Brand Integration and Product Placement have been around for a long time. Brands have always used movies and music videos as vehicles for their product/service promotion. Bond driving a certain car, an actor wearing a particular shoe, an actress using a specific brand’s perfume..Brands have always used ploys like this to imprint an identity in the minds of the viewers.
As media started evolving and newer ones like social media started replacing the traditional ones, brands also took note and started fine-tuning their brand integration strategies accordingly. In this blog, we’ll talk about how YouTubers can get sponsorships or deals by brands. What they need to do, how they should prepare and best practices they need to follow. We’ve also given a few examples in between to give you some inspiration.
Brand integration on YouTube
I believe most of you know about popular beauty and fashion vlogger Zoella right? For those of you who don’t, she is a famous YouTuber from the US and has over 10 million subscribers to her channel! She did a series of videos for cosmetics brand Lush that helped the company get thousands of new customers! I remember reading a blog by a boutique handbag designer about this. She had written that she was surprised one day to find tons of new orders for one of her new boutique handbags; not just from the US but from across the globe. She got intrigued and did some research. She found out that the bag was actually used by Zoella in one of her videos! THAT’S THE POWER OF BRAND INTEGRATION!
There are 2 fundamental reasons why brands look to promote their products this way-
- The brand/company can leverage the audience of the creator (not just on YouTube but also on other social platforms where they are popular)
- The video content won’t look like an advertisement.
Different types of brand integration
There are different ways in which a brand can integrate its product in a YouTube video. And the sponsorship money that the brands pay to the creators usually depends on the type of integration. Here are three major types of integration:
1. In-video shout outs or mentions:
The creator will talk about the brand within the video. He/she can say something like – Check out the brand’s website link in the description below or point at an annotation of the brand’s logo within the video and link it to the brand’s website.
Here’s a great example for this kind of videos. In the video, Austin Evans mentions right at the beginning of the video that the video is sponsored by Castrol:
2. Detailed product review:
This is mostly done by brands which manufacture mobile phones or other electronic gadgets. In this kind of a video, the creator would review the product in detail.
Here’s an example:
Note: Sometimes, the creator might not like the product that he/she is reviewing. In such cases, the creator should ideally say what he/she really thinks about the product rather than blatantly lie and hide the disadvantages of the product. This will only hurt the creator in a longer run. So, when you sign a contract/deal with the brand; ensure that you explicitly mention that your review can’t be enforced by the brand.
3. Indirect promotion:
In these kind of branded videos, the creators will not explicitly mention the name of the brand or say that the video is sponsored; but they’ll use the product strategically within the video. For instance – a beauty vlogger using the products of L’Oreal.
Brand reach out strategy
Unless you’re an extremely famous YouTuber, you won’t get brand sponsorship deals frequently. So, you need to reach out to brands on your own. But you can’t blindly go and reach out to each and every brand that catches your eyes. You need to thoroughly analyze your audience and the brand, find out if there is a fit and then do the reach out. Here’s how you get started:
1. Brand research:
Two of the most common mistakes that most creators do while reaching out to brands are:
- They create a generic form template which highlights their audience, their reach etc – list down a few brands and their contact details – send out the same template to everyone
- They reach out only to bigger brands thinking that only the big boys have deeper pockets (no pun intended!)
But that is definitely not the case. Creators should also focus on smaller and niche brands that can resonate with their audience. A product that their audience would LOVE to use. And each and every email that is sent to the brands should be super-personalized. Check out the brand’s website, find out interesting stuff about the brand written elsewhere on the internet, find out if there’s a news item that is interesting about the brand (like an acquisition or a profit statement release etc) and use all such information in the Email that you send.
2. Creating proposals – Best practices to follow:
- Each and every Email should have a crisp and neat introduction about yourself. Who you are, where you’re from, how you started and where you are now.
- The Email should also explain how the brand can benefit by sponsoring the video since your audience and the brand’s are identical.
- Show them that you have a plan to make the sponsorship beneficial not just to you but also for the brand.
3. Sharing proposals:
- First step is to check out the brand’s website and look for a contact Email address or a phone number in its ‘Contact Us’ page or ‘About Us’ page.
- Read through the website to find out if they have an established process of approaching them for sponsorship. If they do; follow that. If they don’t write to the most relevant Email address you find.
- If none of the other two work, look for the right point of contact on Linkedin or Twitter and reach out.
4. Showcasing your channel’s audience:
- Create a neat and elaborate PDF document or a slide deck which showcases your audience demography (Male-female ratio of the audience, what’s the major age-group of the audience and the countries your audience is from) and send it with your Email.
- The document should also contain other important metrics like your growth forecast, audience retention & engagement, influential users in your audience etc. You can download this kind of information with the click of a button using Vidooly’s creator tool.
- If you have a personal website or a blog, embed a widget which highlights the major stats about your channel. This makes anyone visiting your website know that you’re pretty tech savvy yourself! We, at Vidooly provide free widget codes of YouTube channels that can be embedded in websites and blogs.
Alternate modes that can help
There are several sponsorship platforms online that can help you connect with brands. Famebit and Grapevine are a couple of famous names that have been helping creators get brand deals. Another interesting platform that you can try out is Grin. It can help creators grow their online influence through cross-promotion with other influencers through Shoutouts, giveaways or mentions.
We, at Vidooly are also launching our custom tool for Brands and after that; brands can find creators and creators can reach out to brands; all from within Vidooly’s dashboards seamlessly. Do keep a tab on our blogs section for an announcement on the same.
Some final words
- Brands already know that creators can benefit through the sponsorship. So, all your communications should focus on how the Brand is set to benefit through the sponsorship.
- Never feel inferior! You have a following, there are people who listen to what you say and you create quality content. You can help the brand get some extra exposure. So don’t minimize any of that.
- Don’t lose hope. Your first few attempts might not return anything. Keep trying and keep making awesome content. Bigger the following, easier it is to get sponsorship.
- Finally – NEVER reach out to a brand that you don’t believe in! Even if you’re in a crunch and money is hard to come by, such videos will only harm you in the longer run.
So what are you waiting for? Get your documents ready, do a bit of research and start reaching out to brands right now!
An online junky who can't get enough of memes, movies and music. I'm a marketing specialist at Vidooly.