If you’re a marketing director, branded content is something you should be thinking about. Stop blowing your budget on traditional campaigns that fail to reach your core market. There is another way – read on to find out what we mean.
What is branded content?
The latest iteration of native advertising, branded content is designed to build awareness by associating a brand with content that shares its values.
Take Tasty, BuzzFeed’s food-based sub-brand, as a shining example. Last year, its branded videos accumulated one billion views on Facebook! Brands pay to feature their product in a recipe, which is then produced as an engaging video and shared on Tasty’s social channels.
It makes a lot of sense - how better to sell Vodka than showing how it can be used to create the perfect cocktail? The result is short, sweet and shareable – the perfect marketing mix.
Joe Pulizzi states that branded content sits somewhere between traditional advertising, which shouts about your product, and content marketing, which aims to create a loyal audience by identifying common challenges and offering solutions.
While branded content is more engaging than traditional advertising, it is less focused on relationship building than content marketing – it’s the best of both worlds!
Why should I care?
Whether it makes someone laugh, teaches them something or gives them inspiration, branded content works by encouraging consumer engagement and making the individual an active participant in your marketing campaign.
Traditional advertising, now often referred to as “interruptive advertising,” fails to do this.
“Branded content is the practicing of investing in compelling content, whether to inform or entertain, that as a result is able to create an immersive experience for the consumer,”
Chris Rooke at native advertising platform Nativo recently explained to DMNews.
“When you do that, you start affecting consumer perception, affinity, consideration, and those types of things. It's helpful content that naturally adds value and serves as a utility.”
Video is at the heart of the branded content movement
Branded video content is the natural lovechild of this marketing strategy, and it’s not heard to see why.
It’s predicted that by 2019, 80% of all content consumed online will be video. Driven by the proliferation of commercial-free streaming platforms and the short-form demands of social media platforms, video is taking over pretty much every digital channel going. It’s now being used more and more strategically by marketers to interact with potential customers.
It’s clear how a few minutes of branded video content is preferable to a 10-minute barrage of interruptive TV ads which are keeping you from enjoying your favourite show. The Netflix effect is having a huge impact on TV advertising, just as banner blindness has long impacted more traditional forms of digital advertising.
Branded video content, however, often comes in bitesize clips which fit more naturally into our lives. With the average person’s screen time at an all-time high, our constantly scrolling habits demand content which can be consumed within minutes, and on our schedules.
As a result, when viewers do stick around to watch branded content, advertisers have a better chance at winning over their audience. These individuals have chosen to engage, rather than being forced to watch as a way of getting to the next half of Coronation Street.
There are even rumours that branded content will eventually be shown on TV, satisfying consumer demand for short and engaging videos.
Authentic storytelling is key to capturing - and keeping - attention
Marketers’ views of brand storytelling have evolved over the past couple of decades.
“There is a real common recognition for brands that investing in content and honing their storytelling skills in order to cut through the clutter is now ‘table stakes’,” explains Andy Marks, President of consultancy Marks Entertainment + Media.
“But the proliferation of branded content also creates its own clutter. To stand out, the content better be good, or it won’t play.”
The general consensus seems to be that consumers don’t mind much about whether or not something is branded content – so long as it feels authentic and adds genuine value. Do you feel up to the challenge?
If you need a little help, The Gate is proud to have an incredibly talented roster of directors who can take your idea and grow it into fully fledged branded video content. Whether you are a brand with a product to promote, or a platform with a service to sell, we can help.