YouTube brand strategy / positioning case study

YouTube Brand Strategy Analysis

Media & entertainment – digital media, social media, streaming services

Owner of the brand:
Alphabet, Inc.

Key competitors:
Daily Motion, Vimeo,
Spotify, Twitch,  Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, TikTokSnapchat

Brand essence

Giving everyone a voice and showing them the world.

Brand values

Creativity, self-expression, connectedness, inclusiveness.


Brand character

Friendly, human, positive, for everybody, creative, fun.


YouTube was founded in 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim who all previously worked for eBay. Initially, the company was funded by venture capital. In 2006, however, it was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion.
YouTube positions itself on three levels: as a service for uploading, sharing and watching originally created videos, as a content distribution platform for content creators and advertisers, and as a forum for people “to connect, inform, and inspire others”. It defines its mission as “giving everyone a voice and showing them the world”[1] which is based on the belief that the world is a better place when everyone is allowed to share their story.


YouTube, often called “the home of video”, hosts multiple genres of video content: music videos, pranks, tutorials, vlogs etc. However, for a long time it was mostly perceived through the lens of low quality, user generated content. To fight this image, YouTube was trying to attract A-list talent known from more traditional media (e.g., Madonna). This approach didn’t work for two reasons – firstly, users were looking for something different on the platform and secondly, it didn’t build YouTube’s uniqueness. The company changed the strategy and currently puts the strongest emphasis on its own stars – YouTube creators, who have the potential to distinguish the service from the growing number of competitors.


YouTube understands that in the long run it can only be as strong as its contributors – Thea O’Hear, former YouTube Communication Manager told Marketing Week: “YouTube doesn’t succeed unless its creators succeed[2]. Therefore, the brand promotes them via communication activities (e.g., the documentary called “The Creators”[3]) and supports with video production and audience development know-how as well as professional equipment enabling them to produce a better quality content. Some of the brand’s initiatives include YouTube Creators channel[4] (previously Creator Academy), where people can learn how to be a more successful ‘YouTuber’, YouTube Space which offers access to video production technology[5], a set of products helping small businesses create video ads as well as various workshops and events.


YouTube has a few sub-brands, which are very closely tied to the umbrella brand but cater for the needs of different audiences. YouTube Kids[6] is a free app with content for kids, YouTube TV[7] is a live TV streaming service, YouTube Music app[8] is designed for music lovers and YouTube Premium[9] (previously YouTube Red) is a paid, premium, ad-free version of YouTube.


YouTube, similarly to its parent brand, Google, uses humour (e.g., April Fools’ Day’s “Snoopavision”[10]), has a warm tone of voice and builds the image of a human and likable brand. It also actively promotes diversity and inclusiveness (e.g., YouTube Music ads: “Alex’s Theme”[11] or “Afsa’s Theme”[12] or “#ProudToBe” campaign[13]). Danielle Tiedt, YouTube CMO told Marketing Week: “If you ask people how they feel about YouTube, it is 100% a friend to them[14].


Because of the brand’s clear focus on creators and creativity, the Creator is YouTube’s dominating archetype. In YouTube’s brand equity, there are also elements of the Regular Guy archetype – it’s a platform, which has democratised the video production and publishing (once limited to professionals), where everyone is welcome and everyone can become a star.

Most important campaigns

1. “#YouTubeBlack Voices | Introducing The UK Creator Class Of 2022″ (2022)

2. “Introducing The Shorter Side Of YouTube” (2021)

3. “YouTube Music: Open The World of Music” (2018)

4. YouTube Music “Alex’s Theme” (2016)

5. “Meet YouTube Red” (2015)

6. “The A-Z Of YouTube: Celebrating 10 Years” (2015)


Official brand statement:

Our mission is to give everyone a voice and show them the world.
We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community through our stories.

Interesting facts:

The first ever video uploaded on YouTube was posted by Jawed Karim, one of the YouTube co-founders. It’s called “Me at the zoo” and is still available to watch online. [16]


1. Adweek on YouTube’s strategy of scaling down Originals
M. Cahillane, “YouTube Significantly Scales Back Originals Slate As Chief Susanne Daniels Exits”, Adweek, Jan 2022, 

2. Ad Age on YouTube’s efforts to attract TV advertisers
G. Sloane, “Inside YouTube’s Struggle To Win Tv Ad Dollars”, Ad Age, Aug 2021, 

3. Bloomberg on how YouTube is trying to help creators earn more
L. Shaw, “YouTube Is Offering A Talent Option To Sell Subscriptions”, Bloomberg, Jun 2018,

4. Interview with YouTube’s CMO
S. Vizard, “The Challenge Of Marketing YouTube”, Marketing Week, Jul 2016,



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