How Geico Became One of the Most Followed Brands on YouTube

Few can boast the success of an agency-client relationship like Geico and The Martin Agency. Their long-standing partnership has produced some of the most memorable characters and successful campaigns the advertising industry has seen.

In the above video, The Martin Agency’s Neel Williams, SVP group creative director, Matt Mattox, SVP group account director, and Danny Robinson, chief creative officer, unveil their unique approach to Geico’s brand, and how they continue to innovate on YouTube—having amassed almost 2 million followers and 140 million views across Geico’s channel. Here’s what you should take away:

Don’t restrict the brand

Brand guidelines are a useful tool for clients and creative makers alike, helping keep a consistent tone of voice across all communications. But sometimes rigid guidelines become a barrier to new opportunities.

Mattox explains: “Our view of the Geico brand is that it’s more of a wild animal that you appreciate, and you understand, and that you interact with. Because of that, we don’t tell the brand what it is.”

By collectively understanding the brand as a “feeling” and not buttoning down the guidelines, the agency avoids shutting down concepts too early. This gives the team more time to explore and develop ideas, before deciding whether or not they’re the right fit for Geico.

Specificity unlocks creativity

When working on a brief, considering the uniqueness of the product is a standard starting point. But there are more territories to unlock when you harness the uniqueness of your medium.

On working the specifics of YouTube into the creative idea, Mattox describes Geico’s approach: “YouTube has lots of different nooks and crannies to play with—all of those are opportunities to surprise and delight. For Geico it’s about finding some of those places people overlook or don’t always care about because those are opportunities for surprise.”

With a new perspective, the channels in the brief become just as fertile for creative thinking as a powerful proposition.

Entertainment is everything

Beyond a succinctly delivered message, brands can find additional value in building an audience, and entertainment is the key to unlocking that opportunity.

Williams explains” “Our approach specific to YouTube is to use every tool at our disposal to entertain and get people into our subscribership.”

Using every tactic from talking animals to sequels and unexpected twists, Geico has not only created memorable advertising, but an audience that waits in anticipation for the next ad.

Perfecting the format and nailing the intricacies of Geico’s tone are some of the milestones the brand and agency have reached in their journey to master YouTube.

As Williams highlights: “No one ad is going to make or break the brand.” The team has great freedom to try new things on YouTube—not only making it a rich environment to grow the Geico brand, but an invaluable home for millions of primed viewers.

This perspective originally appeared on Think With Google. For more videos like this visit Create with Google