VIE Magazine, Lisa Burwell, Lisa Marie Burwell, editor-in-chief note, The Idea Boutique, Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising


Influencers Are Having a Moment

The Future Is Here to Stay

By Lisa Marie Burwell

We’re living in a very different world. Change is happening at warp speed, and before we know it, things we once thought were on the horizon or in the distant future are here in real time. Space tourism, artificial intelligence, and holograms are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as we usher in the new frontier. Yet the more things change, the more things stay the same. We wanted to explore the cultural phenomena that have taken social media channels like Instagram, TikTok, Threads, and X (formerly Twitter) by storm. These platforms are used for personal communication, marketing, businesses, and commerce, and we’re covering it all in this issue dubbed The Power of the Influencer.

Many influencer entrepreneurs range from twenty to forty in the Millennial and Gen Z age sects, but when something takes off as these platforms have and everyone recognizes its power, the medium spreads to a broader group. The bulk of the off-the-charts success goes to the younger influencers who have figured out how to curate their unique brands and lifestyles while staying authentic. As they launch their cottage industries, amassing a robust fanbase is the Holy Grail, signifying the success of their endeavors. Being popular by being yourself or a version thereof is the ethos of successful “influencers” who then, in turn, grow their empire by endorsing products. Many now consider this method a vital economic component for everything from retail brands to cosmetics, art, books, music, health and nutrition, mental health organizations, and more.

These are the modern-day celebrities, the movers and shakers who have what movie stars used to have—the “It Factor.” They rule the digital universe, which is now part and parcel of all (or at least most) of our lives. It’s hard to be in business without a digital presence as, sadly, if you don’t exist there, you’re practically invisible. So much is consumed in that online sphere. Once an influencer has successfully branded themselves and proven they can push content as well as merchandise with their recommendations, the velocity of their business increases. The natural progression for many is hosting events and speaking engagements, creating and selling their own products, or starting podcasts as they use the digital tools at their disposal. The start-up cost is fairly inexpensive compared to what was once required to create a bricks-and-mortar business in bygone days (a decade ago). These influencers did not need a Hollywood agent to discover them—they made their own way while cultivating a lifestyle. It’s genius and something we’ve not seen before. But at the core is the human need to be relevant, liked, or widely responded to daily, and that isn’t new. Being popular and well-liked is what we all wanted in high school and maybe even for years afterward.

VIE Magazine, Lisa Burwell, Lisa Marie Burwell, editor-in-chief note, The Idea Boutique, Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising

Photo by Aranka Israni

The retail industry was one of the first to recognize the unstoppable power of the influencer. A paradigm shift occurred when consumers responded by purchasing goods and services influencers endorsed on social media. Traditionally (pre-influencer craze), consumers were swayed via traditional advertising and marketing campaigns, which to some degree seem so yesterday; even though the medium still exists, the brand’s ethos must match the consumers, and all channels are now needed to cast a wide net for potential sales. Retailers now connect with influencers relevant to their respective products and brands. They are the new “word of mouth” form of advertising, which always will be the best method. Influencers are the new digital flagship stores, and dreams are also realized for them as they connect with their fanbases in what becomes a somewhat intimate relationship, or at least the pretense of one.

In 2011, the shopping platform LTK ( was just an idea. It started as a dream to help brands and lifestyle influencers monetize their digital spaces. Today, LTK moves $2.5 billion in annual brand sales with distributed original content. Hence, a new business model was born that is here to stay.

One of the most interesting aspects of creating this issue is that we are featuring it on the printed pages of our magazine (and, yes, digitally as well)—I love a good juxtaposition. I find the digital world a more exciting place with an endless stream of new information, but sometimes, I want to curl up with a good book and unplug until I need my next online fix. Here’s to the future and the past, as they are both great teachers.

To Life!

—Lisa Marie Burwell

CEO/Editor-in-Chief/Creative Director

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