How to sell to the Creative Class

Implementing audience-driven growth through the four Creative Class segments

Ana Andjelic
4 min readJun 2, 2024

Louis Vuitton 1.1 Millionaires Sunglasses

When aspirational brands talk about their audience, they talk about the Creative Class. The main feature of the Creative Class is that its members treat leisure and job and job as leisure, that they are urban-based, and made of creators, curators, critics, and hangers-on. The Creative Class plays an important role in the modern aspirational economy, as it directs wider consumers’ attention, time, and money towards aspirational things, places and ideas. No consumer makes decisions in isolation from its context — and members of the Creative Class influence and shape this context through their own consumption.

When tapping into consumption of the Creative Class, brands need to be aware of (at least) four types that evolved within it. There are Connoisseurs, Super Fans, Selective Buyers and Skimmers. Each of these is relevant for a brand, but they have different motivations, knowledge, taste, and reasons for interacting with it.

These four types of the Creative Class are distributed on the scale x influence continuum, with Connoisseurs being the smallest but the most influential group, and Skimmers being the biggest group, but with the least influence. Best brands address all four of these audience groups; successful brands talk to at least two.

Traditionally, brands focused mostly on Selective Buyers, who gravitate towards the trendiest, most popular, latest and greatest items. The new brand strategy focuses on all four groups, where each is ranked on its importance for a brand and the value it brings to both the bottom line and a brand’s popularity.

How many of these audiences, and which ones, a brand addresses, defines its growth model, product and brand strategy, and its marketing activities.

The four categories of the Creative Class are:

Kei Ninomiya on Eugene Rabkin’s Instagram

Connoisseurs love the unique. NFTs, sneakers, jewelry, Japanese denim, places to go out and new music to discover are the lens through which they see the world and themselves. Consumption is a matter of their identity. Their preferred cultural domain — fashion or art or design or literature — is their mode of expression. They are informed, knowledgeable, and opinionated, and actively seek out new designers/writers/artists in order to be able to influence their social graph. From brands they expect the latest and the greatest information, discovery, uniqueness, and differentiation. They mix their shopping with content from critics, curators, and creators, who help them evolve their taste and provide a continuous stream of inspiration and new discoveries.

This consumer group can make creators, curators, and brands big, thanks to their social influence, taste and following. They do not invent new trends, but amplify the ones that are bubbling up through writing, commenting, remixing, posting and wearing them, thus lending the emerging trends wider attention and legitimacy. Connoisseurs are critical for brands as they are their canary in their coal mine: they show brands where the culture is going and allow them to tap into trends before they become big. In return, Connoisseurs get access, status, bragging rights, and ammunition for their personal brand.

Behaviors: carefully curated Instagram posts and reels, TikTok commentary, a newsletter, a podcast, have an agent, know about new MSCHF drops before anyone else

Influences: DMs, a curated Instagram following, exclusive text groups, obscure magazines, deep cut Tumblrs (!), boutiques, happenings and friends across the globe

Notable mentions: Eugene Rabkin, Rachel Tashjian, Gabriel Whaley, Thom Bettridge

My Clothing Archive Instagram

Superfans buy anything from a brand they are obsessed with. Sports fans and dedicated followers of brands like The Row or designer Phoebe Philo are in this category. A lot of brands, like Porsche or Rolex, brand everything from residential buildings to Oscars green room to appeal to (or create) superfans. Brand extensions usually serve this purpose, when a brand builds a universe that spans many categories and experiences, like Ralph Lauren does.

Read the rest of this analysis on The Sociology of Business.



Ana Andjelic

Brand Executive. Author of “The Business of Aspiration.” Doctor of Sociology. Writer of “Sociology of Business.” Forbes most influential CMO.