YouTuber Alandha Scott on Great Branding and Marketing

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Alandha Scott, YouTube

Meet Alandha Scott. She is a rising star at YouTube who leads the YouTube Shows Product Marketing team. In that role, she is in charge of the marketing strategy for YouTube’s Original content which includes a Katy Perry livestream concert, originals series from Demi Lovato and Ellen DeGeneres and more. Her team is responsible for advising on show creative based on quantitative and qualitative analysis, developing the global business model and tracking show performance and viewership.

Here, Scott talks to TNJ.com about marketing campaigns, social media and successful branding.

TNJ.com: What were you doing before you joined YouTube?

Alandha Scott: I was fortunate enough to start my career at Google post college and have worked at YouTube for the last 5 and a half years. During this time, I’ve held several different roles ranging from Product to Brand Marketing. On the Brand Marketing team, I led campaigns and partnerships that demonstrated YouTube’s brand values.

One of my favorite projects was organizing a first-of-its-kind meeting with Pope Francis and 12 YouTube creators during the VI Scholars Multi-Religious World Congress. I was instrumental in bringing together creators from different backgrounds, countries and religions to discuss the power of technology and open platforms to democratize the world and to help spread diverse perspectives. Connecting young global influencers with a world leader to help Kickstart a dialogue around the positive impact technology can have on society was an unforgettable experience.

TNJ.com: What, in your opinion, makes a great brand advertising campaign?

Alandha Scott: The best brand advertising campaigns stem from a place of authenticity. They have a clear POV and a brand value prop that brings the product magic to life. My favorite YouTube brand campaign is our annual Pride video. The YouTube Pride brand moments are anchored on themes such as #Proudtolove and #Proudtobe which celebrate people’s freedom and right to be themselves and to love who who they want. The campaigns aren’t created by actors on a set but instead they highlight real stories from the YouTube community. They shine a light on those who have used the platform to come out, learn about the LGBTQ community, become an ally etc. Because the campaign starts from a place of authenticity, users can identify with it and are driven to participate and share which creates an abundance of earned media.

TNJ.com: What are some trends going on in the product marketing space?

Alandha Scott: As a marketer, one of my favorite times of year is the Superbowl. Not because of the game but because of the incredible ads that are the highlight of the game. The tone of the ads always foreshadows how brands are going to approach their advertising campaigns for the year. One of the biggest trends this year is that many of the ads elicited a sense of joy and laughter. This is a significant departure from the tone of many of the brand campaigns from 2016 and 2017 that were politically charged and heavy. There seems to be a resurgence on focusing on the product magic that has returned to brand campaigns.

The other major trend that has really emerged is the explosion of mobile notifications. As brands get more personal and want to assist you during your day-to-day activities, brands are increasingly utilizing mobile notifications to reach audiences with content and updates when they’re ready to receive them.

TNJ.com: What’s unique about YouTube’s approach to marketing that has led to it becoming a successful brand?   

Alandha Scott: The secret to YouTube’s success as a brand is that it is a mission driven-company that truly stands by its values. Our mission statement is “Give everyone a voice and show them the world.” YouTube’s purpose and mission drives everything that we do, especially our approach to marketing. This strong grounding in our values often leads to amazing community-driven movements where our users: unprompted, share the magic of YouTube.

A great example of this was last week when the hashtag #YouTubeTaughtMe started trending and was the #1 topic on Twitter for 5 hours. The community on it’s own started sharing amazing stories about the impact YouTube has had on their lives. They shared a range of stories from how YouTube made their day-to-day lives easier to some incredibly personal stories about how YouTube profoundly changed their lives. Some of the most affecting quotes I read were about how “YouTube Taught” people to love themselves for who they were and inspired them to pursue their dreams.

In totality, leading from a mission-driven place provides clear direction for decision-making and helps users to understand the value of your brand.

TNJ.com: What about your work do you find most gratifying?

Alandha Scott: My passion for marketing started with my love for storytelling. Since the moment I could read, I was fascinated by stories and the power they have to shape our dreams, hopes and perspectives of the world. For me, marketing is all about bringing those stories to life and opening people’s imaginations to what is possible. I love being able to expand people’s vision of themselves and the world around them.

One of the most gratifying campaigns I’ve had the pleasure to work on during my career was a brand advertising campaign for Lilly Singh. Lilly is an Indian-Canadian YouTube creator who makes incredibly funny content about her life and family while providing general social commentary. Lilly has amassed over 13M subscribers on YouTube and has built an incredibly inspiring brand for young people to look up to. Being able to promote a woman of color so prominently was amazing. In the creative for Lilly’s campaign, we were able to portray some of the characters that she brings to life in the comedy sketches on her channel, and the campaign theme was “You Give life character.” Girls and young women from around the world commented that seeing LIlly succeed and embrace her culture and herself influenced them. Now they have a bigger notion of what’s possible for them. That is what I love about my work.

TNJ.com: What, if any, challenges do you encounter in your work?

Alandha Scott: We’re truly in the golden age of content and there is an abundance of incredible stories available on linear and on digital media. There are some amazing authentic & diverse storytellers who are emerging and  starting to be recognized more. Seeing the incredible success of shows and movies over the past year like Get Out, Insecure, Moonlight, Atlanta and Black Panther help to defy and dispel the myth that stories that have all black casts don’t travel overseas and can’t garner mainstream audiences.

At YouTube, our core audience expects to see content that is authentic and reflects diverse perspectives and it’s truly on everyone who works in the industry to ensure that incredible storytellers from all backgrounds have a platform. My challenge is meeting that demand. While we are making progress as an industry, there is so much more that needs to be done and I constantly challenge myself and my team to make sure that we’re actively thinking about how to tell authentic narratives and stories that reflect the world we live in.

TNJ.com: What advice do you have for platforms that struggle to get more views and hits on social media?  

Alandha Scott: The two biggest pieces of advice I have for platforms that struggle to get more views and hits on social media is to know deeply your target audience/ community and to create a consistent well thought out social media strategy. Creating videos that get lots of views/engagements doesn’t happen by accident. To grow a brand, first and foremost, it is important to be connected to and engage in a two way conversation with your community. Read responses to comments on your videos or posts and listen to feedbacks. You should understand which posts get the most engagements (likes, shares etc),  and what time of day your audience is most engaged, what type of content formats your community value the most (text, video, photos etc).

You should also identify the brands or influencers your community values and look for organic content collaborations or partnerships. Once you deeply know your community, the next step is to build a social media strategy and regular content calendar. A structured upload strategy will ensure that there is consistency with your audiences and that they know when to tune in. It will also ensure that you always have content that you can post and it will help avoid long periods of time where you don’t engage with your audience.