Marketers who want to find new sources of creativity need to move past the ideas of crowdsourcing, free culture and socializing online to community-building, fair compensation and collaboration, Joseph Gordon-Levitt told Content Marketing World 2017.
The film and TV actor, who also helms the digital production company HitRecord, closed out the event for brands and agencies by discussing how bringing people together for creative work can ultimately yield better results than the traditional idea of a lone genius. HitRecord, which allows users to write stories, make music, films and more, was born 10 years ago after Gordon-Levitt left college and couldn’t find acting jobs, he said. Today, however, he said he sees the site as an example of how the Internet can provide an unprecedented opportunity for innovation.
“I don’t just mean people are sharing things online. These are things they couldn’t have been made without each other working on them,” he said.
The problem with much of online creativity today, Gordon-Levitt said, is that they are based on thinking of people as a “crowd” to draw data from or to pit against each other through contests. Even great initiatives like the Xprize, however, have things that limit creativity, he argued.
“They’re not working together. They’re working against each other,” he said. “What would happen if all these people could put their heads together in an organized way?”
Whereas most content online if offered up free of charge, meanwhile, Gordon Levitt said HitRercord has paid its creators more than $2 million for their various contributions.
“People are happy to get paid but I honest think that for most of them, it’s not about the money. It’s the principle,” he said.
And while social media is designed to keep attention spans short, Gordon-Levitt urged the Content Marketing World audience to think of ways to build opportunities to “remix” or create variations on each other’s work.
“The difference between a crowd and a community is that in a community, every member is a unique individual. The strength is less about he quantity of the people than the quality of their interactions,” he said. “We get called a crowdsourced production company, but I prefer a community-sourced. It feels like I would be failing to acknowledge the unique human beings that make our company what it is.”
On the HitRecord app, for instance, much of the interface resembles a social media service, but with a few big differences.
For instance, anyone can issue a creative challenge — perhaps to write or photograph something, he said. These can be organized around a project with deadlines, updates and on. The HitRercord team then manages a “development slate” with those in the early, advanced or funded projects.
“Our technology alone won’t get people to collaborate. Equally important is how we use our technology,” he said.
One of HitRecord’s biggest revenue streams, in fact, is branded content with clients like LG, Gordon-Levitt said, adding that his three pillars are very applicable to marketers. “It’s not just for making art.”
Content Marketing World wraps up on Friday.