Branding yourself as an Exercise in Brand Building on YouTube

Brand building on YouTube uses the blended communication mediums of video, audio, graphics and text. It can be difficult to take something as complicated as a business and present an image that people can relate to. So don’t. Instead, take a person, either a community manager, the owner or a charismatic employee, or even a new mascot, and brand them along with your YouTube channel.

Brand building on YouTube with a human touch

Branding yourself alongside your business gives people something they can relate to. A business is not a person. People have an easier time identifying with a person than a logo, catchphrase, or faceless text.

On YouTube, it is easier for someone to want to go back and watch videos starring ‘Kevin from Company X,’ than it is to watch videos that are just branded as ‘Company X.’ A personal connection is always your goal with online marketing, presenting a person as the face of your company on YouTube helps build that one to one connection.

Effective brand building with a reputable person

So, who are you going to hire to be the face of your company on YouTube? Having the right answer for this is important. Is the summer intern the right person? Likely not, you’re going to want someone that people can trust. Having the voice of your company say ‘Hi, they don’t pay me for this,’ is not the image you want to present.

Brand building in this instance involves trust building. Who at your company is trusted? Does your CEO have time? A president or some other high ranking person? If not, you’re going to have to either hire someone from outside the company who is an industry expert, or find someone within your company with sufficient brand knowledge that can do a great job.

The alternative to building trust in a single person

A recent trend in social media has been to create an identity that can be taken on by several people, rather than it being just one person. This is mainly done by companies with blogs and online complaint forums.

A persona will be invented in the form of either photo of an actual person that is used by everyone who uses that account, or some sort of animated character. This tactic is used by very large companies who can not possibly have one person managing all of their social media accounts, but who wish to provide a common contact ‘person’ for all of their online activity.

The concept follows on the idea of a company mascot. It isn’t new, but what people are doing with them now is. For some ideas on the mascots that click, check out this Mashable article on the Top 10 online mascots.

How this translates to YouTube can be tricky given the nature of video and audio being hard to hide behind, unlike with a blog. There are a few ways to go about this. My favorite, and perhaps the most well known, is the travelocity Gnome. This little mascot can be found all over the Travelocity website, in their commercials, on their social media sites, and he goes great with YouTube videos as he is cast in locations around the world. YouTube is, infact, where the Gnome made his debut in a series of viral videos back in 2004. Almost 10 years later, I still remember them!

There is a playlist of videos starring the Roaming Gnome on the Travelocity YouTube page that you can check out. Here he is in a video that my Canadian raised self can identify with:

Here he is trying to get people to sign up for the mobile app on the homepage:

Roaming Gnome

The Roaming Gnome is an importnat brand building icon for Travelocity

Here he is telling people about his visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Facebook:

roaming gnome

Photo taken from the Travelocity Facebook page:











This is one of the best examples of an online/social media mascot branding a business and being used effectively as more than a marketing tool – he’s a point of contact for online users and he isn’t even real!

Your brand building options on YouTube

To break it down into the basics, here are the ways that you can brand yourself to brand your business on YouTube:

  • Having the President/CEO/prominent employee be the face of your company
  • Hiring on a community manager who is an expert in the field
  • Creating a persona that is used across several social media platforms, and across different branches of your same company

Take a look at the needs of your YouTube marketing plan, the size of your company, and your goals to figure out which of the above three options works best for your brand building exercises on YouTube.

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