Welcome to Earned, an influencer marketing podcast by CreatorIQ. In this series, Conor Begley, Chief Strategy Officer at CreatorIQ, sits down with esteemed industry leaders, exploring the minds—and marketing strategies—behind the most successful brands in creator-led marketing.
In each episode, we dive into our guest’s background, as they walk us through the unique—and often unexpected—journey that led them to landing their dream role. We discuss their tried-and-true marketing philosophies, and of course, we talk about influencers, sharing best practices for maximizing the power of the Creator Economy and cultivating impactful influencer communities. Each guest also lends advice to young professionals starting out in the industry, and reveals a few of the key marketing strategies behind their brand’s coveted success, online and off—so be sure to tune in, and take notes!
66 - Chelsea Riggs, Amika
In Ep. 66 of Earned, Conor sits down with Chelsea Riggs, Global President of top-ranking professional haircare brand Amika. To start the episode, we learn what attracted Chelsea, who joined the founding team of Amika out of college, to the then-small startup, and how she worked her way up in six years from being a business development manager to Global Brand President. We then dive into Amika’s standout success on social in recent years, and hear how building a more sophisticated influencer marketing engine—and a dedicated “A-team” creator community—helped propel this growth. Next, Chelsea explains why the sales team is so important to a beauty brand, as they are the “eyes and ears to the customer,” before sharing how Amika leverages its community of professional hair stylists for product feedback. Finally, we learn why Amika, which earned Sephora’s “Clean at Sephora” seal last year, has evolved its product line to include clean, responsibly sourced ingredients—plus, Chelsea reveals that the brand is on its way to receiving a B Corp certification.
65 - Raissa Gerona, Revolve
In our first episode of the new year, we sit down with Raissa Gerona, Chief Brand Officer of fashion retailer and influencer marketing powerhouse Revolve. We start by learning how Raissa was a pioneer in the influencer marketing space, leveraging the then-new blogosphere in 2008 to promote her own Lovers and Friends clothing brand. Raissa shares her advice to marketers who question whether influencer marketing is “worth it,” emphasizing that it should be viewed as top-of-funnel marketing (like a billboard), and that marketers shouldn’t try to equate every single influencer post to a sale. We then take a step back to explore Raissa’s unique career journey. Raissa reveals how she was originally on track to become an attorney, but a trip to Italy led her to pursue the entrepreneurial path and start her own clothing brand, which later connected her to Revolve founders Michael Mente & Mike Karanikolas. To close the show, we learn about the successes and challenges involved with scaling Revolve 10x in 10 years to achieve $1B in revenue, before hearing what’s in store for Raissa and Revolve over the next decade.
[Rewind] Ju Rhyu, Hero Cosmetics
This week, we're taking a trip down memory lane and re-sharing one of our top episodes of 2022: Ep. 47, featuring Ju Rhyu, co-founder and CEO of Hero Cosmetics—an acne-focused skincare brand that achieved $100 million in revenue last year.
To start the episode, we learn how running Hero Cosmetics today differs from when Ju launched the brand four years ago, and Ju shares why she says no to a lot more opportunities that come her way. We then hear why Hero Cosmetics launched on Amazon with only one SKU, and how Ju went on to build a successful business on the platform. Next, we take a step back to explore Ju’s career journey: from earning her MBA at Columbia, to her time working at Kraft, Samsung, and American Express, to starting Hero Cosmetics. We discuss why Hero Cosmetics focuses heavily on earned media, including building relationships with publications and influencers to drive brand awareness. To close the show, Ju shares the “game-changing” advice she received that fueled her extremely intentional product development and distribution strategies.
64 - Michelle Miller, K18
In our last episode of 2022, Conor sits down with one of Glossy’s Top Marketers of 2022: Michelle Miller, SVP of Global Marketing at biotech-backed superstar K18 Hair. We start by learning why K18 prioritizes top-of-funnel brand marketing over paid advertising, and Michelle emphasizes the importance of fostering your core community—which, for K18, has always been professional hairstylists. We then hear what qualities Michelle looks for when joining a brand, and the characteristics of good founders, before learning how Michelle recruits her own “team of geniuses.” Next, we dive into Michelle’s career background and unpack how influencer marketing has evolved since her early days pioneering the space at Too Faced. We discuss K18’s approach to TikTok, before switching gears to explore the challenges of hyper-growth. To close the show, we learn what’s next for K18, and Michelle gives advice to those looking to achieve similar success.
63 - Zeena Koda, 2K
In today’s episode of Earned, we’re joined by our first gaming industry guest: Zeena Koda, head of global digital community marketing at gaming powerhouse 2K. With previous experience at renowned companies like Sirius XM Radio, Capitol Records, Atlantic Records, and The North Face, Zeena’s expertise spans far beyond the gaming industry. We learn how this broad career experience has influenced Zeena’s approach to her current role at 2K, and how she familiarizes herself with different online and offline cultures. We then dive into Zeena’s time in the music industry, before unpacking the large-scale impact that TikTok has had on the space. Zeena also discusses the intersection of music and gaming, and shares what attracted her to gaming. Next, we hear which social platforms are most influential in gaming right now, and how 2K chooses which influencers to partner with. To close the show, we learn more about 2K’s NextMakers community, and how Zeena balances her multitude of interests.
62 - Doug Weiss, Instagram (Meta)
In Ep. 62 of Earned, CreatorIQ’s own Tim Sovay sits down with Meta’s Doug Weiss, head of creator commerce at Instagram. We start the episode by learning how Meta has grown and changed over the years, with Doug unpacking the evolution of creators, shoppable content, and content format on Facebook and Instagram. We learn what attracts creators to Instagram, and Doug emphasizes how the platform allows creators to reach an audience and build a community in a way that was previously impossible. We then discuss Instagram’s pivot to short-form video content in the form of Reels, before hearing why the platform expanded its model from connecting people to people, to connecting people to content. Next, we explore how the pandemic expedited the rise of e-commerce, and how Meta supported brands in growing their online businesses through shoppable content and ads. Finally, Doug tells us why Meta prioritizes its partnership program with other companies—including CreatorIQ—before closing the show with his predictions for the future of the creator economy, and the role Meta will play in it.
An inspiring piece during this quarantine period. Thank you tribe!
Success is never simple and it’s so inspiring to see the paths it takes to get there. Can’t wait for more from this show!