The Rise of the Designer Economy – More Than Just Fashion, Marketing & Advertising News, AND BrandEquity

Image for representation only (src: iStock)

By Azaan Feroz Sait

India – a land of stories, both told and untold, of gifted storytellers and countless storytelling mediums. Summoning this image into your mind may not be a daunting task, as storytelling culture has its own rich history and content that has spanned generations. But what’s interesting is how it has been redesigned over the past decade with the advent of the creator economy and its coincidence with the arrival of Web 2.0. In a web of unlimited possibilities, we are now moving towards Web 3.0. So what does this mean for the designer economy in general?

First of all, what is the designer economy? Imagine an ecosystem of content creators, curators, and community builders who not only invest in their passion, but also build an audience and eventually monetize their work.

Creators have the power to turn their passion into a career while making their audience a real asset – a community to engage with. With the transformation of workplace practices over the past two years and the rise of the odd-job economy, the designer economy has seen a sudden influx of ambitious designers. They had the opportunity to double their basic skill of creative expression while enjoying a certain level of financial independence. With almost unlimited internet consumption in India, the disruption to the creators’ economy should be unprecedented!

According to a report, in India the influencer market is estimated at $ 75-150 million per year compared to the global market size of $ 1.75 billion. It is safe to say that India’s creative economy has the potential to dominate global markets in the years to come.

Here’s why the advent of the designer economy is more than just a fad.

Endless prospects for start-ups to exploit

If we were to inspect the investment trend in India, it continues to target the designer economy which is always discovery driven. Other countries are already supporting start-ups that help creators monetize faster. India will need to add more layers to its designer economy through start-ups that can cater to different types of audiences. For example, start-ups that design designer markets to serve a niche within the designer economy; start-ups that create tools to help influencers launch their own D2C brands; start-ups that are working on new ways for creators not only to connect with audiences, but also to distribute their content. The opportunities are endless!

Support and diversify, the giants!

On the flip side, let’s take a look at what social media platforms can do better. Creators now depend solely on these platforms and are looking for better ways to engage, develop and retain their audiences. A more equitable creator economy could be achieved when these giants use the income generated directly by users as a monetization strategy. They can focus on advertising revenue from top brands to encourage future creators. Another interesting trend would be to see new social platforms increasing competition and forcing big social platforms to diversify revenue models, as happened in India.

Emerging technology increases the excitement

While the monetization of content (especially community content) has contributed significantly to the immense growth of this economy, emerging technologies have heightened the excitement in the playground of creators and brands. Industries such as metaverse and live streaming are still emerging in India. Not only will the experience become more and more immersive, social, and real-time, but the number of creators designing them will increase many times over.

Plus, when creators are equipped with a suite of built-in tools, social networking, discovery, and monetization features, to create experiences in a decentralized way, it becomes more impactful.
So where are we going?

The investments made now will determine what the future holds: one that offers the widest variety of experiences, fueled by creators who make a living in it, or one defined by the next wave of risk-takers. Coupled with Web 3.0, experts believe that it brings more transparency and democratization to the digital world. It can establish a decentralized digital ecosystem where creators can not only own but also control their digital presence. It will be exciting to see creators, empowered by platforms designed for them, seize colossal economic opportunities, in such an open digital ecosystem – the advent of the property economy.

(The author is Founder and Director of Happiness at The Hub, Bengaluru. The opinions expressed are personal.)

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