Communicate with your customers, not at them

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YouTube is finally attempting to solve their problem of creating revenue. “Brand Channels” gives marketers a platform to try and broadcast their message to the YouTube community. The brand channels are a lot like a MySpace page, see the Paris Hilton channel for a great example.
There is a post from AdAge on marketing to YouTube users that was written by Chad Stoller from Organic. In the post Chad lays out 6 ideas for marketing on YouTube with the overall goal of creating an authentic connection to the community. Here are the 6 ideas.
Secure your brand channel.
Respect “tribute-ors.”
Put it all out there.
Haters hate.
Reward loyalists.
Have fun.
There’s a couple of ideas in there that I don’t exactly agree with and here is why.

Secure your brand channel and make it a destination. Brand channels offer a bit of a “safe haven” on YouTube, allowing you to have moderate control of your message and providing a platform for telling your story. A good example is Warner Bros. Records’ Paris Hilton Channel. (In the spirit of full disclosure, Organic was the agency that arranged for Fox Broadcasting Co.’s show “Prison Break” to sponsor the Paris Hilton Channel in its first week.)

The problem I have is the suggestion of having control over the message. This is the exact thing that we are trying to get away from as we slowly adapt from push marketing to pull marketing. Consumers are progressing to the point where they no longer will accept marketers pushing or controlling the message. I do understand where Chad is coming from here but I would advise that you communicate with consumers, not communicate at them, which is essentially what controlling the message is. Instead, I would suggest letting the audience participate and help build the channel which includes them helping with content creation.

Put it all out there. Remember, YouTube is the de-facto research for TV spots and video content. Make sure that you are well represented. Did you have a celebrity spokesperson for a campaign? Put some footage of the shoot or an interview up.

Again, if the goal here is to create an authentic connection why would you opt for a celebrity spokesperson? Do you really think it’s possible for consumers to have a genuine connection with a celebrity personality? Instead I would suggest using someone that is real. If you use someone that fits your target demographic there is a much better chance of that connection being made. I’m sorry, but I cannot have an authentic connection with Paris Hilton. The best example of doing some of these things in a “pull” marketing fashion is what Apple has accomplished over the last few years, from the success of it’s iPod line of mp3 players to it’s more recent advertisements of Macs vs. PCs.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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