Wakefit YouTube Strategy: When a brand dabbles in independent content creation

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda Wakefit

Wakefit ‘s Chaitanya Ramalingegowda talks about the brand’s YouTube channel, Home Time, explaining the various facets of building a separate content channel as a marketing strategy.

Over the last half-a-decade, Wakefit.co has been working towards creating content that’s entertaining and adds value to the lives of their consumers. Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Director and Co-founder, Wakefit.co tells us that they feel their content should make their consumer’s life better in some way.

“Even in all that entertainment, there will be some nugget of information about sleep, posture, or ergonomics. If it’s not entertainment, people won’t watch it at all. However, after you have got their attention, you must add value to their lives.” In sync with this thought process, the brand had launched a YouTube channel late last year — Home Time. Ramalingegowda tells us more about Wakefit’s Home Time, how it came about, the strategy at play, and where it’s headed.

Could you briefly explain the idea behind creating Home Time and how it fits into the narrative and brand image Wakefit.co plans to create for itself?

We look at YouTube as the top of the funnel channel for us. It is primarily used to build awareness about the brand. At Home Time, we are creating content that stands on its own two feet and Wakefit is being bundled together rather than putting the brand at the front. People should not feel that there was a brand messaging that they got because ultimately people go to YouTube for entertainment. We have removed these friction points by creating this content and entertainment channel. This is a different approach from that of our brand’s YouTube channel where the focus is on ad films around products, product usage, warranty, and campaigns. These two are very different in their DNAs.

Is the team working on Home Time separate from the one dealing with Wakefit’s content and strategy?

The brains behind the content are the same. It is the internal content team at Wakefit and the creative agency we always work with— Spring Marketing Capital. We have been working together for about two-and-a-half years now. They understand what we do and how we think as a brand. That is where content and ideas originate. What goes on Wakefit and what goes on Home Time is decided on very different frameworks. Home Time is much more focused on entertainment and engagement, pushing forward the message that a home is a central part of everybody’s life. Pure brand-related content goes on our brand’s channel. 

What is always in the pipeline or did Home Time happen because of the pandemic?

It was neither in the pipeline nor did it happen because of the pandemic. As our content team got stronger and as we understood our users’ preferences better, we realised what kind of content they like, what goes viral, what kind of searches they are doing to keep themselves busy/engaged, and what sources of information are they looking for — once we understood that we felt that it would be a much frictionless way to go down this path. Since this is not a brand channel, users tend to engage more openly. 

Also Read: Brands need to think of celebrity & influencer strategies as complementary to each other: Vineet Sharma

Wakefit could have collaborated with publishers to push this content — why do it all on your own?

There are a bunch of brands that have worked with publishers like TVF, Filtercopy and AIB to create some really successful properties. However, often the follow-up seasons are done with some other brands. The hard work of creating that IP and the risks involved in building it are all put in by the first publishers. However, the consequent seasons are done with other brands. It’s almost like a talent-for-hire situation and not really a long-term association. Also, when we work with content creators who have had their own channels for a long time, they have very clear boundaries and guard rails. If it’s our own channels, we are able to take bigger risks to push the envelop and really try something that we believe in — we don’t have to worry about anything else.

As a brand, you could have taken the call to stick to one publisher. Isn’t it more on the brand and less on the publisher?

Actually, no. The reason is that the publishers often come back with an escalated cost. They may have had 4 million subscribers when Season 1 was made. If the season is a dud, then anyway no one would renew it. However, if it’s a hit and the publishers are working with other brands too, they are likely to reach 8 million subscribers in that eight-nine month’s gap. So when it’s time for Season 2, the fees are likely to have gone up 40 to 50%. I mean it’s not wrong for they have built their community painstakingly but from a brand perspective, if you want to retain a property that you built collaboratively, you end up paying more for it. Season 3 is likely to get even more expensive. So it’s not just the creative freedom but also the price and the ability to partner. Also, we cannot put our brand’s long-term health on a publisher’s strength of platform or team. Brand safety is not the main concern but it is a concern.

When you are partnering with different publishers, you can pick and choose depending on their strengths and your goals, as required for specific campaigns. This may not be an option when you are creating your own audience. Is that a concern?

I think the most active TG online is also the TG that works for our brand — above 25, earning professionals who are living in different cities than where they were born and brought up. We are not as concerned about this yet because the overall base of internet subscribers itself is rising. This issue may rise five years down the line when internet saturation is very very deep and if would have to work with different publishers to reach diverse audiences but as of now, there is a huge influx of first-time, second-time users who are just understanding how things are. So we don’t foresee this as a concern right now.

Since Home Time is a separate channel in itself — do you foresee brand partnerships with other brands in say FMCG, electronic or e-commerce brands?

I have no idea honestly because all of these things sort of crop up when our volumes are huge — when we are having 5-6 lakh subscribers and each of our videos is getting a million or two views. Then, brands would also be interested in it. Right now, it’s at a small nascent stage where we are just trying to focus on getting the content right and ensure that the quality is good. We are not looking to make revenue from this. If it happens organically and if it makes sense to our audiences, we would definitely partner but it is not a goal for us to go after.