NMR sat down with Grapevine Co-Founder and Community Director Kimberley Bond to talk about brand integration, and how Grapevine can help creators every step of the way.
Not only is advice coming from someone who specializes in connecting creators with brands, Bonds herself is a seasoned vlogger, with over 83,000 subscribers on her channel!
Can you tell us a little more about your service?
Grapevine helps brands sell products by working with YouTube stars. To do so, we find the right retailers to sponsor videos from the very best creators in their respective niche. Since 2012, Grapevine has supported more than 8,000 creators and 100+ brands in the beauty, fashion, food, lifestyle, and technology categories. Our ultimate goal is to help you build your personal brand and business on YouTube, while connecting you with the brands you already know and love for fun sponsorship opportunities!
I notice your site serves not just as a bridge for creators to seek branded opportunities, but for brands to seek creators. Can you tell us about some of the brands you’ve worked with?
Over the years, Grapevine has worked with amika, graze, It Cosmetics, Le Tote, Nature Box, and Walgreens, among others. We specialize in helping e-commerce businesses grow their online sales through flawless product integrations on awesome YouTube channels. We also love the brands we end up working with. Grapevine has an incredibly selective process for the companies participating in its marketplace and we’re proud to say this is one of the biggest reasons YouTubers keep coming back for more.
Can you tell us about some of the creators you’ve worked with?
Among our favorites are Monica Church (hairodynamic), Shelby Church (teenmakeuptips), Nabela Noor, AlisonLovesJB, and saaammage. They are among the smartest and sweetest women I have ever met. In fact, this past weekend we had more than 30 of our favorite vloggers hang out with us at Grapevine’s post-IMATS Mixer, a private event in NYC. I’m pretty lucky to work with these lovely ladies every day. Our creators are awesome, and we think of them as family.
What metrics do you use to calculate the deals between creators and brands?
We use a secret formula which takes a look at the number of average views your videos generate, the quality and volume of engagement you get per video (comments!!), and your ability to wow the audience and tell an incredible story. We can’t reveal all the metrics we use but we’re constantly perfecting the algorithm to ensure sponsorship deals through Grapevine are a win-win-win for the brand, the YouTuber, and the viewing audience.
What are some of the tools you provide creators with to make the perfect branded video?
A majority of our creators are incredibly experienced with brand deals. For those who are just starting off, we help guide them through the process, ensuring they understand who our brand partners are, what these brands stand for, and how they can create a winning video that is authentic which their audience will love. Our platform makes it simple to communicate, in real-time, with brand representatives to truly understand what the sponsor’s needs are. We actually just launched our instant messaging feature a couple weeks ago and have seen a dramatic uptick in the quality of the videos produced. YouTubers find it is less intimidating than email and brands have gotten to know who our creators are as people. Brands have also become more accessible to YouTubers, making it easier for our talent to learn more about the business side of things and develop long-term relationships with brand partners.
Do you often work with MCN’s? If so, how?
At Grapevine, we regularly partner with MCNs to help our talent and their talent find more (and better) sponsorship opportunities. We pride ourselves on being creator-friendly, investing a majority of our time and effort on things that help our YouTubers earn more and discover brands and products they (and their viewers) will love.
Tell us about some of your favorite campaigns.
My favorite campaigns are ones where our network is involved with a truly unique opportunity. Last summer Walgreens was promoting its beauty innovation week and we had a fantastic video created by DulceCandy87. Another video that comes to mind was a campaign for LeTote; Nguerriero19 created a video with some of the best results we’ve ever seen! It’s the best feeling when both the brand and creator end up really happy with the results from the video.
Just as any creator can sign up, can any brand work with you? Would anything be considered taboo or off-limits?
While we’re incredibly available to YouTubers, we reject 93% of the brands that propose sponsorship opportunities. Grapevine only works with recognizable and reputable companies to promote products everyone can be proud of. Generally speaking, we decline to work with companies promoting illegal products, undergarments and low-quality items.
Can you take us through the creation of an account both on the creator side and on the brand side
For creators, it is as easy as connecting your YouTube channel with our platform. This simply allows us to verify ownership and automate stats on your sponsored videos. No funny business, I swear. And if you have more than 5,000 subscribers and create content that fits any of the verticals we focus on, you’re in. Afterwards, you can browse opportunities, pick the ones you like, pitch the brands on working together, then complete campaigns, and get paid instantly. Within days you can start earning money on Grapevine while growing your channel.
For brands, we walk you through a demo and start with free consultations on how best to leverage YouTube for your marketing needs. Since YouTube is an unfamiliar realm for many brand marketers, we take extra care to make sure they know exactly what they are signing up for and how they can benefit from our platform. Once you are in, you can launch your first campaign. In less than 24 hours, you’ll see proposals from top vloggers come in and you will have the opportunity to chat with and approve talent for the campaign. Then, our YouTube creators go ahead and do their magic; it’s up to you how involved you want to be throughout that process too! Soon, you’ll watch your sponsored content go live and just like that, you’ll see video views, comments, and — more importantly — sales skyrocket.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
For all New Media Rockstars readers out there: If you sign up for Grapevine and mention this article after creating your first branded video with our sponsors, I’ll send you a special gift. Sound good? Happy vlogging!
What are you waiting for? Check out what Grapevine can do for you and be share this article out with your friends so they can see what it can do for them!