By: Fraser Jones, Genflow Content Creator
In 2013, social media had just started to become a thing.
The term 'creators' was new.
The 'influencers' of today were bloggers back in the day, and they were happy to get free products in exchange for a post on their Instagram or Facebook. If they got paid for it, bonus!
This was a time when most influencers and creators were only making money from brand deals. When it came to luxury deals, some creators would only make a small percentage from affiliate sales, but the brand would make millions.
So what did the industry do? They ran to set up agencies to get a percentage of these brand deals.
When this was happening, Genflow went in the complete opposite direction. We realised that as some creators built a larger audience who had shared values and problems, they also wanted to build businesses of their own for that same audience. They wanted to be entrepreneurs.
Brand Deals Vs Ownership
As influencers and creators started to accept more brand deals, some were alienating their audience as their content felt more inauthentic and #paid.
This was when we thought, what if influencers could build brands that felt authentic, added a new revenue stream and made space for creative content?
Influencers who wanted to start their own brands realised that the only thing determining the success of their business was their ability to find customers. It's not easy finding a community who will subscribe to your product – month after month. Year after year.
This is how we created the Audience-First Approach at Genflow.
The traditional way of building a brand is this:
- Find a problem
- Get a team
- Invest some money
- Build a solution
- Try to find customers
- Keep trying to find customers
- Spend more money trying to reach those customers
But with the audience-first approach, we flip it:
- Build an audience
- Find their common problem and interest
- Build a team
- Build a solution
By building the audience first, you have guaranteed customers from day one. You don’t waste time building a product, and you can design everything with your community in mind.
We built a solution at Genflow that provided these creators an infrastructure to turn their influence into entrepreneurship. We set out to help creators become entrepreneurs, and build powerful brands the right way.
How we got our first clients
Genflow founder, Shan Hanif, who had already launched several brands right from his bedroom, from cosmetics and clothing to building one of the first fitness social media apps, knew what he was doing.
He sent 100s of DMs to creators he loved and thought he could build amazing brands for, whilst simultaneously he wanted to make sure his approach worked.
So Shan made a mock landing page for Kim Kardashian’s fitness plan. He launched some simple Instagram ads and ran those ads to her followers to see if anyone would actually try to buy.
What happened? People showed interest. They wanted in!
Shan wrote out emails and DMs to all the creators he thought he could help, and he started getting a few replies. But, what did he find? Most creators didn’t believe they could actually build a brand and sell products.
They thought the only reason people bought products using their code was because it was Nike, Fenty Beauty, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. The concept of a creator having a successful brand was so foreign and new to them that they were afraid they couldn’t sell.
After launching the first few brands at Genflow, people started trusting that creator brands sell and they are unlike any other type of brand.
Four years later, Genflow has now launched 50+ brands, generated revenue of over £100 million for our entrepreneurs, and worked with some of the top creators on social media.
We’re only just getting started…