The future of branding is a six-second video

If you really want to reach people, think like a vlogger or a Viner.

VlogBrothers is a popular YouTube channel created by novelist John Green (right) and his brother Hank Green.
VlogBrothers is a popular YouTube channel created by novelist John Green (right) and his brother Hank Green.

Dear marketers, throw out your big budget campaigns, carefully crafted scripts, and celebrity ambassadors. If you really want to reach people, think like a vlogger or a Viner.

YouTube videos and six-second Vines are the future of marketing, said Niche co-founder Rob Fishman at SXSW Interactive on Saturday. Niche, a startup that connects advertisers with social media stars, was acquired by Twitter last month for at least $30 million.

Nontraditional forms of advertising are taking precedent as people spend less time in front of TVs and more time with their mobile phones, Fishman explained. But Vine and YouTube stars also have more influence among a younger generation of consumers, who crave emotional connections.

"Emotional connection is the new definition of quality [in content]," said Jeremy Welt, SVP of marketing for Maker Studios, a network of social media content creators that was bought by Disney last year.

"What it means to be a star or celebrity has changed," he added. "People care about who they can connect with."

More brands are embracing this shift and reimagining their approach to marketing. For example, Coca-Cola teamed up with Vine creators such as Brent Rivera for its #ShareACoke campaign. HP also turned to Viners to promote its new tablet last year.


One word of advice though: brands that want to work with vloggers or Viners "have to let go," said Welt.

Like Niche, Maker helps social media stars, particularly on YouTube, partner with brands and turn their creative hobbies into paying jobs. Welt said these partnerships don’t work out when brands aren’t willing to listen to the creators and be more flexible.

"Don’t just hire the creators but think like them," Welt urged the audience. He said HP’s campaign was a success because the company wasn’t too prescriptive when approaching the Viners, allowing their creativity to flourish as long as they incorporated the brand's main theme.

John Green, a novelist and co-creator of the popular VlogBrothers channel on YouTube, said it best in a video by Maker about the vlogging world:

"You can’t understand it from the outside. You have to get in and be part of it."

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