Defining and communicating your brand
Branding affects how others perceive you, your channel, and your business. Learn how to evaluate your brand, develop a brand strategy, and communicate your brand identity.
Evaluating your channel brand
Good branding can help viewers instantly identify your channel and make it stand out from others. Your brand starts with your channel name, but goes much further. Creators who have a strong personal brand can increase their subscribers and become more attractive to commercial partners.
Because branding can impact the success of your business, you want to look at how you convey your brand through both visuals and words:
- Channel icon is a small image that can be your photo, avatar, or logo.
- Channel art is a large banner that represents your channel identity.
- Channel description explains what your channel is about to visitors.
- Channel trailer is a video preview for your unsubscribed viewers.
Branding can be communicated in other ways within your videos, such as what you wear, colors and patterns in the background, how you speak, or other details that viewers would associate with you and your channel.
What’s an example of a brand you admire? Do you remember their logo or tagline? When you visit their store or website, are there visual cues about their identity? How do they communicate their brand on social media?
Strong brands are usually easy to recall because they’ve aligned their creative elements with a consistent look, feel, and voice. Think about how your brand reflects your values as a creator and the community that supports you.
Note: Remember that channel branding elements should adhere to YouTube’s Community Guidelines.
- Are all your channel visuals aligned on branding?
- Does your channel trailer convey your brand values?
- How is your branding reinforced online/ offline?
See it in action
Polish your brand identityDane from The Annoying Orange shares the creative pieces that contribute to his brand identity, including the use of bright, vivid colors in art.
Set a vision for your brandBuild your channel into a business by brainstorming what you want your brand to stand for. Then create a framework to help you reach your goals.
Shaping your brand narrative
In the business world, you can find a lot of articles and case studies about successful brands. Why do companies care so much about branding? Well, research shows that strong brands outperform their peers. In most industries, the market can be quite crowded—just like there might be many channels in your category.
The good news is you can shape the narrative to influence how people perceive your brand. There’s no single playbook for branding, so try using the approach that suits you. Here are five general principles to keep in mind:
- Be there. Try to stay in touch with your audience, through videos, live streams, or community posts. If you go silent for a long time (with no explanation), your viewers might drift away. Of course, it’s important to balance work and life—and take time off when needed—so that you avoid burnout (find out more).
- Build patterns. Think about what makes your audience remember you and your channel. This could be an image, music, or other hallmark content that becomes memorable. If you star in your videos, then perhaps you have developed certain patterns around your clothing or catchphrases.
- Be different. Get attention by standing out. Let’s say you’re a vlogger. Consider why someone would watch your vlog over somebody else’s. This could be because of your choice of topics or locations, your style of shooting and editing, or your storytelling technique. Viewers love original and authentic videos.
- Make what you love most. On YouTube, you have the freedom to explore multiple directions. If you want your brand to be known for a more specific theme, examine which video formats work best for you. You can look in YouTube Analytics for watch time data. Consider how your passions can help you focus your efforts.
- Create unique assets. As mentioned, you can reinforce branding through your channel icon, banner, description, and trailer. You also can communicate your brand through thumbnails. Consider how the creative assets you use communicate your channel identity, while also integrating with your branding off YouTube.
Creators, like businesses, usually get the best results when they’re consistent with their branding over time. However, if your mission (or the market) changes significantly, try to be flexible and open to new ideas. For example, a channel that starts off with only cooking videos may evolve into a lifestyle brand covering food and fitness.
Ask yourself these questions about your personal brand:
- Who are you as a creator?
- What makes you unique?
- How do your fans feel?
See it in action
Building your brand vision
You can start by identifying what your brand stands for: your values are what’s important to you, and your mission is what you want to achieve. Try thinking about your unique value proposition and how this resonates with your audience.
Now you can take steps to create a rich and distinctive brand identity. While no two paths are the same, here are some suggested actions you can take:
- Develop a strategy to achieve success. How can you make it happen? You may want to prioritize your goals and pair each goal with an action.
- Plan a calendar with potential marketing opportunities, collaborations, and social media integrations. Give yourself deadlines to complete tasks.
- Ask for help to take your vision forward. Consider getting support from others who can provide input or contribute their expertise where relevant.
Bold steps are important, but don’t forget the simple steps. Try outlining what you can do today, next week, or next month to boost your brand. You’re in charge of your business and your brand—you have the power to decide what you want to do and when you want to do it!
- What do you care about the most?
- What do you want to achieve?
- How can your brand help you have an impact?
Engaging with your community
In addition to your channel design and content, your brand may be reflected in how you interact with your fans. Engaging with your community as a cohesive brand can help you gain loyalty—converting viewers into potential subscribers and customers.
Creators often are present on multiple social media platforms. Try sticking with a few communication methods that you can consistently be active on, using each one for the right engagement. Check that your branding is consistent across your platforms.
Another recommendation is to let your fans know that you’re paying attention. Examples include responding to comments, posting polls, and answering questions in a live stream. Consider how these interactions may impact attitudes toward your brand.
Finally, explore ways to surprise and delight your community. You can recognize and engage with dedicated fans through features such as Channel Memberships and Super Chat. Or you may decide to sell merchandise that showcases your brand.
Remember, building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. It may take some time for you to develop and refine your brand. Building a deeper connection with your community can help position your brand to succeed over the long term.