We talked to Fabienne Fourquet, CEO at 2btube, a creative agency, and digital producer that works with more than 250 brands developing influencer marketing, branded content, and paid media campaigns, and she had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Fabienne Fourquet: Thank you. Healthwise, everything is fine for my close family. Obviously, we all had to adapt to more work-from-home and school-from-home, which can be challenging with two young kids at home and no grandparents around!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded 2btube.
Fabienne Fourquet: I have always worked in the world of television. And, in my last position, as the head of digital at Canal+, I realized the potential YouTube had to truly connect with younger audiences. So I led the launch of Canal+ on this digital platform, with the creation of 20 channels dedicated to its brands and programs; CANAL+’s participation in Maker Studios and StudioBagel; and the development of the ‘multi-channel network’ of CANAL+ Talent Factory. One day, as I was talking with my friend Bastian Manintveld, who told me that he was fascinated by the fact that his daughters had swapped television in favor of YouTube videos on the iPad, was when we thought that a generational change was taking place that could revolutionize the consumption of audiovisual content as we knew it. And we saw it very clearly: needing to be part of that revolution.
By analyzing the market, we discovered that although there were many Spanish-speaking creators and the content published on YouTube in this language reached very important audiences, the companies, and professionals around this ecosystem had moved on a relatively small scale, allocating for few resources. It was the perfect opportunity to professionalize the sector and lay the foundations for what could become a great media company since each talent is, in itself, a means of communication with the capacity to reach millions of viewers.
And that was the origin of 2btube, a company that we created in Spain at the end of 2014 and which is now a reference in the sector, with a presence in Spain and Latin America; with an audience that exceeds 1,500 million views every month; and a portfolio of more than 250 national and international clients.
How does 2btube innovate?
Fabienne Fourquet: Innovation is part of our DNA due to the fact that everything in the digital world evolves and changes very quickly over time. Over the years, we have been expanding our services and scope of action, and though we started out as a representation agency for YouTubers, we are now a media agency, a marketing agency, a creative agency, and content producers.
Aside from this, now we not only carry out influencer marketing campaigns, but we also create and manage YouTube channels and profiles on other social networks for brands; produce branded content videos, spots, and/or fictional content; and we plan Paid Media campaigns on digital platforms. We have a creative department to design any type of strategy for brands, as we are YouTube’s premium partner to manage paid media channels and campaigns, along with Facebook’s “Third Party Partner” to manage Facebook and Instagram pages and accounts, therefore having access to premium tools to provide video protection and monetization services to owners of contents. Moreover, we manage the premium advertising inventory of the more than 500 channels that we have in our network and have even acquired a production company in Ecuador (Touché Films, who have created Enchufe.tv: the largest sketch channel in Spanish across the globe, with almost 50 million of followers in all its networks), which has ultimately allowed us to make the leap to make films for cinema and television.
Among our latest projects is precisely the creation of a division specialized in these productions for film and television (2bOriginals) and a company dedicated to the field of sports content (Knot). We have also launched TV-tube, a turnkey product so that any brand that wants to take its content marketing strategy to another level can do so through the creation of its own television channel on a digital platform such as YouTube or Twitch. And, of course, we have also adapted to the new booming audiovisual platforms such as TikTok, signing an alliance with Ac2ality, the world’s largest media outlet on this social platform.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Fabienne Fourquet: Fortunately, as we are a completely digital company, our activity has not come to an end. From the first moment of the pandemic, our team was able to telecommute and has adapted our productions to this new global situation. Although the general decline in advertising investments by advertisers has affected us, like the entire sector, we have come out stronger as a result of this pandemic, making our services more necessary than ever.
On the one hand, our audience figures have skyrocketed. Since there has been a massive digitization movement, platforms like YouTube now reach all segments of the population, not solely the younger audiences. This has made the platform a very attractive medium for any and all types of brands.
On the other hand, and in line with the above, companies that did not invest in digital advertising last year have now made the leap to the online world since that is where their audience is now. In short, digital marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing strategies have been the big stars since March 2020.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Fabienne Fourquet: Of course, although we have been very active, the first few months of the pandemic were times of great uncertainty for us. The pace of work was greatly reduced compared to other years, and we were forced to cut staff, as well as having to focus on the projects that generated the most income and not being able to invest in projects whose benefits were not going to be immediate. For example, we had to stop all of our own channel production to focus on productions for our clients.
But as a result, we have learned that we are much stronger than we thought and that we were able to continue meeting our level of excellence, despite having fewer people on our team. Likewise, it has also helped us to truly bet on projects that were worthwhile and not waste time with actions that consumed a lot of resources for the benefit that they generated.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Fabienne Fourquet: Since the creation of the company, our entire system is based on the concept of mobility, to be able to work from anywhere. Our team has laptops, all of our documents are in the cloud, and we have always worked with collaborative tools such as the Google Suite (Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations). With that perspective in mind, it’s easy to say that nothing has changed.
Yet, with this ongoing crisis, we have intensified the use of video calling tools such as Hangouts or Skype, and, especially, we have taken advantage of Zoom to organize meetings with the entire company and webinars for our clients and talents.
At the organizational level, we have increased the meetings between the management team to speak several times a week, instead of once a week or every two weeks as we did before the pandemic.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Fabienne Fourquet: As we currently offer such varied services, we cannot say that we have a unique competitor profile since the fact is that 2btube actually works with many companies that are similar to us in “marketing terms,” which could also be considered competition.
For example, if we refer to the influencer marketing sector, there are hundreds of representation agencies and, instead of competing with them, what we do is work with them by hiring their services if they have influencers who are very well suited to a brand that we are we are currently managing a campaign for – and vice versa: they hire us when they need one of our talents for their specific clients.
If we refer to the world of content production, co-production agreements are also made, or services are outsourced depending on the needs that we have.
And lastly, with media agencies, with which we compete in the service of paid media campaigns on social networks, we also work with because only we can sell premium advertising in our inventory. That is, if one of your clients wants to reserve the entire advertising inventory of any of the channels in our network, only we, through our Google Ad Manager, can do so.
Your final thoughts?
Fabienne Fourquet: “Knowing where the audience is and learning to connect with the public wherever they are” is the philosophy in which 2btube was born and which continues to guide our direction today. For this reason, I believe that both influencer marketing and the audiovisual production sector, content marketing, or social media marketing (where social commerce is booming), are very promising. In addition, many companies are transforming, taking into account these strategies and digital communication platforms because they have become essential for their business development. And as a result, that is why we continuously adapt to new trends and platforms, incorporate new services and specialize in new social networks.
Human beings have always told each other stories, be it speaking, in books, on television, or on social media. The medium changes, but as long as we know how to update ourselves to offer the content that the audience demands, the future of the sector and, of course, of 2btube is assured.
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