Influential Influencer: Casey Neistat
Many brands start small. Even the mighty McDonald’s was founded by failed film-making cinema-owners.
But not many can claim to have started smaller than YouTube content creator, Casey Neistat. At the age of just fifteen, Casey ran away from home, dropped out of high school and found himself living in a trailer park with a baby on the way. His work as a dishwasher barely paid the bills, and prospects for the future looked bleak.
Now, with over 5.5 million subscribers on the video platform and 1.8 million followers on Instagram, Casey is conquering visual media in the digital space.
Casey began film-making in his free time, with his first major YouTube success coming with his video expose on bike-lane obstruction in the city. This first success was followed up shortly thereafter with a piece of sponsored content for Nike for their #MakeItCount campaign. That video now has over 22 million views. Check it out below:
Since then, Casey has begun posting regular daily videos on YouTube which tend to receive between 1 and 2 million views.
His videos are honest, kinetic and beautiful. He turned the YouTube practice of ‘vlogging’ on its head by adding a cinematographic quality that many others on the platform are lacking. It’s that unique film-making style that draws in the crowds.
And that is what makes him not just an influencer, but a trusted brand in his own right. It’s why Emirates Airline recently gave him a free upgrade to first-class, and why his video of that event, though not directly sponsored, did wonders for the airline, with over 25 million views.
So, though companies have used Casey to promote their films or their products, his followers and fans trust him so much that it’s almost certainly better to take the Emirates approach: send him a great product or offer him a cool experience, and his infectious child-like joy on camera will do the rest.
Casey’s management of his personal brand also offers a lesson in content strategy, as his daily videos can very much be used as an instruction manual for how brands should approach content: be available to your audience, provide high-quality content and, most importantly, be yourself. Your audience will love you for it.