JAMES CHARLES & CREATOR BRANDS
the future of influencer relationships
Many are focused on the James Charles - Tati Westbrook scandal for the drama the arose from the dust. But the interest from inside the industry lies in what caused the feud itself. To Recap — Tati Westbrook felt betrayed by long-time friend and mentee, James Charles, when he partnered with SugarBearHair, a competitor to her brand, Halo Beauty. James and Tati have since cut ties and the incident has deeply affected both of their subscriber counts.
Here are our key takeaways:
We are seeing more and more creators pivoting from advocating for brands and doing brand partnerships to creating their own brands. This is fantastic for creators who specialize in a certain category and understand the products & services that their fans truly want. We believe beauty influencers are leading the pack here as beauty lines and collaborations continue to launch, and more verticals are soon to follow.
The influencer community is tight-knit, and as more creator-businesses are launched, we are seeing a direct confrontation between loyalty and true product preference. In this case, James Charles seems to have been expected not to promote Tati Westbrook’s competitor brand — but is this the new norm? Because of the low levels of influencer exclusivity for beauty brands, this will be a true test of how realistic it is to support creator-brands because of friendship and loyalty over true product/service preference. We think that if this becomes the new norm, creators will seem less genuine to audiences. Above all else, influencers must be selective & authentic when it comes to brand deals.
Although we don’t think personal relationships should trump authentic brand partnerships, the James-Tati situation shed light on the interconnection between influencers’ audiences and how creator-to-creator relationships can be a large part of creator identity and persona. We believe Tati’s public ending of their relationship was less about the brands, and more about James’ perceived public disrespect of the bond Tati and James created and have shared with their audiences.
Comment below and let us know what you think! What is the future of creator-brands? How will creator-relationships evolve as the community becomes evermore tight-knit?
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