With YouTube’s mix of functionality and community, it is easily the most popular video-sharing website out there. The site receives about 400 hours of content uploads every minute and four billion video views every day. Its user base is an impressive one billion, which is about one-third of the world’s Internet population.
Nick Robinson, Chief Marketing Officer of Quest Nutrition, a billion dollar company, attributes part of their marketing success to the use of YouTube. “They [companies] launch 15 or 30 second ads, which people skip and block. Instead, what brands must do is harness the power or merging content, community, and talent, to fully utilize the value of YouTube,” he shared during a talk at the 2015 SydStart tech conference.
Young Malaysian startup owner Yuhwen Foong thinks the same way. "Many companies take YouTube as an important marketing tool, but not all know how to use it to their advantage. The problem we saw, especially here in Southeast Asia, is that most small medium enterprises want to try out video marketing campaigns but don’t know how to go about it,” she said.
Their methods are not only time-consuming but also a hit-or-miss. Yuhwen said companies would often reach out to popular YouTubers one-by-one for possible tie-ups. She experienced the same pains when she took on marketing and business development roles in various startups. “I thought, if only there’s an easier way for companies to find, hire, and work with YouTubers. And that’s when I thought of launching SushiVid, an online platform for brands and YouTubers.”
SushiVid connects brands to talented YouTube artists. The platform acts as a middleman to ensure that both parties are content with the outcome. They earn by charging 10 percent of the total amount that the brands pay the YouTuber. “The money we receive will in turn be used to groom and support other YouTubers in our region. We intend to build studios and have equipment that these artists could use in our office,” she said.
The startup not only helps SMEs that can’t afford the cost of traditional video advertisements and commercials, but also brings forth talented YouTubers that are obscured by more popular channels. With YouTube, smaller companies could start from as low as $100 and a ready following from the YouTubers own subscribers.
To disseminate their objectives to SMEs and video-artists alike, Yuhwen decided to use no other than an explainer video. “It is much easier to pitch our idea with a one-minute video rather than explaining it with words. Sharing the stage with videos is always a good way to keep people engaged. Steve Jobs did it all the time!”
Yuhwen decided to look for animators from Freelancer.com. Having tried the platform before as a freelancer, she said she already trusted the site. “I perused the profiles of a lot of freelancers, but ultimately decided to launch a contest because I could not decide who to approach. It is also exciting to see all the different freelancers from various countries bringing a bit of their own culture into my contest. It was definitely more creative that way.”
Yuhwen said she was impressed with the quality of the videos submitted to her contest and at US$300 for two videos, it was affordable for a startup. “I awarded the contest to Emanuel (bemyguest) from Romania. He was really good. I was very picky and he made all the changes I wanted. Even after handover, I had one quite major change, and he did it for me without charging extra. We're in for a good long term work relationship from now on. I won't get anyone else to do my videos!”
For the same amount of work, Yuhwen guessed that it would cost around US$1,000 locally. Also factoring in the costs is the native speaker for the English voice over, which she doubts she could easily find in Malaysia.
“The video definitely makes us look like a serious business and brings about some credibility and professionalism to our upcoming website. My experience on Freelancer has been pretty awesome. The Live Chat is the best thing! I admit, I haven’t read all of the FAQ because I took advantage of the chat all the time.”
Watch SushiVids explainer videos here and here.
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