Red Bull & Nike: Building Solid Video Strategies

A truly successful YouTube video is part of a broader plan that builds consistent views for a YouTube channel. Viral videos are for kids coming back from the dentist - your YouTube channel needs a video marketing plan that lasts.

How your YouTube channel will succeed comes down to a few factors:

● How you curate your video content
● What style you use to present your content
● How frequently you post 

Those three basics will form how you present your channel on YouTube, and will be a big part of how successful you are. There are, of course, a number of other factors when you put these ideas in motion. To sort through them, I have chosen two successful YouTube marketing channels that use varying techniques to reach their viewers:

  1. Red Bull
  2. Nike Football

Heard of them? Of course you have! While they are two of the most well-known brands in the world, their particular YouTube channel strategies have helped them connect even better with their target audiences. Here are the numbers.

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Red Bull: Meeting the Extreme Needs of Their YouTube Fans

Red Bull focuses on content that highlights the best of action sports. A lot of their content could almost be considered user-generated, as they’re filming events that are already taking place. This approach keeps their channel pumping with exciting video.

Here’s an example of one of their “user-generated” style videos that has a touch of editing magic:

This is exactly the type of content that appeals to their target audience. Best of all, it only costs the film crew’s salary, as the athletes are already competing. No script writers, no endless editing of the events, no hiring actors – just film what happens!

This plays into their overall YouTube video strategy by allowing them to upload many videos per day at a really low cost. They upload about one video per day, sometimes as many as five.

Looking at their most basic statistic – video views – a trend emerges right away. Each video receives somewhere between 40 and 90,000 views.

Looking back through the months, it's clear that this is consistenly the case, with some of the dirt bike videos reaching 150,000 – 300,000 views. It paints a picture of viewers who come back regularly, like loyal viewers of a TV show, watch what’s new, and wait for the next set of videos. They have incredible consistency.

Their subscriber rates are similar. The graph below shows their subscriber rates climbing consistently as their frequent posting schedule keeps people coming back frequently.

Looking closer at the week-to-week subscribers you can see a couple big jumps:

On June 18, 2014, they saw a huge spike in their new subscribers for the week. What happened? I have a feeling that this video, with over 2,000,000 views, may have had something to do with that:

Red Bull are an excellent example of a YouTube marketing channel that:

  1. Capitalizes on the power of user-generated content, rather than big production values.
  2. Posts frequently to establish a loyal following that keeps their views and brand message consistent.
  3. Still hits it big when a video strikes a chord with their audience.

This type of strategy is an absolute must for anyone looking to appeal exclusively to an active, younger market. If you want their attention, and you want to keep it, you’ll need lots of content – good, shareable content. Going the user-generated route, with some editing help, as Red Bull has, could be the ticket for your brand.

How Nike Football Appeals to the world

Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the world. To appeal to a global audience, Nike Football has taken an approach which reaches as many fans of the beautiful game as possible.

Nike Football focuses on big moments and viral video marketing. In football, there is no bigger moment than the World Cup. They had the biggest video of the World Cup, if not the year, with The Last Game:

If you hadn’t already seen that, you likely weren’t on the Internet for the months of April and June of 2014. 76 million views means it was hard to miss!

Nike Football does, of course, have a plan outside of these big moments. This involves more or less weekly postings of videos from the Nike Academy, interviews with players, and the odd big budget commercial throw-in here and there for, oh, four or five million views. Their views can be extremely high for some videos, much higher than anything from Red Bull. But they have around one third as many subscribers.

So what gives? They don’t post with the same kind of consistency, and they likely have some people showing up for their big videos and never coming back again.

Look at this graph about their subscriber growth. You’ll see a big jump for the ‘Last Game’ video, and another jump for the twelve million viewed Neymar Mirrors video:

There are big jumps when they release a popular video, then they go back to rather unremarkable subscriber growth. Nike is doing what they do best: the big things. They are using their YouTube page more as a place to put their regular advertising. That Mirrors video with Neymar would be as at home on a TV screen as a computer screen.

Ordinarily, TV-style advertising is a complete bust on social media and YouTube. The difference here is Nike’s incredible ability to tell stories through their brand, and to tell them in a way that anyone, anywhere, can understand them. The Last Game was seen from Brazil to South Africa to Japan with equally successful results in all markets.

This is an example for YouTube marketing channels out there with three key ingredients:

  1. An incredibly experienced and talented production team that can create content which appeals to vast target markets.
  2. A budget to work with that allows you to create videos that are shareable to a viral degree.
  3. The ability to pinpoint the exact moments you should be targeting well in advance.

Nike Football has a high risk, high reward style of YouTube video marketing. Being Nike, they can afford to do this. They don’t invest everything into these big moments, though. They still have their more user-generated Nike Academy content to fall back on for around 200,000 views a pop.

The average video marketer had better be sure that they know what they’re doing, and that they have a great team. Nike’s example of video marketing on YouTube of telling great stories with their products in the background takes a high degree of skill.

How will you succeed on YouTube?

I have shown you two very different brands with their own styles of content delivery on YouTube. Each one works for each brand – their climbing subscriber numbers speak to that. But those style may not work for your brand. What does work is the process that led to them to decide that was their best course of action.

To get there, you need to evaluate:

  1. What content you’ll be giving people on YouTube: Is that user-generated content, great stories told with the product in the background, or great stories told with the product in the foreground?
  2. What sort of resources you have to accomplish these goals: What type of talent is on your production team? What does your budget look like, and what resources do you already have available that might enable you to spend more in other areas?
  3. The frequency at which you can publish: Daily posts of quickly-produced content with high consistency, or closer to weekly, with high production value videos with viral potential?

Figuring out how each of these points applies to your brand will help you figure out which road you need to follow. Take some time to get familiar with the above channels and see if you can picture your brand following one of these three routes.

Matthew is the writer over on the Devumi Social Selling blog. You can find him there every Wednesday and Friday. Read this review site to learn more about Devumi, or stop by the blog. The @Devumi Twitter account is there for you with the latest news all day long!

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  • Tomas Petru

    Thanks Matthew for the good article. I do share some of your views (need for a solid video strategy), but disagree with others (YouTube as Alpha&Omega of online video).

    The key thought I am missing at your article is the value of the video and entertainment content, that is clearly the case of both brands, and it's handoff of that value to Google. At least Red Bull is making probably 90% and more net profit on their product, so they may ignore the value of their production, however I am sure that in not distant future it will seem as a bad idea. In reality these companies, and other YouTube and other "free" services are handing their assets to these services for free. So the "free" goes opposite direction - Google makes money, you pay the cost.

    There is definitely a point when there is a great benefit of YouTube and others, in case that your content's value (both recent and future) actually match the cost of the service you are getting, respectively the cost of the service provided by YouTube for example is bigger than the value of your content. On the other side, once you submit your content to the machine, it is there for ever, and your content and more importantly you, your company, your friends, will be monetized infinitely, and the "benefit" you are getting is in exchange for your privacy.

    However in most cases, importantly when your content is anyhow related to your business, there should be strong and smart strategy, otherwise your work is powering somebody else profit. It includes both the "free" service provider, but also anybody else parasitizing on your content with their adds. In such case RedBull drinks can have related adverts for different Coke products, and Nike content is a good platform for other sports related business. By the way, I have just interrupted my comment to visit YouTube, search Red Bull, play a random video and... Bingo! when the clip is over, about half of the next videos to watch that I got recommended were directing me out off Red Bull Channel to other places that were asking me to "subscribe").

    Yes, solid video strategy is critically important. And yes, it should plan for more than "lets put videos on YouTube". By my opinion the best use of social media/video services to place to these locations great quality "teasers" that will attract the audience to my wall-gardened asset. That way you double dip - you get all the benefits of social media, SEO etc., but your assets stay yours, and your customers are not attracted away. When I am asked to present some example, I mostly point to Top Gear. Their asset is communicated and in some way accessible on a lot of services, but to get the real access, it is always part of a paid experience.

    For a disclosure, I am a shareholder and CEO at Visual Unity, a company developing online video platform and an asset management system named vuMedia.


    • Matthew Yeoman

      That was by far the most loaded reply I have ever read. Are you giving honest feedback here, or looking to tear down my credibility in an attempt to build your company up? Furthermore, at no time do I state that YouTube is the "Alpha&Omega of online video." You put words into a writer's mouth, and my goodness is that annoying plus one.

      To get to the heart of your manipulative post; this article is not in any way related to the topic you're trying to insert. For the record, I have written articles that look at funding models for online video. It was published on my blog on January 14. I also have an article making many of the same points you're making here up for consideration at Technorati titled "I Have to PAY for This?!? The Online Myth of 'Free.' Last, I had a Twitter discussion with a filmmaker 3 weeks ago that touched on these points and argued for better control of your content through paid services.

      But all of those points in paragraph number two are secondary to the fact that that is NOT what this article was about. Your argument is equivalent to "That was a good article about basketball, but you should have talked about how much fun it is to play chess instead." My recommendation for you for the future is to worry less about inserting your 'full disclosure' with a name drop of your service, and look more to staying on the topic at hand.

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