Partnering with prolific and respected YouTube creators can reap big benefits for brands who do it well. But for many, the formula for winning YouTube content is still hard to master. Today, we’ll look at a successful YouTube partnership that not only meets brand needs, but serves the YouTube audience as well.

As I mentioned in “Capture New Audiences with YouTube Creators,” there are several things brands should keep in mind when developing collaborative content with YouTube personalities. A great example of this done well can be found in the recent collaborative initiative by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation’s goal was to bring awareness to its annual letter, and this was achieved to great success. So, how did they do it?

First, the Foundation did its research and partnered with three of the top science- and education-based YouTube channels. Then, it provided each creator with the flexibility to develop content that suited their own creative voice. The Foundation’s contribution to the content isn’t overbearing. It is mentioned simply at the beginning of each video and in the description below, inviting users to click through to the annual letter. This allows the creators to shine in the best way possible.

The result was compelling content that not only represented the brand’s mission, but engaged users, too. All three videos made YouTube’s trending list the week of launch and, as of the writing of this article, each has more than 300,000 views and more than 800 comments. But what might be most impressive from a branding perspective is that the Foundation understood its audience well enough to know that to win hearts and minds, it had to make sure the content on its end matched the content on YouTube. Thus, the Foundation’s annual letter was designed in a beautiful and interactive way, providing a seamless transition from the video platform to the organization’s website.

When brands get YouTube collaboration right, they set great examples for those wishing to emulate their successes. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows us that good research, creative freedom and audience understanding can lead to content that works for all those involved.


haley g

Haley Robinson | Senior Copywriter

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