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Creator Sessions: Getting Animated with Storybooth – View In 2 | YouTube Advertisers

Creator Sessions: Getting Animated with Storybooth – View In 2 | YouTube Advertisers

Hi, I’m Steph. And this is “View in 2
Creator Sessions,” our series interviewing YouTube creators
about the content they make and how they work with brands. Today we’ll be chatting with
Josh Sinel from Storybooth about how YouTube is a
platform driven by its users– a videocracy. Let’s dive in. Hey, Josh. Thanks for coming to LA. JOSH SINEL: Thanks
for having me. STEPHANIE WENDELIN:
Can you tell us a little bit about Storybooth? JOSH SINEL: Sure. Storybooth is a
platform we designed that takes real stories
from young people in their own words,
with their own voices. We select the ones we
think make the most sense, animate them, and post them
on our channel, Storybooth. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: And
why did you guys start it? JOSH SINEL: We looked
around at the media that we saw all these
young people consuming. And we saw a lot of
sugar-coated stuff, a lot of perfect
worlds we didn’t think were really very
accurate or authentic, or we saw really
prescriptive content that seemed to be talking
down to this generation. We wanted to create a space
where this content was really raw and authentic and
real and not sugar-coated. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: When you
set out to make the content, what’s your goal? JOSH SINEL: We’re
very mission-driven. Our goal is to leave the
audience in a better place than they were when they came. There’s a lot of boxes
to check when you’re launching a channel like this. And one of them was,
is it going to do that? Is it going to have this impact
that we so desperately want it to have? And we get comments back
that, really, we’ve saved, we’ve printed. “This story saved my
life”– stuff like that. That’s what really– STEPHANIE WENDELIN:
Gives you chills. JOSH SINEL: Yeah,
it’s what makes us do this stuff again and again. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: And we
talk a lot about YouTube as a videocracy. It’s a place where the content
that gets made for the platform is really driven by
what users are asking for– views, data, comments. How does that relate
to your community? JOSH SINEL: Well,
in a very basic way, we source the stories
directly from this community. So not only is it
aspirational somehow– maybe my story will be chosen– but you know that these
things are top of mind. We can see the volume of them. We understand that
if we’re getting 10,000 stories about
one topic, it’s probably a pretty important topic. STEPHANIE WENDELIN:
And they’re involved in every step of the
way, from the merch that you guys are making. JOSH SINEL: Yeah. Yeah. We leverage this audience. They respond to polls like
nothing we’ve ever seen before. And we ask them everything. What color T-shirt
do you guys want? What products haven’t we
thought of that you might want? What stories do you
want to see more of? And they tell us,
which is amazing. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: When you’re
looking to source the ideas and you’re deciding on
which stories to create, what are some of the factors
that you’re looking at? JOSH SINEL: Well, of course,
we’re looking at that volume. And is there a concentration
somewhere in that volume that we can identify? But we’re also looking at
what’s going on in the world and what we see happening
and ideas we have about what these young people
may need to see or want to see. And we’re trying to
get very current, too. So when something as tragic as
Parkland happened last year, we got stories. And we chose a story
and published it. So I think we also have found
that we can really be very current with this audience. And this audience
is very tuned in. They want that. They want to understand
and share these experiences while they’re happening. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: So it
is an art and a science. And it sounds like
you’re taking the data, but then you’re also
thinking about what’s timely, what’s happening in the world. And then on an everyday level,
what are these young people going through at school? And what are the stories that
you can tell that remind them that they’re not alone? JOSH SINEL: That’s
absolutely right. And look, that was a catalyst
for the whole beginning, was to let young people
know that whatever it is they’re going
through, they’re not going through it by themselves. And I think we see
that in the community. We see that in the engagement. We see that in the
numbers and the views. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: Yeah. So it is a very
emotional connection. And you’re talking a lot
about sensitive subjects. When we get into
working with brands, how do you weave a message
into Storybooth content that feels authentic
and still delivers on the emotional connection? JOSH SINEL: I think
the keyword is to have sensitivity
to what the story is and what the audience
is looking at. And you can’t crowbar
a brand into it. It has to really occur. So I think context
is really important. Does the brand make
sense to the story? And then having a light touch– I think this audience is really
sensitive to how hard they’re being sold versus how
invested a brand is, actually talking to them. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: Yeah. So it’s about that
brand walking the walk, in terms of the values that the
audience has and showing them that the brand
has the same ones. JOSH SINEL: Right. And to us, that’s the key, is
if a brand can show the audience or be there with the
audience at a time when they can say, we care about
this, too, we’re with you– to us, that’s the most powerful
message a brand can deliver and the most effective. STEPHANIE WENDELIN:
And you’ve done that with brands like PetSmart. JOSH SINEL: Yeah, PetSmart
was a great example, because talk about an
emotional connection, we have a great rescuing
abandoned kittens story. And it really brought itself
up to an emotional sort of crescendo and,
at that moment, was the perfect moment
to bring PetSmart in. Now, contextual–
this young storyteller has to go to the pet store
to get all these supplies to care for these kittens. So we had her go to a PetSmart. It just made perfect sense. It didn’t feel at all forced. And then at the
end, to go back to that “brands care about what
you care about” being a really strong message,
our end card just said, “PetSmart cares about
you and the pets you care for.” It worked. Yeah, it was great. STEPHANIE WENDELIN:
So last question– do you have any
advice for brands who are looking to connect
with viewers on a deeper level in this space? JOSH SINEL: I think brands
have to look at creators a little bit differently. It’s not just sort of a
one-way broadcast medium now, where it’s
just a megaphone. It’s really a place to be with
and connect with the audience. So if brands start using
creators more like a bridge to get to the audience, I
think that’s a much better way than just using them as sort
of an amplifier to turn up the volume on the message. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: Yeah. And also, as a
consultant, because you guys have so much information
about this audience and insight into what makes them tick. JOSH SINEL: That’s
really important, too, is that I don’t think anybody
knows these audiences better than the creators who
are literally working with them every day,
with the audiences, to give them the
content they want. So if brands could tap into that
knowledge in a more formal way, I think they’d learn a lot more
about their audience, for sure. STEPHANIE WENDELIN: Thank
you so much for coming. JOSH SINEL: Thank you. Thanks for having me. STEPHANIE WENDELIN:
And thank you for watching this
creator session. If you enjoyed this episode,
please like and subscribe. And don’t forget to check
out Storybooth on YouTube for more real stories, animated. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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