Friday 3 July, 2020

Kesi Gardner launches Creatives of the Future eBook

(L) Photographer Rock Staar is one of the creatives interviewed for the creatives of the future series in the eBook along with (R) Stylist Kristia Franklin, who uses her personal brand to attract brand partnerships and clients. (Photo: Contributed)

(L) Photographer Rock Staar is one of the creatives interviewed for the creatives of the future series in the eBook along with (R) Stylist Kristia Franklin, who uses her personal brand to attract brand partnerships and clients. (Photo: Contributed)

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many creatives face challenges getting in the groove.

While many have simply lost their mojo indefinitely, others are struggling to stay afloat in one of the biggest pandemics the world has seen.

In a time when so many globally are deeply affected, creative professionals face special challenges.

These include live shows being cancelled, craft fairs, events, and conferences postponed, and many revenue streams for creatives have disappeared.

Between the lockdown in St Catherine, several lay-offs, sporadic curfews, and social distancing, creatives now have to find more unique ways to connect with their audiences and make bank.

When social media dashboard site, HootSuite issued its annual 2020 digital report in January, of the 1.63 million internet users in Jamaica, there are 1.3 million people on social media.

Of those 660,000 are on Instagram, followed by YouTube, the second most frequented, next to Facebook.

However, most creatives aren’t able to navigate the space, especially during COVID-19.

“I’ve been preaching about personal branding for about seven years, since watching Gary Vee, the US-based social media guru, a couple of years ago who constantly preaches about documenting your story and using your online platform to build relationships,” marketer and PR strategist Kesi Gardner told Loop Lifestyle.

I realized that I needed to write something specifically for the creative industry. Since COVID-19 a lot of creatives are at a loss because they don’t understand the digital space.”

Digital media is constantly changing.

Take for example Instagram, which has updates every so often that include tweaks to the user interface, new fonts, and challenge stickers.

New platforms like the San Francisco-based crowdfunding/membership platform Patreon saw 30,000 creators launch new funding accounts in the first three weeks of March.

The platform has now released additional figures that highlight a growing surge in sign-ups of both creators and patrons during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

However, somehow that hasn’t translated to Jamaica.

“We’re not keeping up with the technology. And so there is a great divide between the younger people who are thriving by doing YouTube and being influencers and the older generation who are averse to using social media, or solely confined to Facebook,” Gardner shared.

“The creative industry is being touted as a critical and viable sector for the promotion of economic growth and development, through entrepreneurship.”

She continued: “However, the change makers haven’t equipped them with the tools they need to monetise.”

My eBook is the first part of our plan to help creatives learn how to use their personal brand to tell their story, build relationships, and monetise their platforms on a global scale.

We are also launching online-based short courses where individuals can sign up to learn the basics of live blogging, pitching to brands for sponsorship, personal branding, taking great photos, and how to start their own podcast.”


So who is the eBook really for?

By definition, a creative is someone “having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas, using the ability to make or think of new things.”

A creative can be anyone from an artist, writer to musician, photographer, blogger, podcaster, poet, chef, baker, dressmaker, jewellery designer, filmmaker, fashion designer, stylist, dancer, painter, videographer, marketer, and web or game developer that uses their skill to create.

“While writing the book, I interviewed and studied different creatives and looked at their best practices to grow their personal brand and get opportunities.

“With face-to-face being hindered, what you post online, is now more critical than ever. I’ve posted the interviews on my website with a link to purchase the book.

“We're also doing a live series on Facebook live, where we will talk about the different skills that creatives need to have in order to monetise their craft.”

Kesi Gardner has been a marketer and communication consultant for over 16 years. She has worked in the non-profit world, PR, and marketing positions for more than 10 years and provides consulting services as director of The Storyteller Agency Co which focuses on public relations, content creation, web development, marketing consultation, and influencer marketing. She also manages an international model, celebrity photographer, influencers, and bloggers.

The Creatives of the Future e-book is available on Amazon. Click to purchase.

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