Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to attend a mass social networking event in New York City, at Madison Square Garden. It’s focus was to promote and celebrate the content creators of Youtube, the many benefits advertising on Youtube, and the value of creating partnerships with Youtubers, as well as finding an engaging audience, and creating a strong brand. This event was known as #Brandcast, and gathered together a massive community of advertisers, marketing heads and CEOs of brands (including Toyota, Nintendo, Universal Studios, Buzzfeed, Activision, Sharpie and more), Youtube content creators, Youtube executives, Google executives, and fans. It was one of the most unique events I have ever attended, and I thought it would be one that would be amazing to share with you all, as we are all students in a program that focuses on the power of Social Media, and how it can benefit so many different companies, brands, advertisers, and people across the globe.
While it was not possible for us to directly speak with any of the presenters or attendees, that did not take away from my experience at all, and the knowledge I ended up walking away with. At #Brandcast, I listened to presenters like the president of marketing at Universal Studios, Josh Goldstine, the chief executive officer of Youtube, Susan Wojcicki, and content creators such as Grace Helbig, John Green, and Justine Ezarik. The most fascinating presentation, in my opinion, came from Ze Frank, who is the president of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures. He discussed the early days of what we know as “viral content”, what it means, how to judge the kind of content that spreads “virally” in our society, how we can use that to enforce branding, and the results of that kind of spreadable content. He used an excellent example with an email chain that went viral between Buzzfeed creator, Jonah Peretti, and an unnamed sneaker manufacturer. That viral email chain landed Jonah and the CEO of the sneaker company on national television, debating the controversy that is sweatshop labour. He then went on to entertain the idea of why? Why do some things get shared so much with other people? What makes a certain piece of content more spreadable than others? He breaks it down to what people are saying when they share the content online. Some people share because it relates to them, and refers to them as “identity shares.” Some people share because it inspired them, and refers to these people as “emotionally gifting.” And finally, the people that share it because they believe it will inform others, and refers to it as “social information.”
All of the presenters provide some really incredible information on the topic of advertising, content creating and how they go hand in hand with each other, as well as the successes and benefits of this partnership. I highly recommend, if you have some spare time, to check out some of these presentations for yourself, as Youtube has graciously uploaded a couple of them to their Advertising channel. I’ll provide the links to the videos below. They’re about 10 minutes long each, so they won’t take out a massive chunk of your time.
No matter which presenter you listen to, they all the enforce the idea of a strong community behind them, that’s dedicated to their content. This is the most important factor of finding success as a brand, as a content creator, and as an advertiser. This is the strongest, and most valuable piece of information I have walked away with from this presentation, as without your audience, and a dedicated one at that, you are essentially nothing. Grace Helbig provides the greatest example of this in her opener for #Brandcast, stating her fears when she branched away from original platform to Youtube, as her own brand of content creator. She had no idea how dedicated her audience actually was to her, as Grace. But, luckily for her, her audience was passionate about the content she was putting out, and she was able to build up a name for herself once again, and achieve success on Youtube and beyond. Expanding on that idea, knowing who your audience really is is of the utmost importance, as the results may truly surprise you. We go through the importance of knowing your audience in this certificate program already, but Justine’s presentation enforces this point even more. She covered the gaming portion of #Brandcast, as Let’s Players have essentially dominated the Youtube scene these days, thanks to the popularity of creators like PewDiePie. The stigma behind video games and gamers is that they are young, adult males. However, Justine states that adult, female gamers have overpowered this stereotype, and are, in fact the largest demographic watching video game content on Youtube. Take notes, video game corporations.
I would love to attend an event like this in the future. Heck, I would go to #Brandcast again next year, if I’m in the New York City area, and they’ll let me. Not only did I walk away with some valuable information up my sleeve in regards to the power of marketing and online advertising with Youtube and the power of viral content, I also got to enjoy some incredible entertainment from the likes of Nate Ruess, Alyson Stoner, and Bruno Mars. Oh yeah.
To send this post off, I’d like to leave a quote from Justine that I thought was extremely powerful, well-spoken and a perfect summary of what it means to be in the world of online marketing today:
“I want you guys to remember the reason that this community is so strong on Youtube. It’s because you cannot find this content on TV. Gaming is fundamentally interactive, and only interactive platforms, like Youtube, can deliver the experience gamers want.”- Justine Ezarik
I feel this quote represents far beyond the gaming community. Interactivity is the basis of all online marketing nowadays, and social media platforms are the most valuable tools a brand can utilize in today’s society. The conversation people can have on a Youtube video, on a post sharing a Youtube video on a platform like Facebook or Twitter is so important to the reach an advertiser and brand can have. If you keep this interactivity and conversation in mind, I strongly believe that anyone can find success online.
Thanks for reading.