Influencers and social media personalities have been creating brands for years, whether it be a youtuber, Instagram star, or just flat-out media personality, this is no new territory for any socialite. When looking at these brands that were created, some creators were pioneers, while others were just mere followers of a wave, however, is this a valid career move in the grand scheme?

Now why is it that in the modern world, every single content creator on the YouTube platform has merchandise, branding, or a multitude of lanes to explore. Firstly, it is due to a need to create multiple streams of income. With this revenue diversification, multiple support mechanisms are built in to not only preserve legacy, but to leapfrog over those that utilize traditional methods.

Taking the Sidemen as an example, a group based in the UK that started off as just 7 friends, making content in front of a camera, and turning into a multi-million-euro brand. Starting in October 2013, the group was filming low-budget, homegrown content, designed to make a personable connection to their audience. The first move forward into the business sector was through the creation of Sidemen Clothing in 2014, still running to this day. While YouTuber merchandise was a regular occurrence at that point, the Sidemen took matters to another level in the next 8 years. The eventful year of 2021. In this year, the group made a content platform, restaurant/food chain, and their own vodka company, which took things up a notch when it came to YouTube centralized brands and businesses. With over 16 million subscribers, and an average of 95 million views per month, the Sidemen’s home ground of YouTube is here to stay as well with weekly videos being posted, as well as a second, and third channel being created in the past three years.

When it comes to YouTuber businesses, the Sidemen have pioneered the art of multi-faceted income, manoeuvring through income diversification, while also maintaining the initial platform which provided them with this voice and publicity. So, in this case, it most definitely seems as if this income diversification direction is the right way to go for YouTubers attempting to maintain a legacy beyond the content creating platform.

While some YouTubers have found great success after expanding their brand and name, others have found it more difficult, and it is evidence of how some income diversification attempts can end up as a simple cash-grab rather than a step in the right direction. NFTs, defined as non-fungible token, is considered a digital asset. While these have been surrounded by controversy since their creation, some YouTubers utilized this as a route to expand their brand, rather than going down the mainstream route of food, beverage, and content expansion.

Logan and Jake Paul are no strangers to milking the non-fungible cash cow in this case, with Logan splashing out a reported $1m to launch an NFT project known as CryptoZoo, which has a floor price sitting at more than 60% less than its all time high in November 2021. While his brother, Jake, took a slightly alternative route. Rather than exploring the world of NFTs directly, he decided to fight retired fighters with a hip replacement first, however, Paul was reportedly an ambassador for Stick Dix, an NFT project which has decreased in value by over an astonishing 95% since its all time high in November 2021.

To conclude, when it comes to influencer run businesses and brands, hopping on trends, and making split-decision may not always be the correct route. Planning, and carefully formulating ideas for brands that last, can lead content creators to build a legacy far beyond their YouTube channels, which has been happening for more than a decade, through merchandise as a start-up.

Satvik Shubham – Helsinki Times

- The Sidemen consists of 7 members: JJ, Simon, Josh, Vikram, Tobit, Harry, and Ethan.
- NFTs gained popularity in 2020, mostly due to the slew of worldwide lockdowns and exploring of the digital world.
- Jimmy Donaldson is a YouTuber who owns a chocolate bar company, and restaurant chain as well.
- JJ, member of the Sidemen, has a brand known as Prime, to which he is the co-ambassador alongside Logan Paul.