Brands are bringing on influencers as Creative Directors. But who really benefits?


Love them or hate them – they mean business. 

Big. Business.

Influencers are not only shifting the pants but wearing them too, upgraded from after-thought to highly sought-after. Now, brands are showering influencers with straight-up dosh, with the industry worth almost $14 billion.

So what happens when an influencer gets promoted? (No, there is no Senior Influencer role ricocheting around LinkedIn). Instead, we’ve seen multiple high-profile influencers move away from paid partnerships with brands, and into the highly coveted role of Creative Director for the brand.

So who’s doing the #paid pivot? And what does that mean for business, brands, and social-media engagement alike?

  1. Kendall Jenner x FWRD

Usually, creative directors are similar to puppet masters. They curate a brand with delicate precision while remaining in the shadows. And yet, the fashion-brand FWRD has taken the opposite approach with its latest ‘hire’.

FWRD’s Instagram bio reads: Creative Director: Kendall Jenner. #Kendall x FWRD. 

And currently, FWRD’s Instagram feed is a 12-image spread making up one giant Kendall Jenner. 

Unsurprisingly, each individual image (even one of just her kneecaps), has gotten x10 more engagement than previous non-Kendall posts.

But stepping back and admiring the wider shot, it’s worth thinking, what if this is her creative direction at work here? And better yet, what if it’s the right one?  We’re all talking about it, aren’t we?

2. Molly-Mae Hague x PrettyLittleThing

PrettyLittleThing – the UK-based fashion retailer that grosses over $500 million revenue with operations in UK, Ireland, Australia, US, France, Middle East and North Africa – has a new Creative Director.

None other than Love Island Star, Molly-Mae Hague. 

While you won’t see Molly-Mae plastered around PrettyLittleThing’s Instagram, you will see PrettyLittleThing plastered on hers. With her announcement came boosted exposure, congratulations and admiration for the role. Instead of just being a product shifter, Molly-Mae has simultaneously increased her engagement, and her personal brand as an entrepreneur.

When questioned about what the role would actually entail, Molly insisted it’s less of a 9-5 and more of a ‘24/7 role, sharing ideas, coming up with incredible new concepts, having input on shoots, events, you name it. We have SO many amazing things coming.’

And while it’s uncertain whether this move is a leap of faith or a natural next step – at just 22, and multiple business deals already under her belt, it seems her credentials are set in stone:  her creativity, and notoriety, is worth the promotion. 

3. Bella Hadid x Kin Euphorics 

This week, supermodel Bella Hadid revealed she is now a Co-Founder of the already-founded wellness drink brand, Kin Euphorics.

Kin Euphorics’ creative positioning is ‘Braincare beverages for a brighter tomorrow’ and their visual identity is dreamy, yet buzzy, yet calm.

Bella’s role? Not just promotions and posing. “The reason why I am coming on with Kin is not only to consistently give you new formulas, creatives, and products but to also teach you about brain health and how we can help with the social, personal, physical, and mental pressures we face on a regular basis,” Hadid wrote on Instagram.

We’re yet to see the long term results from their creative directing, but one thing is for sure, this brand is doing something right.

It seems the question has morphed from ‘are they even qualified’ to ‘have the qualifications changed?’ 

Similarly, why do we underestimate women who can clearly command eyes and make money move. What even is influencing? Aren’t all Creative Directors technically influencers – and vice versa – one way or another?

With a knack for communication, consistency and cultivating a crowd – maybe influencers really are the perfect person for the job. We’ll have to watch to find out, which is probably the point.

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