GetCraft’s bid to become the ‘Amazon’ of the creative industry

After three years in the making, Jakarta-based content creator network GetCraft has officially gone live across South East Asia. Mumbrella Asia's Eleanor Dickinson caught up with founder and CEO Patrick Searle to discover why he hopes to put the entire creative industry onto an online marketplace

Linking marketers and agencies to South East Asia’s gigantic pool of content creators remains today a vast and fragmented landscape –one that for many still relies largely on word-of-mouth recommendations.

When Patrick Searle was the managing director of Social@Ogilvy Indonesia, he noticed his colleagues, and those in other agencies, would spend weeks at a time searching for the right production houses and influencers to execute their work. And in short, they were “so bombarded with work, they were and are not able to do good quality work anymore.”

It was that desire to speed up the agency-to-content creator process that led to Searle leaving Ogilvy in 2014, and founding GetCraft, a VC-funded open source network of writers, designers, influencers and production crews, that can be viewed and selected by anybody. “The Amazon of the creative industry,” as Searle quips.

“It sounds crazy, but we have Uber, Grab, Lazada; places you can get these services straight away, but our industry has not evolved this process.

“Essentially for three years, we have been asking the question: can we standardise the creative industry? We wanted to create one standard format that allows us to connect clients with work and creators on one platform.”

Searle with GetCraft co-founder Anthony Reza. Photo by Ahmad Zamroni

So far, the site has more than 4,000 creatives, who Searle claims have been personally vetted by a 45-person-strong division that amounts to roughly half of GetCraft’s entire workforce.

The suppliers come from Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, with plans to open up the network to other markets in Asia in due course. Companies such as Unilever, Nestlé, P&G, J&J, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, Google, Samsung, GE and Visa have worked with the network.

The premise behind GetCraft is relatively simple: marketers and agencies seeking creators can ‘shop around’ the platform, filtering creators by country, services offered and their pricing. They can then invite those selected to pitch, negotiate pricing and sign contracts – supposedly within a matter of hours.

And although other platforms providing similar services, such as The Smalls, 90Seconds and influencer specialist networks like IndaHash and Gushcloud have cropped up in Asia over recent years, Searle believes they are being held back by limiting their access.

We’ve been putting this together for three years, but now we have decided to open it all up,” he says. “Now you don’t need to register; every single client, agency can go directly to the site. I’ve spoken to other platforms and they are struggling to get clients.

“The step of registering and paying a subscription fee is a Western model and does not work for Asia. Our remuneration is taking commission from the creators for their work. We think this will make it easier for clients to discover creatives; see their portfolios. We’ve been live two weeks now and already had 30 projects go through.”

Also reminiscent of an Amazon or TripAdvisor-style marketplace is the opportunity to leave public reviews on creator’s profiles – something that could get messy in an era keyboard warriors and internet trolling. “We will still be there,” Searle chimes. “We will be acting as a referee to make sure people are being civil and are not just slandering each other on the site.”

Another potential issue he acknowledges is the fear that putting a creative’s portfolio on an open source site could leave them wide open to plagiarism. “We are trying to fix that problem in the industry; it really needs it at this point,” he adds. “But the creators can look at [a client’s] profile, see they have run 10 pitches and not awarded any work. The creators will see and can decide not to take part or put a massive margin.”

And finally, there is the major issue of remuneration for the creatives. As Mumbrella has previously highlighted, delayed or even non-existent payment remains a daily frustration for many small and medium creative players in Asia. So has GetCraft found a way to solve that too?

“It’s a problem we are trying to work out, and we have some new developments coming out that we hope will fix this,” Searle says. “Right now, our payment terms for clients is 95 days. A creator who takes 60 days to do a project, then doesn’t get paid for 150 days.

“To ensure influencers are paid on time, businesses that want to work with us have to register their details. Those that don’t [want to register] have to pay upfront. But so far we have not had one default.”

So far more than 3,000 campaigns have been organised and executed through GetCraft. Although revenue is generated from the commission earned from the creators, the platform’s growth has  largely been fuelled so far by funding from 500 Startups and Indonesia’s Convergence Ventures. Searle says the company is now seeking a Series A round to take GetCraft global in 2019.

Regarding whether GetCraft takes away the need for marketers to dismiss the use of creative agencies completely, and therefore add to industry’s current ongoing struggles, Searle claims the platform will do the opposite.

“The creative agencies are still needed; this disrupts their work level in that they no longer need to spend three weeks looking for people. They can spend more time being creative and strategic – something they are struggling with right now.

Weirdly [enough] I think this will help agencies with all their problems today. Clients when we speak to them still need good creative thinking and good project management. We don’t do that; we enable them to find the best talent out there. I hope agencies can pivot back to being what they were in the old days and create these big campaigns. I think it will set agencies free and make them far more creative than it’s ever been before – an opportunity to prove their real value.”


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