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The Drum caught up with Talenthouse co-founder Maya Bogle to talk creativity, culture and influencers.

Talenthouse is a global community of 1 million creatives and influencers that help brands shape their marketing communications via technology platforms and is not an agency, but collaborates with both agencies and brands. It is currently working with  Amazon, Nike, P&G, Microsoft, Porsche, Mercedes, Pernod Ricard, Heineken, Airbnb, Thomas Cook, adidas, Sony, Warner, Disney, McDonalds, Johnson & Johnson, VisitBritain, Universal Pictures, Unilever, Lionsgate, Google.

The Drum recently partnered with Talenthouse to design our magazine cover to celebrate advertising. Keep your eyes peeled!

What kind of work are you doing with these brands?

MB: Right across the board from concepts, ideation, product and package designs to every type of creative work for social storytelling, programmatic, live art installations, event amplification and influencer marketing campaigns.

How has Talenthouse attracted a client list that would be the envy of any network agency?

MB: Clients are looking for something different, quality creative work that is rooted in cultural relevance with faster turnarounds and competitive pricing.  So, whilst agencies have historically said “good, fast, cheap - pick any two” we could say pick all three.

Are you saying that the traditional agency model can’t deliver?

MB: Some agency groups are so huge and confounded by processes that they are implicitly challenged with moving at the pace that a more agile platform-based approach can deliver.

But it’s not just speed that is the issue – the sheer volume of culturally relevant creative work for multiple markets and multiple channels poses enormous challenges to brands and their agencies. 

We recognised the ever-widening divide between the evolving needs of brand owners and the challenges agencies faced to respond. 

Clearly agencies are key in developing the global creative strategy based on brand and audience insights – but it can be cost prohibitive to amplify the hero creative across multiple markets and channels. This is where we can step in to help.

How do you ensure creative diversity and cultural relevance?

MB: We’ve built a collective of creatives who bring fresh ideas and perspectives on a brief to the benefit of brands.  Creatives in 175 markets, from art, film, fashion, music and photography that represent a truly diverse creative voice.  Imagine the power of a creative who empathises or is a member of the LGBTQ+ community creating work for a brand that wishes to engage that community authentically - not just  slapping a rainbow on their logo during Pride…   

How would you describe the spirit of Talenthouse?

MB: We’re passionate about supporting the global creative community by giving them opportunities to have their work seen, shared, loved and financially rewarded.  We also believe that great advertising has always been about the work – you just need a lot more of it now and a great idea can come from anywhere. 

The industry focus on AdTech has obscured the importance of the craft of great creative work for advertising.  Whilst brands can now identify the perfect consumer in the perfect environment poised to purchase they still need to show them work –authentic and personalised creative work for an increasingly diverse and discerning audience is key for brands to cut through. 

We’re humbled by the work of our community and have seen time after time that a great idea can come from anywhere.  We believe that if brands create opportunities for creators, creators can help build brands.

How have you continued to build Talenthouse?

MB: It hasn’t been an easy 9 years – many mistakes and much resistance from the industry along the way.  But we’ve seen a recent shift in attitude and in some ways Talenthouse is growing by fulfilling an evolving need from both brands but equally from creatives as we are providing a platform for them to express their creative skill, to gain inspiration from all over the world, to gain new followers and to make money from their craft by getting their work in front of big brand owners.  Ensuring that we have great talent in the house is even more important than chasing brands who come to us because of the quality of our community. 

Are you saying that you are more interested in the community than the brands?

MB: No, but the success of Talenthouse is rooted in the quality of our community – we’re not a low-rent crowd sourcing option – we’ve nurtured a curated community of creators and that’s why we’re attracting the brands that we’re working with.

Many progressive brands want to do good and they can be positioned positively by creating opportunities for creators to work with them.

Imagine the power of a creator taking the time to create original work for a brand – a little bit of glue between the brand and the creator and the start of a beautiful relationship and one that the creator can share too…

How do you control a talent base of a one million if you’ve got 50 people working for you?

MB: It’s not about control, we think in terms of quality creation not quality control. We have a platform-based approach to briefing our community which the client is very actively involved in the process.  We expect and get very fast turnarounds with hundreds of pieces of quality creative work in response to the brief managed by our experienced campaign team to ensure brand safety throughout the entire process.

When it comes to managing so many responses to a brief, how do you do that?

MB: Our robust tech platform manages this process – giving our clients their own dashboard to view, favourite and select work as it comes through.  Our team works closely with the brand throughout the process and the brief is integral to ensure that the work is on brief and on brand.  We can work with a closed “Black Book” approach with a bespoke, curated group of creators to deliver a handful of submissions or with an open brief to the global community that will deliver 100’s or even thousands of pieces of diverse work.

What next for Talenthouse?

MB: Continuing to build our creative community – so earlier this year we acquired Ello.co - a stunning design and artistic community and we are about to complete on the acquisition of both a high-end film-making and photographic community. 

We are very interested in developing influencers within our community, –creatives tend to be early adopters, taste-makers and can help immerse brands into popular culture. They can help shape the way that consumers feel about fashion, trends, brands and there is something truly authentic about an influencer who is sharing creative work that they’ve made themselves.  

Does that mean you’re moving into influencer marketing too?

MB: We realised that the final distribution of the creative work to the key target audiences of our brand partners was key and we were blind up to a point as to how the work of our community was being used.  So, we are acquiring an influencer marketing company – and one that has developed some unique technology to track and measure the impact of the creative work that the influencer shares. We know that data, attribution, transparency and measurability are top of mind for brands.

In many ways all brand communication is about influence, but the skill is not to sell but to make people want to buy and we believe that authentic influencer marketing with stunning creative work is a way to make this happen.

Talenthouse is a sponsor of The Drum Advertising Awards, with Maya Bogle taking on the role of judge. Entries are now closed. You can purchase tickets for the event on 29 November at The Postal Museum, London.