Branded content is one of those buzzwords that is ringing around the film production industry. It comes in many different forms, from short videos to feature length films, podcasts to social projects.
In the run-up to the Brand Film Festival back in May, we ran through some nominations for the best branded content films of 2019. But what makes branded content so powerful? Allow us to enlighten you...
What is branded content?
In a nutshell, any great branded content campaign taps into the power of creative content and aligns it with a company’s commercial drivers. Branded content works by catching the attention of today’s discerning consumer and driving real engagement by associating a brand with content that shares its values.
Similarly to product placement, where advertisers pay for a brand to feature in films and TV, branded content works on the belief that by aligning with other elements of popular media, a little of its sparkle will rub off on you. It’s also a great strategy for transforming brand image, as companies can align themselves with current social trends and movements. Just look at Viva La Vulva, a music video created by Libresse to celebrate the natural female form, and sponsored by Bodyform.
Most importantly, branded content campaigns helps to counter the cynicism which faces a lot of traditional promotional commercials. In fact, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between editorial and branded content.
Let’s take Lego as an example. No, seriously. There are four Lego Movies with another currently in production, as well as numerous short films and TV series. On the surface, it may appear to be one long advert for a children’s toy, but it actually goes much deeper. The funny, family-friendly content associates the Lego brand with an emotional response which is likely to settle in our long term memory. Now that’s a branded content campaign done well.
Why should you care?
Whatever the brand, it’s pretty much guaranteed there will be content out there that speaks to your audience. Outdoor brand North Face champions adventure sports professionals, for instance, while beauty brand Dove launched a self esteem project that promotes body confidence. Missguided hit new sales highs when the fashion brand provided clothes to the Love Island contestants. But why are all these big brands jumping on board?
Branded content is shareable
Companies creating branded content usually do so for a reason, and giving it a relatable and impactful message can increase its reach. Take Nike’s ‘Nothing beats a Londoner’ ad as an example. Nike played to communities in London with a message that really resonated, turning the advert into a share-worthy piece of branded content.
Branded content is current
Generally, the potential reach of a branded content campaign is directly aligned with its timeliness. By involving current affairs in a digestible format, branded content has the potential to be shared with friends or across social audiences.
A great example of current branded content is Everlane’s “Renew Campaign”, pushing a new line of clothing made entirely out of recycled plastic. Cool, right?
Branded content gets recognition
Stop trying to interrupt your consumers and start delighting them instead. Today, audiences have more power than ever to pick and choose what they want to watch, and brands need to find a message that resonates with them if they stand any chance of holding their attention. Branded content campaigns are inherently worthy of a watch, as the creative is led by existing audience interests.
Branded content suits social media
Social media platforms are the best place to share content like this. One video post can lead to millions of views if it has an impactful message, and audiences help to share and even participate in the branded content campaign, giving it a life of its own.