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YouTubers are always innovating in the ways they can
interact with brands, and brands are encouraged to innovate in the ways they work with YouTubers. The kind of
content that is made in brand integration deals changes
quickly because of the evolving space, the acclimation of
talent to working with brands, and changing tastes on the

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  3. 3. WHY BRAND INTEGRATION ON YOUTUBE? YOUTUBERS ARE WAITING FOR YOU BRAND AWARENESS YOUTUBERBRAND YouTubers want to work with brands. At major conventions like VidCon and Playlist Live, an ongoing theme of panel discussions feature elite YouTubers, and representatives from Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs) talking about the brand integration deals they have done. In the audience are smaller YouTube channels eager to rise through the YouTube ranks and make it big enough for a brand to want to work with them. Working with brands is a badge of honor for many channels, especially those who have their sights set on becoming professional YouTubers. Many channels have joined MCNs, where they are groomed on how the business of being a YouTuber works, all in the hopes of making brand deals easier to come by. A common example of this training is learning about how to make brand safe content. Channels even make sure to include a business e-mail in their About tab on YouTube so that if a brand does find their video, making contact is easy. All of this translates into an army of YouTubers, already talking about products, ready and willing to talk about yours. Brand integration is when a brand pays to be part of some- one else’s content. Brand integration deals are popular for boosting awareness, sentiment and engagement with a brand. Brand integration is also a good tactic for brands that aren’t used to doing their own production, brands with niche products, brands looking to expand their audiences, tap into new markets, drive traffic to their own channels, or associate themselves with being cool and forward thinking. 1 WHAT IS BRAND INTEGRATION?
  4. 4. #3 CUSTOM CONTENT 5 TYPES OF BRAND INTEGRATION DEALS ON YOUTUBE 1 When your brand sells products that a certain community on YouTube naturally talks about, this integration works very well. The YouTuber will include your product, cover details about your product, and frequently links to buy said product or coupon codes for said product, in a video with other, unsponsored products. YouTubers are always innovating in the ways they can interact with brands, and brands are encouraged to inno- vate in the ways they work with YouTubers. The kind of content that is made in brand integration deals changes quickly because of the evolving space, the acclimation of talent to working with brands, and changing tastes on the platform. These 5 examples are intended to serve as guidelines, and are structured on a scale from easiest to most challenging to pull off successfully. work with products that the brand sells. They usually manifest in the creative by the YouTuber saying some- thing very similar to, “This video is sponsored by/brought to you by Netflix/Audible/etc.” Audible does a lot of these kinds of deals, which resemble something between sponsorships and product mentions. Audible doesn’t have a script that must be followed by everyone, but most YouTubers will mention similar things about the brand. They will talk about an audiobook they like at the moment, show the link to nelname and mention that if a user signs up for Audible through that link, they get their first audiobook for free. MentalFloss, a fact show hosted by John Green, is frequently sponsored by Audible in this manner. #1 THIS VIDEO BROUGH TO YOU BY... #2 PRODUCT MENTION The Travalo perfume atomizer is a great example of product mentions on YouTube. The example video above is from the channel From Head To Toe. She includes a link for 20% off a purchase from Travalo in the description and includes a disclaimer saying, “Thanks to Travalo for providing the perfume atomizer in this video!” These kinds of videos will start costing more for brands because they require more work from YouTubers. Brands hire a YouTuber to do both the development and produc- tion of a video, in their own style, expressly for your brand. Custom content can range from a video devoted to your brand, to remixing branded content, to a whole series of videos. General Mills has had a great YouTube strategy for a while now, and they are only getting more acclimated to every- thing the platform is capable of, including custom content. On the ZEFR Blog, we have posted about their owned media, with regards to their Cheerios ads, twice. In addition to their prowess in creating and posting videos to their own channels, General Mills has worked with A Brand can sponsor a video, especially if it is a video that targets the audience the brand wants, but doesn’t actually Click play to watch any video! 2
  5. 5. #5 PRODUCT DESIGN YouTubers that work in the product space have started to team up with brands to work on product design. One nota- ble example of this is the Bethany Mota collection for Aeropostale. Aeropostale is a clothing brand that caters to the same demographic as Bethany Mota’s, aka MacBar- bie07, audience. In a deal between the two of them, Betha- ny Mota was brought on to help design and curate a collec- tion she thought her fans would like. This deal, in addition to being a multi-platform campaign, involved quite a bit of work in the physical world, including a bus tour. Bringing YouTubers into more traditional elements, like product design, or, if you work in media, putting them as guests on traditional shows, has happened a handful of times. StyleHaul had 5 of their top Beauty Gurus on Sisters Tracy and Stefanie of EleventhGorgeous, a channel signed with StyleHaul, did a multi-platform campaign with Secret Deodorant, including videos on their own channels, being part of 30-second spots for Secret’s channel, posting to their Instagram, a takeover of Secret’s Instagram and a photo contest to send the pair of them to the winner’s city/hometown for a 48-hour adventure. YouTubers in brand integration deals to expand their branded video and reach new audiences. They worked with John D. Boswell’s channel melodysheep, with MCN Machinima, to remix older Lucky Charms commercials into something new. The resulting video caters to Boswell’s audience of remix fans while also serving as a contemporary, yet timeless, piece of branded content for Lucky Charms. The video has 1.3 million + views. Chief Marketing Officer for General Mills noted that this collaboration drove a 42% sales lift in a week for Lucky Charms. #4 MULTI-PLATFORM CAMPAIGN These require more time and effort from YouTubers because they not only open up their YouTube channels for a brand to get a spot, but they take up space their other social networks too. These kinds of deals might include Instagram photos, tweets, and status updates. They could require videos existing on more than one YouTube channel, like a main channel, a vlog channel, and a brand’s channel. These might even include making television spots as well as YouTube videos. Neff, Jack. "How General Mills Is Creating a Content Factory." AdAge, April 1, 2014. (accessed April 2, 2014). 1 TRY THIS DEAL IF... ...if you are new to brand integration deals on YouTube, want to work easily with multiple YouTubers, or if what you sell is more of a service than a tangible good. THIS VIDEO BROUGHT TO YOU BY1 ...if what you sell is a tangible good that has a community on YouTube like, food, beauty, fashion, sports, video games, books, film and tv. These work best for seasonal products at a good price. PRODUCT MENTION2 ...if you are willing to spend a bit of money and your brand is looking for content that is more evergreen. These kinds of videos are likely to get discovered by someone searching for your brand. CUSTOM CONTENT3 ...if you are willing to spend money on your YouTube strategy and are targeting an audience tied to a particular personality and want your campaign to span over a longer period of time. MULTI-PLATFORM CAMPAIGN4 ...if you think that a YouTuber’s style and taste is so compelling that bringing them in to make an impact on production will make the products better. PRODUCT DESIGN5 Project Runway, and Michelle Phan worked with L’Oreal Group to develop her own line of makeup. While YouTubers are starting to fully develop merch strategies, others are going into the product business by starting their own lines. And, an elite few are working with established brands and making decisions about products and impacting final cuts of media. 3 1
  6. 6. WHAT DO YOUTUBERS THINK OF BRAND INTEGRATION? 2 YouTubers want to do brand integration deals, but only if they are excited about both the brand and the deal presented to them. Brand integration deals are one of the revenue streams that an increasing amount of YouTubers are choosing to do, and getting the opportunity to do. While not all brand integrations have gone easily, as evidenced by a panel at VidCon 2013 called “The Art of Saying No” where players in the space detailed some of the rockier brand integration deals they had done or brokered, many result in lasting relationships between YouTubers and Brands. In Frontline’s most recent documentary on media culture, Generation Like, teenagers are asked to define the term “selling out” to no avail. Where previous generations were concerned with working for “The Man” or losing a sense of identity, branded culture is increasingly incorporat-ed into identity. This is not to say that working with brands is always seen as a positive. Authenticity to one’s personal brand is still vital when doing brand integration deals, because ultimately a brand is buying the audience of someone else’s brand. Only a small part of the engagement that follows is between the audience and the sponsor. It is so much work for a YouTuber to build up their personal brand, and to decide what works and doesn’t work for their channel, that to risk their hard earned and engaged audience for a brand that comes across as anything other than natural is seen as a bad business move. Tyler Oakley, currently signed to Big Frame, has worked with brands like Pepsi, MTV, Taco Bell, E!, NBC, Warby Parker, Virgin Mobile, and Audible. Once one brand got involved with him, others followed suit, but for Oakley, he won't work with just any brand. He spent years building up his personal channel to what it is today and knows that the whole YouTube community has done the same. Nikki Phillippi is a Beauty Guru who likes brand integra- tions when they are for products she already knows and likes. If she is unfamiliar with a product, she requests that the brand send her a product to try and then makes a determination about working with the brand. She says she turns down about 90% of the brand integration deals that make it to her inbox. [Nikki Phillipi] says she turns down about 90% of the brand integration deals that make it to her inbox. INGRID NILSENT Y L E R O A K L E Y FLEUR DE FORCEAMANDA STEELE ...many brand integration deals result in lasting relationships between YouTubers and brands. Tyler, Oakley. "On Working With Brands." Meet Tyler Oakley, YouTube’s Self-Proclaimed “Peter Pan”. PBS Frontline February 18 2014. Web, 4 2 Nikki, Phillippi, " What Is A YouTuber?! =)," Web, 3 2
  7. 7. Fleur De Force, another StyleHaul Beauty Guru, spoke briefly on the subject of brand integration for her million- aire’s interview with Tubefilter. When asked how she chooses what brands to work with she responded, “It’s not really a decision, I just know which brands I like, and natu- rally talk about anyway. If a brand approaches me that doesn’t ‘fit’ into that, then it’s clear that it’s not a natural collaboration.” At VidCon 2013, Kassem G, Philip DeFranco and representatives from MCNs did a panel called “The Art of Saying No” in which they cautioned YouTubers about brand integration deals, and some of the red flags in deals. If brands give shot lists or scripts up front in either ideation or development, it is a sign that the brand is not ready for the platform and won’t be easy to work with. YouTubers caution against brands who treat YouTubers like actors for hire, because working with brands that don’t understand a YouTuber’s personal brand, jeopardizes that YouTuber’s audience, and by extension, that YouTuber’s ability to make money in the future. The work produced for those brands often comes off as inauthentic, and as a result, underperforms. 3 THE EASIEST POINTS OF ENTRY FOR STARTING A BRAND INTEGRATION DEAL These channels are likely still doing YouTube as a hobby. They may or may not be with an MCN, and depending on the kind of channel and aspirations of the talent, are less likely to have a traditional manager or agent. The easiest point of entry for channels in this bracket is directly going to the talent themselves. Channels at this stage are probably new to working with brands in any formal way. If there is something particularly awesome about a YouTuber, because they either already love your products or they are reaching the exact niche audience your brand caters to, then these channels would likely be flattered by your brand reaching out to them. Making deals with these channels likely occur with the individual or small production company the individual works with. There might even be a redirect to an MCN, but more on that situation in a moment. SMALL CHANNELS (0-10,000 SUBSCRIBERS) These channels are likely considering, or transitioning to, or are in the process of becoming full time YouTubers. In this bracket, many of these channels will be signed to MCNs, and the musicians, film-makers, writers, directors, producers and other more Hollywood oriented content creators are working on making a serious push towards leveraging YouTube to achieve creative and professional goals. Players in this space are going to be the YouTuber, their MCN, and potentially, traditional talent managers, publi- cists, and even talent agents. Channels of this size are beginning to seriously be approached by brands. Some- times these channels are secondary channels from personalities that have a stronger following elsewhere. The easiest point of entry for a brand looking to work with a YouTuber is likely the YouTuber themselves. From that point of contact, it is likely that as a brand, the deal will be redirected to their representation, usually the MCN if they are signed with one, as this is one of the primary func- tions of MCNs (to facilitate and broker deals between brands and YouTubers). MEDIUM CHANNELS (10,000P-100,000 SUBSCRIBERS) Channels at this point in their growth, are making money – potentially enough of it to pursue YouTube as a full time career. They understand their value to advertisers LARGE CHANNELS (100,000P-1,000,000 SUBSCRIBERS) If brands give scripts up front ... It is a sign that the brand is not ready for the platform . “ “ Fleur, DeForce. "YouTube Millionaires: Fleur DeForce Feels “Approachable And Relatable” 5 4
  8. 8. and they have cultivated a community around their chan- nel. YouTubers of this size have likely been on the platform for a while and know more about what it means to be on YouTube than most anyone else. The easiest point of entry still might be the YouTuber themselves. The chain of communication, if all of these players exist for the channel, goes as follows: publicist, MCN, manager, agent. Publicists like working with brands for the exposure. MCNs broker deals between their chan- nels and brands and have experience in the space. The talent might have a traditional manager who helps in making the best business decisions with the therightbrandfortheirchanneltobeworkingwith. The easiest point of entry might be the MCN, rather than the YouTuber level, unless the conversation is public and social. Engaging with these channels through a brand’s social media is a good first step, as is contacting their MCN if they have one (which most, but not all do), or their man- ager or publicist. There is a much higher likelihood at this point that the channel also has formal representation in the form of an agent. opportunities already presented to the talent. Those are a brand’s best secondary points of entry to working with a YouTuber. If talent has an agent, the involvement of the agency is, usually contingent upon the deal. These channels need to be won over. They are famous, have options, make money, and know their value. Even though these channels have covetable reach, it is still important as a brand to consider if they are the right chan- nels for your brand to be working with and if your brandis ELITE CHANNELS (1,000,000+ SUBSCRIBERS) 6 POINTS OF ENTRY: WHAT TO KNOW FOR THE DEAL What are they doing there? Easiest Point of Entry... What are they doing there? Easiest Point of Entry: What are they doing there? Easiest Point of Entry: What are they doing there? Easiest Point of Entry: Likely still doing YouTube as a hobby Considering or are in the process of becoming full time YouTubers. Making money and potentially pursuing YouTube as a full time career. They are famous, have options, make money, and know their value. The YouTuber themselvesThe YouTuber themselves The YouTuber themselves, their agent or manager Straight to the MCN, or with social media SMALL CHANNEL MEDIUM CHANNEL LARGE CHANNEL ELITE CHANNEL
  9. 9. “ “ 4 COMPENSATION: PRODUCT, EXPERIENCE & MONETARY Compensation for a YouTuber’s time is to be expected, and depending on the size and experience level of the channel, that compensation is most commonly in goods, experienc- es, or cash. As the platform grows and subscribership on the platform grows, it becomes easier to reach 100,000 people through a single YouTuber. It is around that mark, the 100,000 subscriber mark, where YouTubers tend to professionalize and turn to YouTube as a full time job and with that, comes the desire to make enough money to be on the platform full time. for channels that review products, and sending swag (hats, t-shirts etc.) with your logo on it is a good first step in product compensation for emerging channels. Product based compensation is discussed a bit in Generation Like by skateboarder and young YouTube prankster, Steven Fernandez from Compton, California. He talks about getting sponsored by brands. Fernandez knows getting gear from brands was a good start for him, acknowledged, that for his purposes, making a meaningful career to help support his family, he needed to be thinking beyond product compensation. Product compensation needs to be coupled with the same level of creativity that YouTube audiences have come to expect from their favorite innovators in the digital spaces, because these innovators need to be thinking about the videos they will make. Simply mailing products is a great first step to spur more media creation from fans, but there is more that can be done. Coupling product compensation with an experience makes the product more compelling. the same. In the gaming community it has been par for the course that gamers get flown to advance premieres of games, play them early and film them for their YouTube channels, but there is a push towards more than experi- ences alone. Experiences must exist along with payment, depending on the success of the channel. With experienced YouTubers who have worked with brands time and time again, the experience of getting a game early is not enough. Full time YouTubers have to pay bills and sustain their lives, which, at a certain point, requires more from sponsorship and integration, either in payment or creativity. The creativity and spontaneity of experiential compensa- tion can inspire YouTubers to film and post videos about it because it is interesting, however, part of this trade off, in spontaneity is that much of the time, YouTubers aren’t obligated to do anything. Experiential compensation works best when the YouTu- ber you are working with is genuinely a huge fan of your work/stuff/etc. Vanessa Del Muro, the Head of Talent and Channel Development at StyleHaul, commented on expe- riential compensation, noting that the more stoked an COMPENSATION Sending products for consideration is the first foray into product compensation. However, since this does not typically go through the same deal structure, as experien- tial or monetary compensation, YouTubers are not always obligated to say nice things about the products. YouTubers on the rise, in early stages of professionalizing tend to be the target audience for product based compensa- tion. Sending products for consideration is most common PRODUCT Brands have sent YouTubers to vlog from or make videos about red carpet events, sports games, conventions etc. Depending on the size of the channel, this can be in addi- tion to monetary compensation, product compensation, both, or neither. YouTubers are realizing their potential to earn money from their YouTube videos and by working with brands at an increasingly faster pace. As more YouTubers do make money, that inspires exponentially more who want to do EXPERIENCE YouTubers are realizing their potential to earn money from their YouTube videos and by working with brands at an increasingly faster pace. "Generation Like." Frontline Recorded February 18 2014. PBS. Web, 7 5
  10. 10. influencer is about the product before the deal, the more swayed they will be to do something just for the experi- ence of it. In this example, from March 2013, YouTuber The Syndi- cate Project, gets sent a countdown clock. Of course his natural reaction is to film the whole experience. When the clock goes off, a Hummer pulls up to his house, men in uniform knock on his door and he is presented with a crate. It turns out he received an experimental, working proto- type of a crowdsourced design for the ultimate gaming helmet, made by UK snack food company, Mattessons, for their product line of Fridge Raiders. is the product mention. For channels that already talk about products regularly, the mention can be a natural integration deal, and will require less work, therefore being less expensive than a single video devoted to a brand. For videos devoted to a single brand, YouTube has a suggested rate of $75-$100 CPM, which, depending on the details lands around a 10 cent CPV, $10,000 for 100,000 views on a video. This however, is a rate, assuming that the video can reach 100,000+ views, without necessarily taking into account monetizable views, complete views, or unique viewers. On the aver- age this suggested rate is also the going rate for making a video on behalf of a brand in the style of the original channel. Channels that have higher production values and require more people need to cover their production costs, whereas vloggers, with low overhead, have less to add in to that rate to cover their time and expenses. Now, just because this is the the suggested average, doesn’t mean that deals can’t be struck for more, or less, than this rate. YouTubers in high demand can command more. When paying actual money to a YouTuber for a deal, most commonly this is done at a cost-per view basis, although other arrangements can be made. Prices might also fluctu- ate depending on if the YouTuber can advertise against the sponsored video or not. The most common brand deal for products that work natu- rally with YouTuber style, according to Nikki Phillippi, MONETARY The most common brand deal for products that work naturally with YouTuber style, according to Nikki Phillipi, is the product mention. “ “ Del Muro Vanessa, (Head of Talent and Channel Development at StyleHaul), interview by Levine Meredith, March 10, 2014.6 8 6
  11. 11. MAINTAINING AUTHENTICITY WITH BRAND INTEGRATION 5 We interviewed Lisa Filipelli, VP of Talent at Big Frame, Zack Boone formerly a Senior Manager of Branded Entertainment, and Vanessa Del Muro the Head of Talent and Channel Development at StyleHaul. We asked all of them about how brands can work to maintain authenticity in the videos they sponsor, and they all said the same thing: trust the YouTubers. When it comes to ideation and development of content, forcing brand vision comes off as inauthentic, and will ultimately be less successful. Del Muro at StyleHaul said, “It is about being open and flexible and listening to what the experts have to say, because it is a little scary to enter a new space and a new environment, which YouTube is, and it really about listening.” Boone said, “Honestly, the most successful campaigns have been brands that trust the influencer and give them the freedom to make the content that they think their audiences are going to like, because at the end of the day, influencers know their audiences and brands do not. They are not paying for a commercial, so they have to give freedom to the influencer. What is really resonating with brands is advertising as entertainment. They are buying engagement and entertainment value that you can’t get with a commercial.” Filipelli noted, on the subject of making authentic branded videos,“Trustthetalent.Especiallybigbrands.The30second spot model is not the YouTube original content model.” It is easiest if Brands approach working with YouTubers the way that YouTubers approach working with each other, namely as a collaboration. It is easy to be authentic when brands are positioned as friends of the YouTuber. Many audiences acknowledge that in order for them to get the videos they love from their favorite YouTubers, those YouTubers need to be able to make a living from their videos. Thus, collaborations are generally welcomed as a result. It is also important to understand that this collaborative attitude towards brand integration deals will help steer brands out of the territory that contemporary audiences are growing to dislike, the 30 second spot. Now, commercially structured and styled content has a place on YouTube, but a personality’s channel is not it, and trying to make content that looks like a commercial often comes off as inauthentic. Every talent manager, and even President Obama knows thatinorderformessagestobesentauthentically,itisimper- ative to pick the best messengers and then trust their style. This trust is what makes brands more authentic on YouTube and prevents YouTubers from losing authenticity on the platform. PBS’s Frontline Documentary Generation Like features Douglas Rushkoff asking teenagers to define the term “selling out” and they don’t even have a frame of refer- ence for it. Working with brands can be seen as a badge of honor, a true sign of “making it,” or as a sign of weakness and “selling out” with the key distinguishing factor being how much creative control the YouTuber was given in the process. When brands give respect to influencers, audiences give respect to brands. ThereareothertacticsYouTubersusetomakebrandintegra- tions more authentic. For some, this means full disclosure. The Beauty Gurus and sisters of EleventhGorgeous do this well.Theyarealsoconscientiousabouthowfrequentlysingle branded videos appear on their channels. Sisters Tracy and Stephanie have done branded videos with the Ford Fiesta Movement, Cover Girl, Clean and Clear, Slimfast, Secret Deodorant and many others, but they are alwaysmakingcontentontheirownaswell.Asachannelthat posts three days a week and maintains secondary and tertia- ry channels, they make sure that their channel is mostly their content, with occasional branded videos. Del Muro Vanessa, (Head of Talent and Channel Development at StyleHaul), interview by Levine Meredith, March 10, 2014.7 Boone Zack, (Senior Manager of Branded Entertainment), interview by Levine Meredith, March 18, 2014.8 Filipelli Lisa, (VP of Talent at Big Frame), interview by Levine Meredith, March 10, 2014.9 9 7 8 9
  12. 12. YouTuberscertainlyaren’topposedtobeusingproductsthat also make the rounds advertising or doing brand integration deals with YouTubers outside of these deals. Fleur De Force calls this out in a haul from March 2014 where she picks up two Travalo perfume holders and says: Authenticity is also maintained when Brands call back to YouTubers. Tyler Oakley and Taco Bell have that kind of relationship. Tyler Oakley in his video titled, “Proof That I’m Actually God” from April 6, 2012, tells his audience about a tweet he sent, saying, “I’m protesting @TacoBell until they “Within 43 minutes of starting a revolution Taco Bell responded with, ‘@tyleroakley We’re coming out with a cool, new taco this summer. #HintHint’ which in turn spawned a media frenzy and then Business Insider did an article about the tweets, and the BuzzFeed did an article about the tweets, then Huffington Post did an article about the tweets. Now, I do not take credit for much, but girl, I will take credit for this.” address the absence of a Cool Ranch Doritos Taco. RT to join me - together we can demand justice.” Oakley goes on to describe his contact with Taco Bell, addressing his audience, saying: Tyler had been tweeting @TacoBell for a while before this tweet launched a relationship between Oakley and Taco Bell. Since that relationship formed, Oakley has been in videos promoting the new taco, and has gone on to do more work as a correspondent for Taco Bell. Oakley has even impacted hiring decisions. In a social media coordinator job posting from September 2013, one of the questions for prospective applicants was “Do you know who Tyler Oakley is?” Pairing a brand with a YouTuber the way that Tyler Oakley workswithTacoBellisagreattactictomaintainauthenticity. The relationship between the brand and the talent can grow, and that growth becomes part of Tyler’s life story, what his audience tunes into YouTube to see. Tyler also becomes part of Taco Bell’s story. Putting some of that call and response between YouTubers and brands out in public, on YouTube and other platforms, like Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr grow the narrative of the relationship Lisa Filipelli, Director of Talent at Big Frame noted that some kinds of YouTubers can easily do brand integrations more frequentlythanothers,saying,“Ifyouareinthebeautyspace itisaloteasiertogetawaywithbrandsandproductsbecause that is what you do, but if you are a vlogger, it is harder.” “I know Travalos did the rounds on YouTube a while ago, when they were sponsoring everybody to talk about them, they are not sponsoring me, but I just generally, think they are awesome.” “ “ 10 Filipelli Lisa, (VP of Talent at Big Frame), interview by Levine Meredith, March 10, 2014.10 9 10
  13. 13. This might be the second most important step, next to making contact because in this phase of development and goal setting the details of the deal get worked out. In pre-production, representatives from brands, ad agen- cies, PR firms, management, and potentially all of the possible players in this space get to hash out what will happen. If working with a single YouTuber that has already come on board, this includes figuring out what the video or videos will look like, along with if the talent is using other platforms for promotion. Deadlines, embargos, legal issues, and KPIs all get solidi- fied in this phase. The reporting that will be done gets established in this portion of the process. Other details to work out in pre-production are with regards to production. Should the video require work beyond that of a normal video for the channel, like travel, props, costumes, a larger production team, etc, this portion of the process hashes out those details as well. The best brands go into integra- tion deals knowing what their goals are. Whether it is to drive engagement with the video, clicks to another video/channel/offsite link, or general increased awareness from views, brands should understand where working with a YouTuber fits in with the rest of their digital strategy. Deciding what you want also includes having a sense of which YouTuber or kind of YouTuber you would like to work with. The best integrations work with YouTubers who already know and like your products, or would like your products after using/seeing/playing with them. Note: A unilateral decision about what the the video will look like, at this point, is ill advised. STEP-BY-STEP: A PROCESS FOR SUCCESSFUL BRAND INTEGRATION 6 STEP 1: DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT STEP 3: RESPONSE FROM TALENT OF 3RD PARTY STEP 2: MAKE CONTACT STEP 4: AGREEMENT, IDEATION AND PRE-PRODUCTION OUR GOALS Getting individual talent excited about working with you makes for an easier sell with the other parties involved. If you aren’t sure where else to start with regards to making contact, the individual YouTuber can be a great starting point. Making contact can be to a channel, an MCN, a talent man- ager, or other third party that facilitates meetings between YouTubers and Brands/Other YouTubers. Some- times this step results in a redirect to another party, often times to a middle person or agency who facilitates deals. This contact can also include the requests for proposals (RfP) for the integration, if the brand, or agency is shop- ping around. The initial contact can include the pitch, if looking to work with specific, individual YouTubers. If you are going through a YouTuber or their management, then the next step is hearing back from them with the level of interest from the talent. If working with a third party company instead of an individual, step 3 is the response to the RfP. We’d Love To Work With You! YouTuber Calling 11
  14. 14. After all is said and done, and the agreed upon span of the campaign has ended, the channel, MCN, agency that has control of the analytics for the channel(s) the brand worked with, will submit a final report abouttheperformanceofthevideo(s)andotheragreedupon content. Brand integration is a future proofing form of market- ing, because it doesn’t rely on increasingly skipped commercials and does help the YouTube and Online Video communities thrive and grow in a symbiotic way. Forming relationships with YouTubers is a way for brands to grow with YouTubers and audiences. The first step is to know what YouTubers are saying about your brand and then work with those that love you to amplify your brand’s presence on the platform. FINAL THOUGHTS If you decided that establishing a long term relationship with a channel is beneficial to your brand, make another deal. If you are looking to expand your audience, or reach different sets of viewers, make a deal with a different channel or set of channels. STEP 6: DISTRIBUTION STEP 7: WRAP UP AND FINAL REPORTING STEP 5: PRODUCTION STEP 8: RINSE AND REPEATYouTubers do most of their video production on their own, or with their own teams. This step is usually left up to the YouTuber. Sometimes brands get to edit the footage. Re-shooting almost never happens. If there is more than one video for a single channel, or videos over multiple channels, production might happen all at once, or over time depending on what was discussed in step 4. This usually happens on the YouTuber’s channel, after all, brands are paying to access their audiences. It is not uncommon for brands to host the video, or related videos on their own channels as well. or over time depending on what was discussed in step 4. Check Out My New Video with... 12
  15. 15. WANT TO FIND OUT MORE? CheckOutallof ZEFR’seBooks! READ ‘EM NOW! Meredith Levine is a Los Angeles based Fanthropologist. She has her M.A. from UCLA in Critical Media Studies, where she did research on the the state of fan communities within branded ecosystems. About the Author Design and Illustration by Michelle Blackshire