I have seen the future of YouTube, and it works!
Last week, I had "A Chat with Michael Fischer" at the Social Media & Video Strategies Forum in San Jose. Fischer is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.
We talked about coldwellbanker's Channel on YouTube, which offers consumers a new way to search for and interact with real estate information and listings. Named Coldwell Banker On Location, the channel was created back in May.
On Location is the first branded YouTube channel to use dynamic IP lookup to search for videos, which automatically serves up local results when visitors first hit the site. To create On Location, Coldwell Banker Real Estate closely collaborated with both YouTube and Google to develop what is arguably one of the most comprehensive and immersive brand channels on YouTube.
And I'm kicking myself for not mentioning this YouTube channel in my book, YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day, which I finished writing in May. It's like visiting Boston in April 1912 and missing a trip to Fenway Park, which had just opened that month.
Two areas of strategic focus set Coldwell Banker On Location apart from other real estate Web sites. First, it showcases the power of video to bring real state more vividly to life -- offering behind-the-scenes looks at towns and neighborhoods, smart tips and timely news on real estate topics, and video listings of homes for sale. Second, content posted to On Location has a strong emphasis on local information and insights, so consumers can dig deeper into the areas of the country that interest them most.
Supporting this highly localized perspective is one of the more unique aspects of Coldwell Banker On Location -- the ability to search for videos through a special map feature that has been developed specifically for the site. The map "widget" is a prominent feature at the top of the On Location site and the main starting point for consumers searching for a home, a specific area of the country or more information on a real estate topic.
Visitors to the site are automatically shown video search results from their own area / zip code. Then by clicking the link "Browse By Map," consumers can enter the city / state or zip code of their choosing - which pulls up all videos posted to On Location associated with that area. These video results are displayed as icons on the map.
Each search returns a wide range of video results, including video listings, spotlights on that local community and Coldwell Banker sales associate/representative profiles. Consumers can click through to view specific videos - as well as connect back to the main Coldwell Banker Web site to learn more about a specific property for sale.
At the end of the session, I interviewed Fischer about some of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate agents who add their individual personalities to the YouTube video experience.
Some of the video and written content for On Location is supplied by a select group of content providers, including the Associated Press, CNN, Reel Productions TV, This Old House and TurnHere. Coldwell Banker On Location complements the company`s main Web site at www.coldwellbanker.com - including the "Learn" section which features educational content as well as news articles and updates on the real estate sector. It extends the company`s social media strategy, which includes Facebook pages for the brand and its two founders, Colbert Coldwell and Arthur Banker, a Twitter feed and profiles on Flickr and FriendFeed.
In addition to using YouTube as a platform, Coldwell Banker Real Estate is using Google's ad networks and channels to promote On Location. This includes both Google and YouTube search ads, YouTube banner promotions and Google TV.
Development of the On Location site was a collaborative effort by Coldwell Banker interactive agency partners, FD Kinesis and Bootstrap Software, Inc.
I am especially impressed that the the nation's oldest real estate organization is also the most innovative. Coldwell Banker Real Estate is not only thinking outside the box when it comes to YouTube, it is also thinking outside the website when it comes to video marketing.