CLEAN & CLEAR® spearheaded a comprehensive video marketing strategy on YouTube, setting the bar for content marketing at the company. Here, Group Brand Director Kacey Dreby shares how they did it. Take advantage of her best practices and launch your content strategy.
In one year, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies brand CLEAN & CLEAR® went from a handful of videos on YouTube to more than 120. CLEAN & CLEAR® has earned millions of views for its anchor series, SEE THE REAL ME®, and, more importantly, has seen double digit increases in market share. To understand the brand's success, we went behind the scenes with the CLEAN & CLEAR® team and got an inside look at how they amplified their video marketing efforts around the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. Get an insider's look at the process:
Recently, I sat down with Kacey Dreby, group brand director at CLEAN & CLEAR®, to dive a little deeper into the content and the company's approach to digital video overall. In this Q&A, we'll talk about CLEAN & CLEAR®’s evolving brand strategy, its organizational changes, and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies' best practices for content creation. And to show you how CLEAN & CLEAR® put video to work for business results, we'll share a few more videos from our "Behind the Scenes" series:
David Mogensen, YouTube: What was the key insight that fueled your SEE THE REAL ME® YouTube series?
Kacey Dreby, CLEAN & CLEAR®: Before the series, we were still speaking to teen girls the way we did a decade ago. Our media has always depicted friendships between girls, but in 2012 we were representing them the same way we did in 1992, even though digital has significantly affected teens' perceptions of "friends." We needed a strategic refresh to reflect what teen girls were experiencing online.
In our research, we found that teens today want to be seen and heard, but they're afraid of being judged. With the advent of online comments and forums, judgment is accelerated and amplified; teens can feel torn down seconds after posting a selfie. So, in addition to meeting our audience on the digital channels where they were spending their time, it was important that our content empower them on those same channels.
You've shifted your marketing approach toward digital and, specifically, YouTube. Can you tell us about why you made that shift?
We made a dramatic shift in our video marketing approach because our audience made a dramatic shift in their media habits. Ten years ago, 45% of teens owned a cell phone. Today, 70% of teens own a smartphone. In addition, 92% of teens engage with at least two devices simultaneously, and digital video is the #1 way to influence their perceptions. YouTube is their most popular site for video consumption, which is great news for CLEAN & CLEAR®; teen girls are actively searching for makeup tutorials and skin care tips, and they're happy if that content comes from a brand they trust. We have to be ready with the authentic content and guidance they're looking for.
How do you envision video marketing and television working together?
The fact that we've prioritized digital doesn't mean we think television is going away. Teenagers still watch a lot of TV; what has changed is how they watch—and their second screen behavior while watching. These days, to keep up with your audience, you've got to think past the reach of the first screen and engage the consumer on their second screens. So when it came to our sponsorship of the MTV Video Music Awards, for example, we saw TV as a great way to get our message out there and convert those impressions into ongoing engagements on our YouTube channel.
Why did you decide to use YouTube as your hub for this series?
TV and chronological social channels can feel fleeting. If your audience isn't watching that show or checking their feed that day, it's gone. We chose YouTube as a hub in part because our content lives there for as long as we want. Our YouTube channel is a collection, a library, a content repository. People on YouTube care less about when a video is posted and more about whether or not it's relevant to them in the moment. For the VMAs, for example, we knew the girl group Fifth Harmony was nominated for Artist to Watch. We had a relationship with them, and we'd created a ton of content with them six to eight months earlier, so we resurrected it for the VMAs. We linked back to our YouTube videos with them from social channels and used TrueView to serve the videos to Fifth Harmony fans. As a result, we saw a 6X spike in views of that content, months after it was originally posted.
A lot of brands struggle to create video content quickly. How have you set up your organization for speedy content development?
When we launched SEE THE REAL ME®, we did a quick audit to see where we needed to improve our process to be more nimble. We realized we had to find a way to accelerate our regulatory and legal review processes. So, we worked with our legal team to set up a system that categorized our content into high risk and low risk. We trained our team on what needs legal review (product or competitive claims, for example) and what doesn't (a tweet that says, "OMG! The view from the red carpet is glorious"). Those relevant, fun conversations that are important to our audience are really low risk for our brand. For the moments when we do need a fast review, we put a special legal team in place that has a direct line to our social team.
How do you determine what videos to create? And how do you strategically determine when to post each video?
We use a strategic framework that breaks content into three categories: "Hero," "Hub," and "Help." By categorizing content, we can decide what we're promoting when, and make sure we're accounting for every step in our customer's journey. "Hero" content is exactly what it sounds like: flagship or tentpole content. During the VMAs, our hero content was our video with YouTube creator Princess Lauren, which we ran as a 30-second spot on TV and as an extended version on YouTube. "Hub" content is our drumbeat. This encompasses our larger SEE THE REAL ME® series, which extends well beyond the VMAs. "Help" content sits at the bottom of the funnel, closest to the point of purchase. Help content should help answer the questions our audience is asking about our products. For the VMAs, for example, we created product demos with Princess Lauren in addition to her hero spots.
Learn more about the Hub/Hero/Help model and how CLEAN & CLEAR® uses it:
Does creating content in real time for live events add another dimension of complexity?
There's a fallacy out there that real-time marketing happens at the last minute. A lot of our content was at least partially created before the Video Music Awards ever began. Our creative team prepared content for different outcomes or situations that could occur during the event. They designed and wrote content that can be manipulated easily in the moment. That way, almost everything could be approved ahead of time, and all the team had to do to make it relevant was swap in a word here or a photo there.
See CLEAN & CLEAR®'s secrets for making better content faster in this video:
With SEE THE REAL ME®, you went from one-way communication to a two-way dialogue. Can you share more?
We map every piece of content we're planning on launching before, during, and after the event on what we call our "Conversation Calendar." We don't just say "content calendar" because that implies that we're publishing only the content. For us, content isn't "we post; you respond." We stick around to have an authentic, ongoing, two-way dialogue with our fans. It makes the teen girls we're speaking to feel heard, which is a big part of SEE THE REAL ME®.
To prepare for that audience interaction, we carefully train every community manager (CM) who works with us. We figure out as a team what the message should be in the various situations they'll encounter, and then we train our CMs to adjust that generic messaging so that we sound personal, never forced or canned.
Hear from the CLEAN & CLEAR® team on their two-way dialogue with consumers and its impact on their business:
What's been surprising to you about CLEAN & CLEAR®'s content's success?
I've been surprised by how deep our audience is willing to go in a single session on YouTube. They're happy to watch more than one video as long as we keep them entertained. As one of our videos ends, we use playlists and annotations to surface the next. As long as the content stays relevant and entertaining, we can hold their attention for multiple videos, giving us numerous opportunities to have an impact. At a higher level, I've also been surprised at just how well a shift to digital-first has paid off for us. I think we all hoped it would work, but we didn't realize how well. CLEAN & CLEAR® went from losing market share to gaining it. As a result, we're leading the way on a new model for video marketing for the larger organization of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies.