Even if you're a small business, don't neglect YouTube. More than ever, brand fans and loyalists are seeking out businesses on YouTube as supplemental outlets to a brand's Facebook and Twitter presences. Consequently, the video-sharing site has proven hugely profitable for many companies.
Want to get in on the action? Here are eight examples of successful branding via YouTube.
1. Tap into today's humor
Maybe you're thinking this video is just like any old taxidermy commercial, right?
To use a line from Chuck Testa—NOPE! The follow-up "Kids React" video asks, "The people who made this commercial, do you think they were aware that they were making a normal commercial?" Believe it or not, those kids picked up on the humor Chuck Testa and his dead animals were trying to communicate.
The commercial's director accomplished three things: 1) He exploited the odd subject of taxidermy; 2) He exploited Chuck Testa's dry humor; 3) He translated both into today's recognizably ironic humor. Remember that humor changes with the decades. What was funny 20 years ago likely won't produce the same belly laugh today.
2. Make it unrelated...sometimes
If your visual content is compelling enough, consider tacking it onto a product or service that isn't necessarily related.
This ad matches an adorable girl's wacky dance to a Samsung Galaxy 580 phone. The connection lies in the campaign—Samsung selected something celebratory and joyous to reflect its gadget release. Sometimes just feeling an emotion tells you everything you need to know about a product.
3. Tell a story
Taking a cue from Orbit's "Dirty Mouth" campaign, the Orabrush's tongue mascot tempts crassness. But you have to keep watching to find out how...
Sometimes telling a story in your YouTube ad campaign can be quite effective, especially when a cliffhanger or surprise is involved. If successful, fans might tune in further for future episodes starring that giant tongue man—or a character of your choosing.
4. Make it interactive
This video is considered one of the most effective ad campaigns on YouTube. Not only does the video allow you to choose your own adventure, but its main character interacts with a White-Out ad outside of the video's dimensions.
Consider embedding links in your video that take the viewer to your social network presences or website. The longer you keep the viewer engaged, the more memorable your product will be.
As mentioned earlier, consider making your YouTube videos interactive. One of today's hot marketing tactics involves gamification.
At the end of this ad, Bic encourages the viewer to perform her own curling. You can choose to curl by either punching the space bar or by waving your arms in front of a webcam. (I may have failed at the latter method, though).
6. Send a message
YouTube doesn't always necessitate DIY home videos à la Jackass. Sometimes the most effective videos are ones that strike an emotional chord or call attention to an important issue. If your small business is a non-profit or has a grassroots component, take a tip from this powerful PSA from the R-Word organization, whose straightforward mission is powerfully communicated via this YouTube video.
7. Vary the delivery
This Google ad's only audio is music, which forces the viewer to read in order to comprehend the message. If you think about it, Google search is all about reading anyway, so the ad makes perfect sense.
Similarly, if your product or service involves music, make music the central focus of the audio experience. If you want viewers to salivate over your restaurant's pizza, zoom in to its bubbling, sizzling cheese. I want a slice already!
8. Go viral
This is perhaps the most difficult marketing strategy to accomplish; however, everyone's trying to do it.
Today's consumer loves quirk, something different that he can catchphrase or hashtag. DirecTV's "Opulence, I Has It" commercial created a viral following. People not only started repeating the slogan, but literally took to the Web in search of pygmy giraffes. Solid gold (pun intended).
The trick is finding that wacky hook that will turn your campaign viral. It's difficult to predict, and oftentimes, all it takes is a combination of luck and a stellar social distribution network.