User participation brings a brand alive and in future, brand-building is going to be the domain of all instead of the purview of a few, courtesy the Internet, new media and mobile devices. That was the key insight shared by Lucas Watson, Global Vice-President, YouTube at the inaugural session of GoaFest 2012 on Friday.
“YouTube is a platform that has made it possible for people to participate in the creation of magical ideas,” Watson observed, citing a video of people from different places all over the world dancing to Lady Gaga’s tunes on YouTube, that has gone viral. “Lady Gaga spends no money on marketing. Her video has gone viral not because she is a good musician, but because she knows how to make technology work for her. All she has to do is post on her Facebook page to reach out to 50 million fans...and her YouTube video has had two million hits. Fans have built Brand Lady Gaga,” he added.
The best brands invite people to participate, and YouTube has enabled this in a way that no one even imagined 10 years ago, Watson said. As millions of people constantly watch videos, upload and download content on YouTube, capturing what life is like around the world and recording human history, brand dynamics change. Watson mentioned www.dollarshaveclub.com promoting one-dollar razors that launched with a video on YouTube. While television advertising remained primarily the domain of big corporates like Coke and Pepsi, www.dollarshaveclub.com spent $10,000 to make the video and it made such an impact in the US market that Procter & Gamble had to reduce the price of Gillette razors. “The best part about building brands on YouTube is that everyone can do it and build passionate communities for as little as $25,” Watson said.
N Rajaram, CMO, Mobile Services of Airtel, later conducted a question and answer session with Watson. To the question ‘Should TV be worried now that advertising is moving to the Internet?’, Watson said, “There is scope for co-existence. It’s a win-win scenario. People will watch what is relevant to them.” On scope of search-based marketing versus the scope of local channels, Watson said, “If I can watch you and listen to you, it is much more compelling while deciding why I should buy you.”
The audience question prize (an iPad) went to Virender Wilkhu, who asked Watson whether people could start with the intention of making a viral video. “If your objective is that, it will never succeed. The objective is to appeal to the hearts and minds of people, only then does it work,” Watson replied.