Often underutilized in comparison to other forms of social media, YouTube may now be a necessary platform for brands. An increasing number of companies have created YouTube channels for posting engaging consumer content. These forums often contain more than advertisements seen on TV; heavily-viewed pages include creative and entertaining videos that embody the brand personality and values. The goal is for consumers to be drawn to the videos, not happen upon or be assaulted by them. An indication of YouTube success is garnering a high number of subscribers, viewers who choose to follow and receive updates. So, what does it take to build a stand-out channel?
1. Adapt to the language and trends of the YouTube community: Blendtec
Like Twitter and Facebook posts, a brand’s YouTube content must be relevant – using the language of the platform, while incorporating viral content and digital trends. Blendtec, a blender company that has accumulated 800,000 subscribers, does this especially well. Some of its videos have 17+ million views. The channel focuses on a central theme – “Will it Blend?” – where “lab technician” Tom tests the blender on various non-food products, often relating to current events. In the wake of the Deflategate scandal, Blendtec posted: “Will it Blend? How to properly deflate a football.” When news broke that the iPhone 6 Plus was prone to bending, Blendtec posted: “Will it blend? – iPhone 6 Plus.” In addition to staying relevant, the videos showcase the blender’s abilities without looking like a dreaded infomercial. With a quirky theme and fitting humor, the Blendtec YouTube channel keeps viewers interested and returning for more.
2. Target established YouTube niche markets: Unilever
Strategic brand marketing takes advantage of YouTubers as media contacts. After all, they are video journalists, and while many have celebrity-like statuses, they are still accessible and have garnered massive, loyal followings. Unilever’s “All Things Hair” channel soared in popularity because it tapped into the established YouTube beauty community. The group is composed of self-made experts who create product review clips, along with makeup and hair tutorials. “All Things Hair” features YouTube beauty experts performing hair tutorials utilizing Unilever hair products. As part of the sponsorship deal, the experts promote “All Things Hair” on their own platforms as well. The subscribers – who relate to the YouTuber like a friend and trust her as an industry expert – make up the ideal target demographic for Unilever. Since its inception, “All Things Hair” has accumulated nearly 540,000 total subscribers and 60+ million total views across its eight country-specific YouTube pages.
3. Entertain and amaze: GoPro
A YouTube platform should embody the company’s core ideals and personality. With 3+ million subscribers and nearly 900 million total views, GoPro pulls this off remarkably. The brand is all about adventure, adrenaline and discovery. Its channel is a reflection of these values, enabling viewers to live vicariously through other GoPro users and professionals. Travel with GoPro to the African savanna to play with elephants, dive in the deep with humpback whales and soar alongside daredevils as they jump off cliffs. The page caters to current GoPro users by inspiring new adventures and showing alternative accessories to help capture them. The content caters to potential consumers by displaying the quality of GoPro videos, which speaks for itself in convincing someone to purchase.
A well-made YouTube channel helps take communication a step beyond advertising and makes a brand come to life.
– Caroline Lewis, FWV Summer 2015 Intern
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