Telling brand stories that matter


Gabby Roxas, Marketing Head, Google Philippines

The past year has brought a multitude of changes in our lives leading us to confront problems and challenges we never faced before–and the same is true for marketers.

Brands have pivoted and risen above the challenge to tell not just meaningful but effective stories. This is one of the reasons that inspired us to launch YouTube Works awards in the Philippines–to recognize the most creative and outstanding digital video content on the platform and set the bar even higher with how marketers tell brand stories and communicate with consumers. Brands and agencies can still submit their entries until April 20, 2021 via

For YouTube Works, good brand stories are creative and able to elicit emotions while delivering on goals and objectives. However, telling stories in the middle of a pandemic calls for a more specific approach. Here are some tips to harness the creative effectiveness of YouTube during these times:

1. Anticipate and embrace change 

Without a view of when uncertainties will come to an end, it is vital for brands to focus their attention on two things: what consumers want to hear and solutions to problems that did not exist pre-pandemic. It could be as simple as recreating outdoor experiences, hacking DIY versions of products, connecting people, or even giving a sense of normalcy in such challenging times. 

2. Step up and stand out

With more brands moving to advertising online, there is a need for marketers and agencies to create effective, but more importantly, distinct ads. As most consumers engage with content online, it has become easier and faster to understand how they respond, and brands can leverage this to rethink how they make ads.

3. Put your confidence into the power of experimentation

Understand that there is no one way or single formula to produce a sure-hit–it’s always a matter of testing what works and what doesn’t. The process helps brands identify creative formats that resonate with their audience, whether they are longer or shorter ads, scripted or unscripted, or perhaps engaging them through co-creation or crowdsourcing. Ultimately, it has to be something that makes it more relatable and connected.

4. Personalization is key

Identifying demographics is helpful, but listening to signals is what brands need now. It is important to tap into what’s happening in people’s lives and what they care about, and use that to tune materials according to the audience. For example, celebrity or creator collaborations are more engaging when they are humanized. Showing their daily lives and how they navigate through the pandemic is a way to make content relatable.

5. Let resourcefulness take the lead

The pandemic is a test of wayfinding amidst the chaos. With large-scale productions put into a halt, marketers and creative partners need to uncover creative hacks that are equally as effective. Among many others, they can always reimagine existing assets, use reinvigorating animations, and leverage on the endless possibilities of editing. 

The pandemic continues to challenge all of us–including how brands tell their stories. While we may have a few lessons by now on how to navigate the uncertainty of the times, it continues to affect how brands build campaigns and narratives. This also means that every day, brands have the opportunity to tell meaningful stories–stories that give hope and create an impact. Let’s continue to tell stories that matter.

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