NEW YORK: Schick, the razor brand, believes that partnerships with YouTube stars, if leveraged in the right way, can help brands engage millennials more effectively than traditional celebrity endorsements.

Jen Yomoah, a brand manager at Edgewell – Schick's parent company – discussed this subject at MediaPost's Engage: Millennials conference in New York.

Schick Hydro's recently launched "Make it Epic" campaign asked three highly popular YouTubers – Devin Graham, Harley Morenstein and Stuart Edge – to create videos featuring its product.

And these digital ambassadors helped the brand authentically feed into the millennial passion points of adventure, food and comedy.

"One of the important things that millennials value is trustworthiness and the idea of authenticity and realness," said Yomoah. (For more, including early campaign results, read Warc's exclusive report: Digital influencers smooth Schick's path to millennial engagement.)

"If you think about it, celebrities are sometimes perceived as having this persona, this public image that they have to uphold.

"Whereas a YouTube personality: really, millennials might see them as someone like them who just happens to have 20m other people who are commenting on them throughout the world."

Schick Hydro's strategy was inspired by various compelling statistics, including the learning that some 63% of 13-24-year-olds would consider purchasing products recommended by YouTube stars.

"It's because they really view the content that's shared by these people as being engaging, extraordinary and relatable," Yomoah said.

"It's content that's real; it's content that they feel trustworthiness towards, because … it is people like them who are talking to them about brands and messages."

Among the other numbers hinting at the power of this approach was research showing that social influencers delivered an earned-media value of $6.85 for every $1 spent on paid media.

"If you think of the larger imprint that a video – especially a video put out by a YouTube star – might generate, you could see how that ROI might be something that's very strong," said Yomoah.

She also reported that an estimated 80% of online impressions are driven by 6% of users, a figure with major implications for marketers.

"And this 6% is that grouping that you would consider the influencers, so why not tap into that group to get the maximum impressions that we can get?" asked Yomoah.

Data sourced from Warc