• Will Smith; Average Guy on the Street

    Online marketing, digital marketing, YouTube, BrandingI just watched a speech that Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) gave in June on YouTube. At the end of it, Vaynerchuk mentioned how certain companies and people have grasped how to leverage their brands in today’s highly convoluted marketplace. He said Will Smith is one of those people. Smith understands that being one of the most successful movie stars just doesn’t carry the gravitas as a brand that it once did. Smith understands this, even though he’s close in age to most of us who have been in business for twenty-plus years, including accomplished businesspeople, senior managers, and CEOs.

    This Casey Neistat YouTube video illustrates Vaynerchuk’s point: In the video, Smith drops by Neistat’s Manhattan studio for a tour. When he gets ready to leave in his limousine, all the fans on the street, except two, bypass Smith and congregate around Neistat, who has 10 million YouTube followers. It’s astonishing to see only two fans on a Manhattan street trying to get a picture with Smith or ask him for an autograph, while Neistat is deluged by fans—whoa!

    This is the future for your business marketing, folks. Social media and online marketing, where your company regularly pumps out compelling content—text, still images, and especially video—is like TV advertising was in the 1950s. It’s scary and exciting.

    It’s scary because most companies are still trying to understand how to do it correctly, just like the first brave advertisers who jumped into TV advertising in the 1950s. Google some of those early local or even national TV spots. They were awful in their execution.

    It’s exciting because, right now, it’s relatively cheap, and it’s completely democratized, creating a level platform for businesses of every size. You as a business can be a publisher and a TV network, instantly. And you don’t need an FCC license.

    The people we meet with at many companies understand that social media and online marketing are part of their marketing mix, but they dabble in it without developing a 365-day-per-year strategy.

    Some just post sales content without offering much value to their followers. Others don’t know how to optimize their posts for maximum engagement.

    Always check your engagement—the number of people interacting with your posts and the number of views your videos receive. Still images receive more engagement than text content does. And video content, especially if it’s compelling, receives more engagement than still images do.

    Many of us are guilty of not generating enough high-quality content. But if you put this in perspective, ten years from now, you may ask yourself what was so difficult about it. Of course, by then, all your competitors will have the same hindsight, and the cost to advertise on these platforms will be much greater.

    As an experienced marketing company, we know—even us guys who are not so young—that you will look back on this time as a golden opportunity for when your company should have begun to employ a well-developed and reasonably priced online marketing strategy.

    Will Smith has started his own YouTube channel seven months ago that chronicles his personal and professional life, albeit, it looks like he has hired professionals to shoot the video for him. Most YouTubers shoot their videos, themselves.

    Smith, a hometown Philly guy whom I had the pleasure of meeting during my early Philly radio days, looked a little befuddled out there on Broadway in New York City with only two fans around him. But at least he understands where he needs to go next to sustain his worldwide brand.

    Cerami Creative is a full-service digital and traditional marketing company founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1995. Cerami Creative has worked with national, regional, and local companies like Yuengling Beer, Penn Medicine, and Rita’s Water Ice. For a free evaluation of your company’s marketing strategy, contact Cerami Creative at or call 215-837-8194.