Inside the Supercell Creator Program: An Exclusive Interview with the Head of the Initiative

A lot of insights!

Supercell Creator Program is one of the best content creator programs for mobile games. The way the Creator Program is handled can be considered as the benchmark for the mobile games industry. To dive deeper into this system ahead of Squad Busters’ global launch, we at GamingonPhone sat with Rick Crane, the Product Owner at Supercell Creator Program for an exclusive Interview that delved into his role, challenges, future aspirations, and most importantly get insights on what it takes to build and nurture a fantastic community of content creators.

1. Hello Rick, can you introduce yourself and talk about your role as the head of the Supercell Creator Program?

Rick: I am Rick Crane. I was born in the UK and moved around a lot of my life. I moved to London, then I moved to Barcelona, and then I found myself in this amazing situation to work for Supercell, which has been great. At Supercell, I’ve been through many games. Boom Beach was where I started. Then, I helped with Hay Day Pop. Then finally I moved over to Clash as a community manager.

When I first joined in 2018, we flew over to San Francisco and brainstormed with some of our OG content creators, what is it that you are looking for? and they helped us build what we had, which was a website that had this tier system in place, you could get the creator codes.

In 2018, from the end of September until the beginning of March, I just had 18 whiteboards around me, where I was scribbling, ideas about how we could make this the best place for content creators and provide something for our players. 

Hay Day Pop
Hay Day Pop (Image via Supercell)

The end goal is for the players to have the best experience. These content creators (who are players and love our games so much) can engage with our platform, learn, build their businesses, and their fandom can learn from one location.

The creators win because they’re growing, and if they make a business out of this, I see that as a massive win. Then the players, because they’re engaging with our content so much and they’re enjoying their favorite content creator and getting freebies everybody wins. So that was the decision and design of it.

2. What skills do you believe are essential for someone in your position? 

Rick: To tell you the truth, I keep a bag next to the door because I don’t know, one day I’m sure somebody’s going to come and say, “Rick’s useless”. I could just walk out of the office, out of shame quickly because I’m surrounded by so many talented people around me. I feel I always have to improve myself because my colleagues are so smart.

But I think the skill set for me depends on the objectives. I have so many different roles in this position.
My mind goes to where I am now—there’s a new bounty coming out for the launch of Squad Busters, which is a new piece of tech that we’ve never done before. So I’ve got to think about how it functions, how it works, how it feels for the content creator, and whether it makes sense. Is it clear? Is it understandable? Is it going to impact us as a company as well?

Every time I get asked this kind of question, it’s really hard to put it in a one-sentence thing. It’s also the same as our CMs; it’s not just about posting on social media. There are so many things on the backend that they have to do, like script writing for the update videos/strategy/reporting/meetings/idea generation. There are so many things every day that I can’t explain them simply.  

3. The requirements to become a Supercell Creator are very player-friendly, opening the opportunity to plenty of aspiring creators. What was the thought behind that? In addition, do you see opening this opportunity to plenty of aspiring creators?

Rick: When creating the Academy, it was always in my mind that I wanted to lower the threshold bar for people to get in. Looking around the industry, they’re looking for big content creators. I hear a lot of people saying they want to be a content creator and is the hardest job in the world because you have to be everything – a video editor, a thumbnail designer, a scriptwriter to an editor.

Supercell Creator Elixir
Image via Supercell

We hope that our tools will allow them to go past the whole learning process and that, in the end, we can build those relationships with these guys in the long run. We treat our creators as family and not as a marketing channel. If we see them growing, we can assist them and I think it’s just a nice give back that we can give to the world.

4. What strategies do you use to build and maintain a strong community among Supercell creators? 

Rick: I think just openness and transparency. I think I’m an authentic person, and I think that shines through the way that we talk to our creators, whether that be on our Discord channel when you are an official creator or on our Slack channels. Being able to have that open transparency, I think is really, really good and I love the fact that we allow our creators as well to talk about the negative things that they see about our games.

We don’t want to silence them as that information is so valuable to us as community managers to pass that feedback on to our game teams to say, this is what the sentiment is right now, and if we make this change, it can help make the game better for our players, which is the end goal. So I think that’s key that we have at Supercell. 

5. How do you handle negative feedback or criticism from the creators?

Rick: With open arms? *laughs* I think that’s the key. If somebody has a thought or opinion, then that should be taken into account. There are obviously priorities inside the game teams that we need to focus on, but I think everybody’s voice needs to be heard.

That’s the job of myself and the CM to be able to decipher which ones are the things that are most prevalent to pass on to the game teams to say, “hey, can we do this?”. I think people will be happier with our game.

6. Can you tell me an instance where feedback or negative feedback influenced the company’s decisions significantly or made any major changes to any program? 

Rick: There was a time when I messed up. I was working on Clash Royale, and we were launching a new level, and we announced that we were going to half-price for upgrades. Then we didn’t announce that level 13 was coming and it was just a really bad miscommunication.

If we would’ve announced that level 13 was coming and people hadn’t spent their gold, they would’ve found a better way to use it. As soon as that feedback came back, it was like we’re going to refund players, and we did that.

Clash Royale, Clash royale wallpaper, clash royale 6th anniversary, Clash Royale Summer 2022 Update
Image via Supercell

I took that really badly on myself. I wish I had planned better or considered the reaction. It is not a simple thing you can put into a word sentence, but yeah, there have been occasions where there’s been miscommunication, and then we’ve had to fix something because of the community sentiment.

7. So what do you find the most rewarding in your role at Supercell?

Rick: There are so many moments. Like each individual, the new update we released has been received exceptionally well. The community saying Rick’s the GOAT *laughs*. It’s not just myself, it’s a full team that I’m working with, of course, I’m the face for it, but it definitely is a team effort.

We’ve had people who have participated in our creator academy grow by 600% with viewership subscribers, and seeing their faces and coming to me directly and saying, “Rick, you changed my life”, is the most amazing feeling that I can have. Anything that helps these people make a full-time business for me is massive. That’s what I’m looking to see.

8. How many people are working on this creative program apart from you?

Rick: We have a creator team which is four people. We do have partners that are helping us to do these features and updates on our websites but four main people in Supercell are the ones doing this.

9. The idea behind Creator Elixir is also something that we were fond of when it was introduced, especially the cool Merchandise. What was the thought process before introducing this feature, and how is it working for you? Has the enthusiasm for fulfilling quests from creators increased?

Rick: I think gamifying the system was the key element that we were working towards. If the creators play games, why not make the system itself a game in some way? If we’re encouraging creators to jump on these big campaign moments that are happening inside our games, it helps them get viewership. It gets more social reach.

Supercell Creator Elixir
Image via Supercell

People are searching about it because they’re interested, and hopefully, that converts to subscribers. So it helps us to get eyeballs on the campaigns that we are doing, they get more followers, which increases their viewership and growth and we get people hearing about our updates. So, it’s been phenomenal. The metrics have been off the chart for us, it’s beyond my wildest dreams.

10. How do you see this role of content creators evolving in the games industry? In addition, how do you see Supercell applying these changes to its creative program? 

Rick: I think we have one of the best creative programs out there at the moment, and I’m hoping that with the things we are showcasing to the game industry, there is another way to engage with content creators. I believe it is better to focus on the relationships you are building and not just use them for their views.

11. Looking ahead, what kind of goals or aspirations do you have with this program?

Rick: You’re going to see something else that we’re trying to do for a bounty that has never been done before. Every time we do one of these things, we are looking at it and going, how can we make that better? To be fair, some people would say to me, well, “The Creator Program is going to be finished one day”, which makes me laugh because I think we can make it better and better.

12. What was the idea behind creating a temporary one-month code for everyone in this campaign?

Rick: For the Temporary Creator Code, it’s a win for creators because they’re going to be saying “Here’s my code” at the global launch. It means that social media is going to blow up because more people are talking about it. Helps us. Helps them.

Squad Busters, Squad Busters wallpaper, Squad Busters pic, Squad Busters image, Squad Busters photo
Image via Supercell

(on being asked what happens after a month of the program launch) Well, if they move up the tiers and then get a creator code, they can still use that same code, or they could choose a new one.

Currently, I want to do this test to see what happens. Who knows, in the future, we run this campaign again if it is successful. But until I see something and I have an understanding of the data, I can’t say what was going to happen.

13. What advice would you give to aspiring creators who would want to be a part of something like the Supercell Creator program? 

Rick: Meet the minimum thresholds, get inside, and start to learn. Grow your business, grow your followers, and just enjoy it. I think the main thing is that you have to enjoy it. Don’t just chase the fame. If you thoroughly enjoy content creation and you want to make that into a business, Supercell can be your home for that. This could be the place where you come to learn all that and just shoot for the stars.

Read our other Interviews here:

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