Over the last three years I've had the privilege of working with some fantastic talent but none more than the increasingly popular selection of Britain's biggest YouTube Creators, including Zoella, KSI, Tanya Burr, Ali-A, and Marcus Butler to name a few.
In an age where vloggers are fast becoming celebrities in their own right, the lines have become blurred. How can brands really benefit from working with either?
The success and failings of these campaigns have taught us so much about the way the "contentscape" is forming, in particular the importance of considering three key factors when wanting to partner and develop meaningful campaigns with these stars of YouTube:
1) A brand's needs are obviously of paramount importance in any campaign, but their expectations need to be managed from the onset. It is an agency's prerogative to ensure that when their client enters into an agreement with a vlogger they are fully aware of how to maximise this partnership, and not simply dictate to the talent what they want to be communicated. They need to incorporate what the talent themselves sees as a relevant subject for their audience.
2) Talent and their audiences are crucial to their existence. Therefore any campaign should be well planned, ensuring the content is not contrived and remains authentic. A disengaged audience can make or break the popularity of a vlogger and Creators must retain some of their editorial control in order not to alienate their community - otherwise they are at danger in becoming another Kerry Katona or Britney Spears.
3) In a world with so many brand messages you need to win the war for attention. You are no longer just competing with people that sell products & services, you are now having to constantly compete for consumers' time and attention. However audiences are conscious of product placement more than ever, and want to be entertained, not bombarded with sales.
Q. Think...when was the last time you actually watched an advert through choice?
As technology makes advertising optional for the consumer, the campaigns that will succeed are those that have a relevant and engaging story at their heart.
The key is to only ever create content that people want to watch- this is why it is integral that a talent strategy sits at the heart of your campaign planning, along with the story you intend to tell.
YouTuber Creators have become celebrities in their own right, and so partnering brands receive the attention of a truly engaged audience that can drive measurable return when correctly blended together.
Our work with National Citizen Service (NCS) is a perfect example of this, placing a not-for-profit organisation within the right environments to reach their target audience. This is not dissimilar to buying traditional media, except with the added benefit of bringing together motivated audiences that are highly targeted and measurable, unconstrained by time and cost.
The importance of using the correct social talent for a brand's target audience should never be underestimated. Audiences follow and interact with these gargantuan online personalities for the very reason they watch any piece of content, they want to be entertained, but most importantly they're accessible and relatable, something that traditional celebrities do not typically offer.