expected to go from 1 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022 to nearly 9 trillion U.S. dollars in 2030.

Whether you’re consumer goods, technology, travel and hospitality, education, real estate, B2B services, financial services, or an NGO/non-profit, your business strategy must now embrace social media marketing. This shift is truly industry agnostic.

Brands must adapt their communications accordingly

It’s not just the medium that’s changed. It’s the message. There are three main changes in how organizations now communicate to the world, which I’m calling the three  S’s. They are soul, speed, and serialization.

Soul: Consumers want to know why brands exist. What is the soul of the brand? What’s their mission? There is abundant evidence that storytelling around company purpose is a key differentiating factor for younger consumers who make purchasing decisions on social media. The irony is that in this AI-driven world, companies need to be more human in their communications.

Speed: The pace of storytelling has picked up drastically with social media. New formats are gaining traction faster. Cycles are quicker. We’ve moved away from long term cycles to an “Always On” model of communication. In today’s world, Media production is like a band that never stops playing. The audience shuffles in and out, but the show must be continuous. If you are too slow on the news cycle, you miss an opportunity you will never get back.

Serialization: Each social media platform has its own native language and style, which is why nailing the format is as important as the story itself. Once you have the format, serialization fosters a language of trust between consumers and businesses. Once a format is established, brands can be more experimental, putting out original on-demand content faster than ever.

Content creation thrives on collaboration

Content creation is not a solitary endeavor; it thrives on collaboration and cross-functional teamwork. An agile creative workforce, guided by an “always-on mindset,” promotes a collaborative culture where writers, designers, strategists, and marketers work seamlessly together.

To foster this collaboration, here are the top 5 tips for brands and agencies when hiring an agile workforce:

  1. Hire fast. Ability to move quickly on hiring is key. The best creators are usually booked up very quickly so if your desired creator is available, start a project with them right away to gauge compatibility. If there’s a good fit and you love the work, that creator will make themselves available for you in future.
  2. Understand market rates before making an offer. It’s important to understand the going rates for the services you’re hiring for. If you come in too low, the best creators will ignore it or worse, get insulted. When in doubt, ask the creator to make the first offer. That’s better than coming in too low.  There are also guides online that can help you.
  3. Offer a little extra in the first project. Again, getting that first project going is key. You want to get their attention. Also, the first project with a new brand or agency is always the most complicated. The creator needs to learn your brand voice and style guidelines which means extra work for them in the beginning. It’s important to recognize this extra work with a little bit of a bonus. You can always lower the rates once you’re scaling up production together.
  4. Treat freelancers like gold. Freelancers in the era of the agile creative workforce understand their value. They are key to your success as a company. While they are not entitled to the same benefits as employees, they should be treated like the assets that they are. Expressing gratitude, sending them swag, and inviting them to company HQ to meet the team in person are just a few ideas. Leave them a personalized review on relevant platforms. These gestures seem small but go a long way. Think about unique ways to make your leading freelancers feel appreciated and they will always be there for you when you need them.
  5. Experiment! One of the great advantages of working with agile creative teams is that you can experiment with less up front risk. Take chances on new formats and ideas. If they work, amazing! If not, well at least you tried. Remember to have fun with the experiments and communicate expectations properly to your teams so they understand how much creative risk you are comfortable with. With agile creative teams, the sky’s the limit!

It’s important to note that this is not simply advice for a marketing team. This is a company-wide transformation. The CEO should help find the company’s voice. The customer success or community team should surface stories from the community. The marketing team should seek out creative partners and agile workforce platforms. The HR and operations teams should be ready to restructure the org chart and freelance hiring processes to suit the “always on” hiring needs of the company.

What is required to succeed in this era is not a passive investment in story, or media, production. What’s required to succeed is a total transformation of your business into an agile, storytelling-first operation.

Nothing less than a total transformation is required.