May 2023

The Evolution of the Creator Economy - By Judy Hopkins

Long before the digital era descended upon us, the world already had its own ‘influencers’ in the form of key opinion leaders in each industry or category of business.

Hopkins Communications - May Sparks 2023 - Mary Hopkins

Mary Hopkins
Founder of Hopkins Communications

For example, our Founder, Mary Hopkins, a Limerick-born farmer’s daughter, built up a reputation in Cork and Ireland, for being ‘the woman in the know’, the woman with the contacts, and a trusted source in business circles since she founded Hopkins Communications in 1990.

As Mary says, it’s not always ‘what you know’, it’s also about ‘who you know’. She was, and still is (although retired), the go-to trusted source for contacts to invite to events, to target for certain campaigns and to help build your business.

Hopkins Communications - May Sparks 2023 - Carrie Bradshaw

Who wore the Atelier Versace gown better- Carrie Bradshaw at 37 or Carrie Bradshaw at 55?

With the influx of digital influencers over the last number of years, you may have seen a big interest in the younger generations of influencers, those with content surrounding beauty, makeup, fashion etc. for example, and while these influencers are still of course important to include in the marketing mix for certain brands, we have seen a shift in recent years where marketers recognise the importance of working with older generations of influencers also.

Marketers are really tapping into the growing number of trusted older generations of influencers, in order to target older generations, as well as those younger demographics that also engage with them. Another reason for this, is that a lot of the larger brands out there, know that they have to be diverse in who they work with and ensure they are also being age inclusive as part of the Diversity and Inclusion strategies.

We have also seen a major move over the last few years, from working solely with influencers with massive followings, to including or working solely with the micro and nano influencers, with smaller, more captive audiences – focusing on quality not quantity. Working on the ‘sanity’ metrics of targeting the right audience, rather than ‘vanity’ metrics, using a spray and pray effect by going with the considerably larger followings.

For example, a US marketing agency partnered with local micro-influencers with fewer than 20,000 followers to run a campaign for the Wisconsin State Supreme Court election. The influencers who normally aren’t political, posted on social media about issues like abortion and gun control before the election, part of a wider initiative with the organisation ‘A Better Wisconsin Together’. While the agency acknowledges that it was too early to know whether the campaign influenced the outcome of the election, Democratic-backed judge Janet Protasiewicz won with record campus turnout. This highlights the value of finding local influencers with authenticity.

Our Junior Digital Account Executive, Sibéal recently shared an article with the team copper-fastening our thinking and inspiring this Sparks blog entry. The article More brands choose Boomer, Gen X influencers, as ‘older audiences can be just as impactful’ as young ones – Digiday said that ‘Earlier this month, for example, Mountain Dew threw a party in Florida to promote its new alcoholic beverage, Hard Mountain Dew, but instead of tapping Gen Z and millennial influencers, the brand threw a party for retireesClean beauty brand Ilia and Alaska Airlines, to name a few, have also generated press around their work with older influencers’.

Hopkins Communications - May Sparks 2023 - Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew

Hopkins Communications - May Sparks 2023 Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines

Hopkins Communications - May Sparks 2023 - Ilia


We most definitely agree that, in the coming years, more brands will recognise the viability of working with older influencers when conceptualising and implementing their marketing campaigns. Not only do these influencers have that online clout, but they have a genuine influence outside of social media to boot.

Another trend we have seen, especially since the pandemic, is the surge in working with comedians and those that review broadcast shows. During the pandemic, we all consumed a lot of social media and broadcast media, and with all the negative news stories, we looked for an escape, with a bit of fun. Comedians were doing online gigs, sharing hilarious stories and keeping the sunny side out for us.

Hopkins Communications - May Sparks 2023 - Laura O'Mahony

Laura O’Mahony
Cork comedian & broadcaster

Cork comedian and broadcaster Laura O’Mahony’s Trabolgan skits kept a lot of Corkonians entertained during the pandemic.

Hopkins Communications - May Sparks 2023 - Fionnuala Jay

Fionnuala Jay
Journalist, podcaster and broadcast host.

Check out Judy’s Tea Talks instalive with Fionnuala here.

Hopkins Communications - May Sparks 2023 - Orlaith Condon

Orlaith Condon
Journalist and podcaster on TV and Pop Culture

While other influencers started doing story reviews of television and streaming platform shows. Again, all with a bit of craic injected into the content. Many of this cohort, as a result, have moved on to also present radio, television and podcast shows, gaining sponsorship from big name brands, as well as the smaller brands to target their captive audiences.

In short, we wholeheartedly agree with the Digiday article that “In the next few years as the creator economy grows and evolves, we’ll continue to see more and more creators with varying demographics including age have a seat at the table, actively contributing to brand storytelling in unique ways.”

Watch this space…. It’s all to play for!

Should you wish to engage in an influencer campaign as part of your marketing strategy, feel free to contact Partner, Judy Hopkins to discuss same on

Do you need help with your digital strategy or have a specific topic you want us to cover?

If there’s anything you want us to cover in our future Sparks Roundups, or if you need help planning and implementing your digital marketing campaigns, just pop an email, and we will be happy to get back to you.

For more on our digital offering, look at our Digital Marketing services or follow us wherever you get your social: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

#HC hun