We went to meet YouTube superstars, and Jedward were EVERYWHERE. This is what we learned.

By Emily Barnes

On Saturday 13th July, we headed down to the second day of the UK’s biggest annual YouTube event, Summer In The City (SitC). Starting out as a small three-day gathering in London’s parks, SitC is now a huge convention, held every year at ExCel Centre, with thousands in attendance; not only to meet their favourite YouTubers, but to catch a range of panels and performances from an extensive programme covering everything from popularity, integrity and the creative process to mental health, fandom and LGBTQ+.

As an agency that uses social talent for a range of our clients and which values being hot on the pulse of how social platforms, their users and their content are always changing, we thought we’d head down on Saturday to lend an ear to some of the discussions.

Seeing so many people walking around with their arm outstretched, walking and talking to a camera is a strange experience- there were a few near collisions of camera-holding arms, which was bizarre to say the least. Some of those were snapping selfies with Jedward, who seemed ever-present and around every corner.  The crowd was certainly young- most were under 21, and many had waited in snaking queues for hours to meet their favourite social stars- testament that the YouTube celebrity is not dead.

JEDWARD
Wave em like you just dont hair

 

Apart from vowing never to get on a fairground ride whilst hungover, especially a ride like the Waltzers where ride assistants are actively trying to make you feel dizzy and nauseous, we put together some key SitC takeaways from our experience:

YouTube for good

More than ever, YouTubers are using their platform to open up discussions about issues on LGBT, mental health and internet safety. The weekend offered a whole host of panels on these types of issues, as did the stalls at the event. The YouTube For Good panel discussed how working with charities, organisations and brands on causes can be mutually beneficial, because they can signpost their audience to resources. However, YouTubers also mentioned how working with partners on videos that discuss specific causes can come up against similar tensions to regular sponsored videos, with a lack of creative control; it remains important that the cause matches the channel brand

Working with brands must be an equal partnership

On the ‘What is the point of YouTube’ panel (yes, that’s right),  all the panellists agreed that a trusting audience is key to not feeling pressured to compromise their content with things they aren’t really passionate about when working with brands. They explained that viewers must be seen as individuals, and is of utmost importance that the YouTuber retains an element of creative control in a sponsored post, to give their audience what they respect and admire and what keeps them watching their videos. If brands don’t respect this, they’re also compromising their own reputation as well as the creator's

Millions of views doesn’t mean quality or targeted engagement

Discussing popularity vs integrity, YouTuber Sammy Paul explained that working with YouTubers who have a smaller, more engaged subscriber base can offer better quality content that they have worked much longer on, and that ‘there is something to be said about getting hundreds of thousands of views on every video- who is watching that? It’s most likely a younger crowd. Instead, people are saying ‘Hm, that’s interesting’.’ Depending of course on the purpose and content of the video, for some YouTubers, creating content that doesn’t rack up millions of views but has taken longer to produce is better for their integrity as a creator

SITC2
Aspiring YouTubers promote their own channels using the latest technology

 

So, there we have it. Creator diversity is growing evermore, with different approaches to channels, content and working with brands and organisations.

What remains as important as ever, is that clients looking to work with YouTubers must consider their approach more carefully than ever, with a well-considered approach ending up mutually beneficial.

SITC3
These two were mobbed by fans.

 


How to help clients be ‘brave’

By Sarah Boulton

The Oxford definition of brave is: “to be ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage”.

Sounds pretty intimidating, and sometimes brave PR and marketing ideas can feel a little that way to a client. Clients often have ambitions to be brave, but as the definition alludes to, being brave ultimately means taking some form of risk, which presents challenges for internal buy-in. Therefore, when taking a brave idea to a client in 2016 the process needs to be handled delicately and not bull-dozed through.

From creating the Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne out of adult toys, to making the world’s largest emoji crop circle, we like to help our clients be brave, and we believe that there are some simple steps to ensure that the process of getting brave ideas considered and signed off is pain-free for the client, and for the agency.

Ultimately building an authentic relationship with a client is key to getting a creatively bold idea to the point where it will see the light of day, so here are our top tips to get to that point:

Get the basics right

Sounds obvious and a bit old school, but nailing all the basics of client management helps to build trust. Show your client that your account team is a professional and well-oiled machine: get reports over on time, make sure meeting rooms are set-up for catch-ups etc. Although it is a simple argument, it will be the make or break of a relationship, and when it comes to putting forward bold ideas trust in the team will ultimately give the client confidence to take the leap into the unknown with you.

Not all briefs need to be brave

A scattergun approach to brave ideas is never recommended. Work together as an agency and client to spot the right opportunity that is beneficial for the client and for the audience. Don’t take a risk just for the sake of it. A brave idea comes with an element of risk and therefore needs to be considered carefully and done at the right time for the right campaign.

Foster a ‘brave’ team

With a high-risk idea there are bound to be many bumps in the road and having a robust, authentic team and relationship with the client means that you are more likely to get through them. Once this ‘brave’ team is assembled it needs to be managed lightly and every single person in that team needs to be capable of having a client-facing conversation, with everyone client-side, including other channel owners. Everyone should be visible on the account and everyone should inspire confidence in the client.

Avoid the BS

Finally, one of the biggest moments in the life of a creatively brave idea is the client presentation. My main tip here would be to avoid at all costs a ‘ta da’ approach. The trick is to position the idea so it doesn’t look as though you have had an insane rush of blood to the head and got a bit over-excited, but to make it look like it is a reasonable decision. No client likes a hard sell, be honest, tell them about the ideas strengths but look the risks in the eye. Brave work is inherently risky so don’t pretend there isn’t any, just show that you have thought them through.

No chill

Last but not least, don’t relax. Once the presentation is done run with it and keep the momentum. The hard work starts from here on in, and remember that brave ideas require brave people. Be brave.

We’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastically brave clients that have allowed us to bring our bold and creative ideas to life, drop us an email if you’d like to hear more: Hello@fanclubpr.com.