Solomon’s session kicked off with a performance (above) by YouTube sensation Marquese Scott, a hip-hop and dubstep dancer who has collaborated with brands including Peugeot, Audio Technica and Coca-Cola.
Solomon’s soft sales pitch used YouTube’s success as a backdrop. This includes 6 billion hours of content viewed every month on the video platform, 1 billion unique visitors, 100 hours of content uploaded every minute and one-fifth of all internet data traffic. Phew.
“YouTube is the new water cooler, and it is where today’s culture is created,” Solomon said nonchalantly. The former academic psychologist attributed this to YouTube’s interactive capabilities: Users talk back to creators, who then respond via comments.
“Unlike television, YouTube is about two-way communication, and digital natives are hyper engaged and hyper connected across several devices,” he said. All this makes the platform one of the most powerful means of communication in the world. “It has changed the boundaries of what is possible in creative media.”
Collaboration is key
But for marketers to make the most of this, he emphasised the need to collaborate with content creators. Here’s why: They know how to create breakthrough experiences across screens, they tell authentic stories in ways that aren’t possible in other mediums, and finally they allow time and space for users to discover their stories.
“They are the influencers in that space and have insanely loyal fan bases,” he said. Creators like Marquese Scott understand that YouTube provides the greatest degree of creative freedom and control of any medium, Solomon stressed.
Content creation versus content curation
Some brands have started to understand this. These are the brands that are creating content, curating content and collaborating with creators.
An obvious example of content creation is Red Bull, a brand that creates content that goes well beyond the product. In October 2012, Felix Baumgartner jumped from a balloon, marking the highest freefall in human history. He also became the most watched live stream in the history of YouTube, responsible for 7.4 per cent of the entire global internet bandwidth at one time. Red Bull became more than an advertiser: it became a content creator, going well beyond the product to deeply engage with its fans on a global stage, Solomon said.
Camera company GoPro has also become an expert content curator. GoPro’s YouTube channel houses enviable video content. In fact, every two minutes a new piece of GoPro-created content is uploaded on the video platform. Importantly, Solomon revealed, about 80 per cent of those videos are user generated. Today, the brand has more than 205 million video views on You Tube, helping GoPro become the fastest-growing camera company in the world. “They built the business faster than possible through the power of creation,” Solomon quipped.
Solomon believes the creative possibilities through collaboration are endless. There are more than 1 million official YouTube creators, representing 30 countries in the world, several from Asia-Pacific. “This is the time to start collaborating with the stars who live our platform and who can integrate their talents with your brand story in authentic, meaningful ways.”
How does your brand stack up?
Finally, brands can have several different types of relationships with consumers: from existing to being known for something and all the way to forgiveness and advocacy. Solomon asserted that thanks to YouTube, a brand can move up this arc on its terms.
Brands don't sell brands. People sell brands. -Eric Solomon/Youtube- #SpikesAsia— Ayoung Seok (@ddolsay) September 16, 2013