.CEO Member Piece: Branding Genius: 800 Million Youtube views in 12 months?

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    Over 800 million views.
    3.9 million subscribers.
    All in 12 months.
    And all from someone we didn’t know.

     In one of the most cutthroat slots on TV: late night. (After all, Jimmy Fallon had already mastered turning his late night show into a YouTube social media powerhouse.)

    So, how did James Corden go from “Who the hell is this?” to “I cannot wait for the next Carpool Karaoke!”? The most popular episode has garnered over 95,972,000 views in the the last 60 days (featuring 14 minutes in a car on the streets of London and some incredible harmonies with none other than Adele).

    PLUS James has an amazing 6.6 million followers on Twitter compared to the Late Late Show which has slightly over 263,000 followers, a demonstration of how much fans have embraced this newcomer.

    In short, it’s pure marketing and branding genius.


    Craig Ferguson had his loyal fan base—so who was going to follow in his wake?

    Someone we never heard of: some Brit named James Corden.

    He was an unlikely choice being a new personality.

    But isn’t every startup a “new personality” nobody’s ever heard of before?

    It’s the job of anyone new, any new product or brand and marketing in general to shake things up and be fearless.

    So what are the qualities that makes something catch on like wildfire?

    James Corden gives some insight into the amount of stubborn insistence it takes to break through:


    And here he tells, during his Entertainment Weekly cover shoot, what it took when everyone said “No” to his requests to join him in his Carpool Karaoke skit:



    There are a handful of qualities that make a marketing and branding genius and in this case, a YouTube sensation. Here they are:

    1. Being stubborn as hell. Call it stubborn, call it relentless, call it thick-skinned insistence and relentless obnoxiousness. I call it conviction. Conviction that your vision is valid despite how many people don’t yet agree with you (not letting others inability to connect the dots determine whether or not your idea is valid).

    2. Following a hunch based on a passionate insight into what’s possible. Some people can put it into words and others simply have a knack for observing those little subtle connecting dots that others miss.

    3. Going big or go home. That was the approach James Corden seemed to take in every skit he did, from his underwear commercial with David Beckham to a skit with Tom Hanks covering every famous scene from Hanks’ movies. In this case, it was looking for that one first great singer to join him. How many doors were closed or phone calls abruptly ended before he landed Mariah Carey? Which has since opened the door for joyous collaborations with the likes of Adele, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Chris Martin, Carrie Underwood, Sia, Jennifer Hudson and Iggy Azalea that we are each thrilled to watch as if in the back seat and overhearing this awesome moment of spontaneous creation.

    4. Embracing your courage more than your fears. Courage is simple: it’s putting into action what many simply think about. James was willing to be courageous in his belief that this was a context that had been overlooked while creating an environment that was safe for the singers to simply let their hair down and “hang out.”

    5. Being joyous. It’s that quality that many startups and entrepreneurs forget about once they get into the day-to-day routine. Yet those who remember that and don’t lose that joy are the ones we remember most.

    6. Knowing that being different is a necessity, not a luxury. This is what Corden was able to embrace, like any company that becomes a real brand, finding a unique voice that others overlooked.


    How wild are you willing to be to make your mark? (The correct answer is, “You name it, I’m all in.”)

    How much do you believe in your vision and brand? (The correct answer is, “More than your calculator can demonstrate on its display.”)

    How many obstacles are you willing to encounter before you give up? (The correct answer is“Bring it on.”)

    Your answers to those questions will determine how fast you put into effect the 6 qualities to unleash your branding genius. 

    Now. Is. The. Time.


  • David Brier

    About David Brier

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