Establishing Your YouTube Channel Brand

By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

Part of YouTube Channels For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Whether it’s a consumer or a viewer, a brand makes your product or service immediately identifiable on YouTube. Imagine that the Coca-Cola logo looked different every time you saw it, or maybe the apple on your PowerBook wasn’t the same apple you saw embossed on your iPhone. This lack of consistency could shatter your confidence in the product; you may start wondering if what you had was a cheap knock-off of the real thing, rather than the genuine article.

Branding is designed to restore confidence in the product — that familiar logo makes us relax, knowing that we are sure to get the real thing. When it comes to your YouTube channel, branding becomes the identifiable element that lets viewers know who you are and what you’re all about, thus creating a similar feeling of confidence. Just like consumers flock to brands they identify with, your audience will do the same with your brand.

Branding takes on many forms on YouTube

  • Intro clip: Before each video runs on your channel, you can insert a three-second clip that acts as a label for your content. The torch-carrying lady wrapped in a flag for Columbia Pictures and the roaring MGM Lion are good examples of a branding element. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to come up with an intro of your own that is equally compelling.

  • Channel header: This element is the banner on top of your main page, and at first it’s as empty as a blank page. You’ll definitely want to click that Add Channel Art button to add a compelling picture or another graphic along with the name of your channel. The channel header can also include your contact info and specify how often you intend to upload new videos.

  • Logo: Companies spend millions on branding when they have to come up with a new logo, because they have to track down and replace every single instance of the old logo. That’s probably not your problem — you just have to come up with your own logo, perhaps using a simple image and your name. If you feel graphically challenged, you can find places on the web to create one inexpensively. Or just have an artistic friend design a logo for you.

  • Playlists: If you have enough videos on your channel, you can create a running order of them. This playlist can provide an overview of your content or a specific sub-topic of your videos. You can name every playlist, and even re-arrange them.

  • Trailer: In a YouTube context, a trailer is a video that can automatically play when visitors come to your channel. You can use the video most representative of your content as a kind of advertisement for your offerings, or you could make a short video that shows viewers what your channel is all about and how they can benefit from watching your videos.