Branding Strategy

Brand Series: The First Take – ONE TAKE ONLY, ONE LIFE ONLY

The First Take is one of the fastest growing YouTube Music Channel that gain a lot of tractions especially to those audience that loves Japanese Music or Anime. According to the channel gains over 100 million views just in 5 months time after they launch. And around 2.87 million subscribers on their YouTube Channel.

They have been on my working playlist for quite some time, the song I recently repeated the most is definitely LiSA – homura / THE FIRST TAKE. Ok so let’s talk about why I want to review this interesting music channel. Hey, not many SME produce music right? But then let’s see how they utilize brand differentiation strategy on growing their channel. You might learn something on why they are so successful.


The First Take – What’s the difference?

You can have a lot of YouTube channel inviting musician, do music review, music reaction but None of the channel invite Artist or Musician to perform in one single take. That is The First Take!

What’s the difference you ask. The answer is in they know what their audience wanted and redefine the way they listen music in a clear and simple way. They invite known Japanese musician, and perform in a white room, with High End Equipment, record everything in ONE TAKE.

Let us review this successful brand and how it wins over so many music channel on YouTube.

A clear Brand Message = Clear win

A clear brand message communicates clearly. The clearest communicator win. The concept are so simple that in 3 sentences you know what they are doing. These line showcasing their brand differentiation is written everywhere on their social media. You can find these in their TikTok, Twitter and Instagram.


Google Translate:

A microphone placed in a white studio.
There is only one rule here.
Do a one-shot performance.

Their slogan ONE TAKE ONLY, ONE LIFE ONLY also clearly communicates their brand message. And it shows the quality and standard of the video they produced. Because you only have one life.

What their audience Want? Better Music? No!

If you ask the listener on any music channel, they will tell you because the music and video is nicer. But is it? On the surface they tell you it is better. But if you listen closely and observer, they wanted something different. Is the video better? No, anyone can have a white room or a super nice room, it is not the design. And if you ask any videographer out there they would tell you this kind of cinematography is easy.

The Music is better?? Not quite, it should be the REPRESENTATION IS DIFFERENT.

A better Music = recording in one single take.

It is different, not better. A better music is represented by recording artist singing in just one single shot or recording. Audience process different representation as something New and Unique to them, that is why people go for The First Take. They don’t tell their audience we are better but their brand message is One Shot Performance.

Authenticity, Raw & Real

In this digital era when everything can be fake and virtual, being real is to be different. The channel showcasing the authenticity clearly in a simple white space. Common practice in the music industry always involves few rounds of recording until the song come out in a release. The singer will have quite a lot of chances to sing. But what if only one chance, one shot? You never hear the same thing twice, it is pure like a live performance. Oh YEAH!
The authenticity showing the realness giving audience an opportunity to see the experience happening onset. The expression of the artist, their breathing, warming up techniques before the record, everything in one shot bringing out the true essence of the artist. This creates personal and a more intimate experience for the audience to be with the artist. What a fan wants? To see their artist in live because it is real. (Hey that’s why people paying so much to go concert to listen live music)

HOT Artist as a fan Magnet

Like how Nike bring out their brand as a preferred brand by great athletes, they are quite similar. The First Take invites hot and famous artist like LiSA (due to Kimetsu no Yaiba series) who champ over 120 + million views in the channel itself. By inviting great artist to collaborate together and their fans flock in. I want to support LiSA because I’m her fan and her singing is real! Then I share the video around Facebook. That’s me, I shared like 10 times at least on my Facebook profile. Hahaha.. Power of Fans! Another group will be YOASOBI – Yoru ni Kakeru that has over 68M views, hot artist, hot fans. In a short time, you get over 100 M views is not an issue. They invited a lot of current HOT and Big song artist which act as a magnet for their hotness.
Without ads, your fans will get more views for you through sharing the video. Because these zombie fans will spread your brand virus. And why not heat it up a little. Hey see that’s my idol, the one I like, she can sing so damn well in one take! Watch this! 
They have over 100 + videos for great Japanese Music taken in a single shot, follow them here: YouTube

The Man Behind: Keisuke Shimizu

Credit definitely needs to be given to Keisuke Shimizu, Art Director at TBWA\HAKUHODO, the YouTube music channel THE FIRST TAKE (run by THE FIRST TAKE Project). Thanks to him and the team, we got this amazing brand of Music channel challenge the norm and standout from the rest.
Some background from the source:
Shimizu leads advertising and branding for global clients, with work that has won international awards, including Gold Cannes Lions, ADC Grand Prix, and Clio Awards Grand Prix. He has also been awarded personally as JAAA Creator of the Year 2018 and Campaign Asia Creative Person of the Year in 2019.
Not just an guy, but yea his background is legit. He knows what the audience wants and position the brand differently from the start. Branding doesn’t wait until last minute when you big only then you do. You have to start branding from day one of your business. Take note SME Owners. Follow Shimizu on his Instagram.


The First Take at this time when I write this article is definitely something big in the JPOP industry. Their speed and uprising of their Music Channel is not something that JPOP lovers can ignore. To learn more about them, here is their official website:

So how do you as an SME Owner find your strength and redefine better music, or nicer song? How do you tell people that your products are better than competitors? Are going to say we are better or tell them how different you are? The answer definitely is to be different.

If you feel like to connect with us to design your own brand differentiation strategy, you can click here: Talk to Us

You can also follow Shen Feng on social media to learn more on branding :

Image Sources

The First Take YouTube:
The First Take TikTok:
The First Take Twitter:


Shen Feng

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