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Marketing

Published July 29th 2015

Marketing: What Makes a Nearly Perfect Branded YouTube Channel?

Having a successful YouTube channel for your brand is a major win.

In the last couple of years, one brand has gone well above and beyond almost everyone else – Angry Birds.

Unfortunately for Angry Birds, they don’t sell a physical product that is easily relatable to most consumers.

Instead, we’re going to look at the next most successful YouTube channel by video view count according to Socialbakers, Red Bull:

largest audience

1.1 billion views is a lot of views, and it far exceeds other brands in the soft drink/energy drink market:

  • Pepsi has 197 million total views
  • Coke has 628 million total views
  • Mountain Dew has 33 million total views
  • Monster Energy has 121 million views, and is their most direct competitor

There’s some perspective for you: Red Bull has 1 billion more views than their most direct competition. Do you want to learn how they stomped the competition so you can do it too? Read on.


It all starts with branding

Without proper branding on YouTube your brand may as well be throwing money directly out of the window. If people don’t learn your name, your logo, and what you’re about, what’s the point?

Proper branding on YouTube serves two purposes:

  1. It lets people know who you are right away and gives you legitimacy
  2. It helps people remember who you are after the video is over

The first chance you have to get your branding right is your profile image. This will come up in searches that match your channel, and it will display just below your video in theatre and classic mode, and the bottom right during full screen at the beginning of the video.

The second place is in your header image. Red Bull take care of both easily with their logo being the profile image, and what their channel is all about, extreme sports, being the header image:

redbull header_profile

Being overt with your branding in your profile and header image is expected, and easy to do.

Branding in your videos is where it gets tricky. Red Bull have a huge advantage because of their various sponsorships across the extreme sports landscape.

Every video has a subtle/not subtle use of the Red Bull logo as their athletes are plastered in the logo.

Here’s a typical video:

Not one single second goes by without the Red Bull logo on screen.

Ok, so you can’t afford to sponsor your own flying team. Bummer.

What you can try is a simple trick that you’ll see them do at around the 46 second mark, when their logo appears in the bottom right hand corner.

It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it will help brand your YouTube videos as yours – giving your audience the chance to learn to associate your logo with your fun YouTube channel.

You can also try using the your logo:

  • as a background image on a wall
  • on the host’s shirt
  • as part of your video’s intro
  • as a larger watermark on the video

Basically, anywhere that it’s visible, but not the focus of the video. The second YouTube users feel like they’re being advertised to, rather than entertained, they’ll find their next click and leave. If none of these branding ideas work for your brand, try looking at a video linking strategy. Your goal with this will be to lead your viewers from your videos towards content that has heavier branding, or even leads them directly to sales landing pages. This can be done either in YouTube Annotations, or in the video description below your video.


Brand appropriate content that’s well organized

There’s no doubt about content being King when it comes to Red Bull’s channel.

They have chosen the perfect content for their intended audience, by going with the extreme sports angle.

Red Bull have two organizational tools that they use to help people make sense of all this craziness. Their Playlists:

red bull playlist

This is where they give their fans a chance to go into ‘couch mode’ and watch a long string of videos in a row.

Maybe the videos are played during a party, for excitement and motion while music plays, or maybe their fans are watching with their eyes avidly glued to the screen.

Either way, Red Bull have created an environment where people keep watching multiple videos for an extended period of time by building playlists around a theme.

The second way that they have organized their videos is by creating channels for specific aspects of what they do:

red bull channels

This helps them share content that they sponsor without having to add it directly to the main channel.

Most successful channels on YouTube have found success thanks to focusing on one key topic. Remember, though, that no-one is a master of everything on YouTube. Specialists thrive in their genre, and only expand once they’re clearly established.

When you’re struggling to get YouTube views, and you’re stuck at the dreaded 301+ YouTube views, don’t panic and start creating a bunch of random content and hoping it catches on.

Having these smaller channels support a larger channel can be your way to create content you’re interested in but doesn’t fit the focus of your main channel, while still benefitting your main channel.

With this you can:

  • Focus on your main channel’s content
  • Expand your reach into other topic content ideas
  • Build the main channel’s audience with the supporting channels

Red Bull was smart enough to make sure that they did not dilute the focus of their main channel and its action sports theme.

They supported it by going off into their music production and video game series, with the addition of their racing series.

Your own channel can learn from this as you focus on the content that you’re great at, and build supporting channels when you’re ready.

The last thing you want to do is be a channel that specializes in creating videos about shoes, and then start shoving your band’s music in everyone’s face.

Red Bull didn’t do it with their music production channel, and neither should you.


Looking at Red Bull’s successes on YouTube can be incredibly useful in helping your brand make the leap into next-level video marketing. What are your favorite brand channels? What difficulties have you faced? Let us know in the comments.