Much like Facebook where brands host their own pages to serve as a community platform for users to congregate and interact with the brand, marketers are using YouTube to host individual brand ‘channels’. These channels can take a brand from being unidimensional, as presented in advertisements, to being fleshed out personalities with varied content. Four experts tell us how this ‘channel’ can be best utilised
Content must be unique and share-worthy
Customer care associate & senior vice-president, marketing & loyalty, Shoppers Stop
The common practice has been to create offline content (mainly for television) and then convert it into online content to be used for digital media, such as YouTube. That is the first and possibly the greatest mistake every marketer makes. YouTube is a medium of pull, in that the consumer voluntarily decides to consume it. Television, on the other hand, is a medium of push. The marketers choice of content to be used on YouTube must be guided by this insight. Also, it needs to be remembered that no one comes to YouTube to see branded content in other words, advertisements. Viewers need something that they like, and only then will they comment on it, discuss it and share it on their social network pages. Simply put, the content that a marketer puts out on his YouTube channel must be unique, created primarily for the medium and share-worthy. For instance, at Shoppers Stop we have created a series of 25 videos we call the how-to series.
These videos teach a consumer how to knot a tie in different ways or how to apply makeup or how to dress for a party. We have released 13 of the intended 25 videos so far, and have seen five times increase in the engagement metrics. Based on how you define it, these metrics can be an effective way of understanding the efficacy of the medium. The shares, views and likes are one way. Another would be the usage of annotations. Going back to the how-to series example, we link each of the videos to a relevant link on our e-commerce portal. So a viewer watching a video on dressing for a party can use the annotation to look at various options of partywear on our portal.
In order to get greater bang for the buck, consider combining the offline and online mediums. We ran a print ad in a general interest newspaper a few days ago. We provided a QR (quick response) through which readers could scan and watch behind-the-scenes videos. This ups the consumers engagement with the brand. You need to keep up a steady stream of content for the user to keep coming back to you.
This brings up the question of cost. Making a television commercial is extremely expensive, both in terms of production and airing costs. Look for out-of-the-box ideas. For instance, we went to a television serial producer instead of an advertising agency to get our 25 videos shot. And the cost for these 25 videos was a fraction of that of shooting a television commercial.
Dont keep looking for a masterpiece to upload
CEO, Ignitee Digital
Roughly 80-90 per cent of the total users on internet are using YouTube. It is, therefore, an apt medium for most categories, especially the advertised categories like fast moving consumer goods, auto, education, entertainment, media etc. Only some niche categories like high end vacation providers or luxury yacht sellers may find the medium too mass.
The first thing that brands wishing to get on YouTube must do is check the seriousness of their intent with regard to the medium. Get on to it only if you can sustain it and if you have an annual plan and are not planning to use it as a tactical, stopgap move. There are too many channels on YouTube today with brand content that was updated almost a year back and has had no activity since then. Make sure you have a content strategy in place for the channel.
The nature of digital media is not to judge content as good or bad. There is no such thing as perfect content. Don't keep looking for that elusive masterpiece of a video to upload on your channel. You need to keep putting up content consistently that engages either with the zone your product operates in or a passion point with the consumers. An example of the former would be a hair care product uploading videos related to grooming; an example of the latter would be Samsonite (a luggage brand) using cricket to connect with its users.
YouTube users are not necessarily looking for high-definition (HD) content. They are used to content shot on handheld cameras, is user generated and, at times, low on production values. They are watching videos for the content and nothing else. This insight will go a long way in knowing that you dont have to keep waiting for a specific quality of work. This has cost benefits too. The budget for a single television commercial can generate content for your YouTube channel for a year. And result in greater consumer engagement.
Innovate without being intrusive
Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Godrej Properties
More than 50 per cent of our population is under 25 years and 65 per cent of the population is under 35. By 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years. Given the young demographics, its imperative that the brands universe is optimised to engage and cultivate the audience on online platforms. Fortunately for marketers, in the online space there is clear demarcation on the usage of content, thus one can use each of the platforms differently to leverage its strength. Further, the media allows for cross-integration, thereby maximising reach and visibility.
Motion graphic representation of products and services on an online platform is a must these days to establish a products unique selling propositions, brand values and campaign activations.
For us, YouTube plays a very important role in the overall social media mix. The project walkthroughs help customers to visualise and experience an upcoming project. It also helps us reach NRI customers who can experience a project without having to physically visit the project site. Our YouTube page also act as a medium for our audience to get directly in touch with our sales representatives.
We use YouTube to showcase all the activities that we undertake as a brand. GPL as a brand focuses a lot on culture through art, theatre, sports and music. We ensure all of the events which we support are on our Youtube page.
A marketer needs to constantly converse with his audiences online. If not done with rigour and discipline, it can become the biggest pain point. Innovative content and having something new on the social media platform almost every day is something which will keep the brand alive on online platforms.
Brands have started using the YouTube platform for advertising, which is paid advertising. However, one should ensure its not intrusive to the intuitive usage of the audience. Without being intrusive if you can innovate and engage, thats what will get the brand maximum stickiness and recall.
Cross-linking is a must
President, Marketing, Cafe Coffee Day
Fundamentally, everything that one is trying to achieve in the digital space revolves around the need to drive customer engagement. We are still stuck in a phase where likes or fans are being used as the main parameters for judging the success of a brands digital presence. But with time, I believe, digital will evolve into a platform to drive more behavioural changes via options like couponing.
With regard to YouTube, the rise of the medium can be attributed mainly to the visual shift in our preferences. Visual content like still images and videos find maximum resonance with consumers today. And of the two, videos elicit a better response. YouTube channels give marketers exciting opportunities to build a universe of content around brands. For instance, for us at Cafe Coffee Day, it could be a glimpse into how our cafes look, how coffee, or any other drinks for that matter, is made, etc. The content can be designed to effect a positive shift in the perception of the brand, by giving a 360-degree view of the brand experience.
The operative element in the YouTube channel is content. Being clear of ones purpose for being on YouTube can go a long way in choosing the right content. It can, however, get difficult to churn out content regularly. We are a brand not a production house. Crowdsourcing content to a certain extent is a must. Of course, you would have to put in place checks and balances to monitor the content being sourced and to check if it fits your brands positioning. Co-creation is a positive fallout and gives consumers a sense of brand ownership.
As for frequency, the thumb rule is to let content drive the frequency and not the other way around.
Finally, one must remember that no platform works in isolation in the social media space because the user is not restricted to any single platform. The same user is on Facebook, on Twitter and on YouTube. Cross-linking and cross-promoting all your content is a must. That completes the digital cycle of engagement.