We spoke with Laundry Service creative duo, Content Creator Tré Vayne and Senior Content Creator Krysten Wagner on digital content creation and the cultural importance of social media.
Can you tell us about your current role and responsibilities?
Wagner: My current role at Laundry Service is Senior Content Creator. It’s sort of amazing, because we’re evolving the job description as we go. I was hired primarily to focus on ideation and creation of content for TikTok specifically. Tré and I study short-form video content, forecast trends and are often creating TikTok-style video content for brands to use on their own channels.
Vayne: I like to think of the Content Creator role as having one goal: to find the right idea for the brief and to bring it to life. We’re here to help translate the client’s vision natively to whatever platform is necessary, and I couldn’t be happier that we’re focusing on TikTok at the moment.
What drew you to work at this agency and what opportunities does it provide to foster your professional growth?
Vayne: I was drawn to Laundry Service because of the creative tenacity I felt when I saw the portfolio on the website. The projects were all wildly different yet each one felt top-of-the-line. I’ve always been one to jump head-first into the deep end and I feel there’s no better training than being with the best. I think working here provides me with the opportunity to work at the highest caliber at all times. It has truly been an exciting experience working here and I feel grateful to be a part of a team that is just as committed to my development as it is committed to producing the best work for clients.
Wagner: I was drawn to LS because of their dedication to innovating the advertising industry and putting an emphasis on the importance of social media. I’m a gen-z/millennial cusper who basically grew up on the internet, and it’s great to work for an agency that understands how to market to people like me, and younger generations. I have a really differentiated skill set of understanding internet culture and participating in it, but not a lot of agency or professional marketing experience for big brands. Joining LS gave me an opportunity to grow as a creative while learning from the best, and the ability to actually contribute to the conversation through a unique lens.
Are there any unused skills you have that you'd love to incorporate into your professional work?
Vayne: I have a background in hospitality and event production, and as the world continues to figure out how to safely produce in-person events, I look forward to helping out with in-person content. I adore all things digital but there’s nothing like the magic of creating a tangible experience for others, and I am grateful that we are already having conversations about growth and what kind of projects we’d like to see ourselves work on in the future.
Wagner: I assumed that creating my own content and working as an influencer for brands would be an unused skill, or something I used as a side-hustle that was actually enjoyable. I went to acting school, and that’s the reason I started creating content in the first place: as an outlet for my own creativity. I never thought that making TikTok videos would help me in my professional work. If anything, I always figured I’d have to find a way to hide my TikTok account from employers! As long as I get to continue creating in a professional setting, I’m happy.
Joining such a massive industry can be overwhelming, how do you stay informed and ahead of the curve?
Wagner: The best way to stay informed in such a massive industry is to walk the walk. I spend an embarrassing number of hours online everyday across different social platforms, tuning into different creators’ channels and watching to see what’s working for them, in addition to creating my own content. When you’re working in digital marketing, and with creators on social media, the best way to understand what’s working is to jump in and test on your own.
Vayne: Ain’t nothing to it but to do it, as they say. I think it’s important to find the medium of information you like best and to go from there. For example, I would love to be that guy who subscribes to twenty daily digests, but I’m just not. I love long-form articles, I love video content, but my old faithful also happens to be the most natural for me: just scrolling for hours on end.
What areas in the industry do you believe could use an overhaul?
Wagner: I’d love to see an overhaul in campaigns designed for new social media platforms. My biggest pet peeve is when brands create content for TikTok or Snapchat, and it’s evident that they don’t use the platform at all – because it doesn’t feel like content that would actually live on those apps. No one wants to open up TikTok to a highly branded commercial; they want to see a TikTok!
Vayne: And I think the next big issue to tackle is cultural competency. Brands are hyper-aware of avoiding culturally insensitive issues aesthetically but I think that work still needs to be done in terms of copy. People underestimate how off-putting it is to see a brand incorrectly use something like “periodt” or “cap”. Even the smallest mistake can stick with people for a while. Relevance at the cost of communication seems to be a persistent issue, which is unfortunate since it’s such a simple fix.
Where do you hope this role will take you down the line?
Vayne: I hope this role helps me to hone in on my skills to bring authenticity to any project I’m a part of. There can be a behemoth budget, thousands of assets, stellar talent, but without authenticity everything else falls flat, and I think that the Content Creator role is the keystone to ensuring authenticity.
Wagner: I hope that this role will open up the doors for other young people who are creating content as a side-hustle to see themselves in a real professional role where they provide value. As far as my own career-path, I can only hope that I can bring some fun and innovation to brands through the content I create!