Who would have imagined a world where small brand names would outpace big brands like Coca-Cola and Christian Dior? Well, take a look at Youtube, a place where David is easily beating up on Goliath. According to a new Touchstorm Video Index, only 74 brands rank among the top 5,000 YouTube publishers.

Blendtec is in the top 10, yet Pepsi and Coke are not. Paley Center for the Performing Arts made the list, yet top-five global brands like Apple, IBM and Microsoft do not. And how is it that Ford Models makes the list, but Ford Motor Company doesn’t? Certainly, there are some big brands having success on Youtube, but not nearly as much as you might expect. Unlike other major marketing channels, smaller companies are having just as much success as those big guys.

About one-third of the brands made the list by purchasing huge gobs of YouTube advertising, but the other two-thirds got there organically. Two smaller brands that made the top 25 include Original Skateboards and GoPro. To put this in perspective, these brands ranked higher than some well-known brands like Volkswagen, Footlocker, BMW, Toyota USA and Chanel. So how’d they do it?

Original Skateboards is a brand that appeals to a large niche audience of longboarders. Their original YouTube channel makes good use of visual content that keeps everyday enthusiasts coming back for more. They’re not just trying to sell skateboards. They are trying to sell a lifestyle.

But great content alone won’t create growth. Big brands like EA Sports, Lego and Chevrolet all have terrific content. However, the rubber is not meeting the road when it comes to connecting with audiences online. Take the brand GoPro, a developer of activity image cameras. What’s the big difference between GoPro and Nikon? GoPro made the list of top YouTube publishers. Nikon did not.

Think about it – a camera company that actually leverages visuals from the very products it creates to build its YouTube presence. What a concept. And GoPro does this very well with an effective campaign highlighting the benefits of sharing life’s most meaningful experiences.

The lesson for big brands? A steady mix of content and visuals must work to create an intimate connection with target audiences. This can’t be achieved through purchasing power – it can only be accomplished by addressing the real passions of real people.  If egos can be pushed aside, big brands can learn a lot by mimicking the strategies that make small brands successful online.

And the lesson for small brands is that, yes, you really can beat the big boys. The key is to keep your focus on your customers.