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13 Things Unlikely Stars Teach Us About Branding

What is one thing all professionals can learn from the success of unlikely brand stars, like YouTube celebrities?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. No Idea Is Dumb

“Social celebrities have proven that there’s an audience for everything when done right. If you’re insecure about an idea or worried that no one has done what you want to do, don’t be scared. This is exactly how the next big thing happens. If you go all in and truly create a great brand, you’ll find your people.”

Brooke Bergman, Allied Business Network Inc.

2. Listen to Your Audience

“While on the surface level Youtube celebrities reaching fame seems unlikely, when you consider their audience, their popularity makes perfect sense. In the past, brands delivered content that was really out of touch with its intended audience. Listen to your audience and act on their suggestions, even when it reshapes your brand.”

Andrew Namminga, Andesign

3. Be Passionate and Fun

“Have you ever seen a successful YouTube celebrity doing something he or she doesn’t enjoy doing? No. You have to really enjoy what you’re doing to be successful. I also find that most YouTube stars have fun with what they are doing. They truly enjoy it, and it shows in their videos.”

John Rampton, Calendar 

4. Say the Thing That Scares You

“One of my clients, Ash Beckham, went from small biz owner to the No. 6 most viewed TEDx talk of all time with her speech “Coming Out of Your Closet.” She was scared to give that speech because it was so real, but delivering it gave others permission to come out of their respective closets too. If you are too comfortable with the message you’re putting out there, you’re probably saying the wrong thing.”

Erin Weed, evoso inc.

5. Remain Consistent

“Unlikely brand stars have found their fame and following by consistently producing a series of content for their audiences. Whether they have created a YouTube series that comes out every week, or host a Q&A session on a weekly/monthly basis, they are giving their fans something to look forward to and a series of events to follow. Be consistent in your work and your branding for recognition.”

Miles Jennings,

6. Commit 100 Percent

“Non-traditional brand stars have shown us that if you commit 100 percent to a lifestyle, persona or point of view you have the best chance of being memorable. You can capture an audience by evidencing that you’ll continue to give them exactly what drew them to your brand of entertainment first. Saturating your content with 100 percent of your distinct brand consistently over time wins every time.”

Faithe Parker, Marbaloo Marketing

7. Relate to Your Audience and Be Likeable

“Brand stars grow in popularity because they are likable and relate to their audience. All professionals can learn from these celebrities because, at the end of the day, customers, vendors and employees want to work with someone who can relate to their experiences and who have the likability factor.”

Tamara Nall, The Leading Niche

8. Slick Production Isn’t Vital

“Many companies avoid video because it can be extremely expensive to achieve the best production values. However, if you look at the most popular YouTube personalities, their videos have appealing content but are rarely slick professional productions. They succeed because they understand their audiences, are responsive to them, and create content that engages the interest of viewers.”

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

9. Be Honest and Authentic

“Unlikely stars are successful because they do one thing really well: They put themselves out there, and they do it in a way that’s both entertaining and honest. Audiences aren’t looking for marketing gimmicks — they want authenticity. When you let them see the human side of your business, it creates a sense of connection that people want to enjoy and share with others.”

Vladimir GendelmanCompany Folders, Inc

10. Form a Cult Following

“People gravitate toward others who share similar beliefs and values, and the size of one’s audience is proportionate to the strength of their conviction. The more you stand for (or against) something, the more people who share a common belief will follow and support you.”

Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits

11. Have a Sense of Humor

“There are far too many people who take themselves or their business too seriously and come off as dry. The key to lasting bonds is making things enjoyable, and that means, often more than anything else, having a sense of humor about yourself and the big picture.”

Trevor SumnerLocalVox

12. Have a Social Media Strategy

“One thing business owners need to make time for is promoting their business on social media. YouTube celebrities gain their fame and success from the time and effort that they put into their online persona. All business owners need to have a social media strategy if they want to scale, and usually this means hiring the right person or team to help you do so.”

Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

13. Interaction Is Key

“Respond to all social media comments. Many professionals take for granted comments on their social media accounts, but these represent a goldmine of opportunity to improve engagement. Even if the comment is just something as simple as “nice post,” give it an answer.”

Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance