You see ads everywhere, right? They are all over the place – on the streets, online, and even in your inbox. It’s like they are constantly trying to get you to buy something or take action. Studies show that we are bombarded with around 6,000 ads every day. It’s no wonder our attention spans are getting shorter with this information overload.
So, how can businesses stay afloat and not get lost in this ad jungle? Branding designers have a solution: branded content.
What does branded content mean? It’s a concept that combines traditional storytelling with modern marketing tactics. The goal is to grab people’s attention naturally and show them the real value of the brand, without being sales-oriented.
In simple terms, branded content tells a story about startups in a way that connects with people on a personal level. Honesty and authenticity are important here, not just selling stuff. This approach gives startups a chance to stand out in the crowd of ads and be noticed by their target audience. It’s a paid tactic, but it feels more genuine and relatable to users.
Branded content is like a breath of fresh air in the world of advertising. It cuts through the noise and helps businesses create meaningful connections with their customers. This guide will show you how branded content is great for modern marketing to ensure your brand gets the attention and loyalty it deserves. Let’s get started!
Understanding Branded Content Meaning & Definition
Here’s a branded content definition:
Branded content is about creating a strong connection between your brand and your audience by evoking emotions and sharing your brand’s values.
Unlike traditional advertising, branded content focuses on telling stories, entertaining, and educating your audience without resorting to forceful sales tactics.
The key is to build trust with your consumers, and that’s where branded content excels.
Instead of promoting specific products or services, branded content centers around your brand’s mission and what it stands for.
It’s about making a social statement and engaging your audience on an emotional level.
Through storytelling, you can create content that resonates with your audience and strengthens the bond between them and your brand.
Whether it’s through videos, articles, or social media posts, branding content adapts to different mediums and channels to reach your audience.
Pros & Cons of branded content
Let’s keep it simple and straightforward. Branded content campaigns have more pros than cons, but let’s quickly look at both sides.
On the cons side:
- Results take time. Patience is key as it may not yield immediate outcomes.
- It requires skills and experience to see significant results.
- Consistent creativity is needed to keep coming up with fresh content ideas.
- Ongoing evaluation and adjustments are essential since content marketing is ever-changing.
Now, on the pros side, there are some compelling reasons to embrace a branded content campaign:
- Costs stay low as you can handle the work in-house without costly advertisements.
- You reach an audience that prefers avoiding traditional ads.
- It builds brand awareness, loyalty, and trust among your audience.
- Increased traffic and conversion rates as quality content attracts and persuades organically.
- It supports other marketing areas, like SEO, to strengthen your brand even more.
Considering the pros and cons, a branded content campaign can be a highly effective and worthwhile marketing strategy for your brand.
Advantages of investing in branded content
Are you curious about the advantages of investing in branded content? Let me break it down for you.
First things first, branded content isn’t meant to directly generate leads or boost sales like traditional content marketing does. Instead, it plays a different role – it focuses on building positive sentiment and likability for your brand, which can eventually lead to more dollars in your pocket.
One of the best things about branded content is that it’s not invasive. Unlike other digital marketing tactics that disrupt your audience’s experience, branded content naturally attracts viewers by offering them an engaging narrative. And guess what? That creates an emotional connection with your audience, something that’s hard to achieve but so valuable.
If your branded content is executed well, it can go viral for all the right reasons! It’s shareable and fun, so it can spread like wildfire beyond your traditional marketing channels.
Branded content can actually change how people perceive your brand. It gives them a new perspective, not just a repeated slogan or bragging about how great you are. This fresh approach can win over those who may have ignored you or had negative impressions before.
Branded content is all about engagement. It’s not just trying to get you to buy something; it’s creating an immersive experience that deeply resonates with your audience.
And don’t worry about traffic – even though branded content isn’t primarily designed as a lead generation method, it can still drive traffic to your website. People will want to learn more about your brand and what you do after experiencing your captivating content.
Exploring Branded Content Examples
Let us delve into a diverse range of examples of branded content that captivates brand campaigns that have left a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.
Apple knows its marketing game inside out, and it took it up a notch with the debut of Apple TV and its original series, The Morning Show. The show boasts A-list talent, gripping storylines, and loads of drama.
Apple cleverly integrated its own products into the show. It’s not in-your-face product placement; it feels natural because, let’s be real, these characters would use Apple tech in their daily lives. It showcases the importance of Apple products.
Wistia is a video software company that’s all about brand affinity marketing. They have learned from their past ad campaign mistakes and have now shifted their focus to creating emotional connections with their audience.
To showcase this approach, they went all-in and launched their own video studio to shoot a documentary called “One, Ten, One-Hundred.” They challenged a video production studio to create three ads with different budgets, exploring the relationship between money and creativity.
The documentary takes you through the entire process, and you get to see the three different projects completed on budgets of $1,000, $10,000, and $100,000. It was so impressive that it even won a Webby Award! Wistia’s commitment to brand affinity is a shining example of how to build meaningful connections with your audience.
GE is a giant company and knows its diverse audience well. They have tapped into the science-fiction genre’s popularity to create a unique podcast called The Message. In this podcast, an alien transmission from the past becomes a fascinating puzzle that characters must solve. GE cleverly integrates its own technology into the story to decode the message. It’s a creative way to showcase their portfolio and capture more attention.
The podcast was a hit! It received over 1.2 million downloads, proving that a great story can go viral and engage audiences.
As a major player in the advertising world, Facebook realized that marketing can be overwhelming, especially for small businesses. To educate their audience, they launched Facebook Blueprint – a series of quick, online courses. These courses don’t try to sell their tools; instead, they offer valuable tips for using Facebook’s resources.
By providing value and knowledge through Facebook Blueprint, they strengthen their relationship with marketers and businesses without being overly salesy. It’s a smart move that demonstrates how valuable education can be in creating a stronger bond with your audience.
Unveiling the Difference: Branded Content vs Content Marketing
The similarities and differences between content marketing and branding content can sometimes be a bit blurry. But let’s clear them out today.
Focus on creating value content: First things first, both strategies are centered around creating valuable content to engage with potential customers in a non-intrusive manner. They want to connect with users naturally, using various content formats related to your industry.
Elicit a response from users: Both content marketing and branded content aim to elicit a response from users, drawing them in and educating them about your brand. They want to spark interest and keep the audience engaged with other forms of content.
But wait, there’s more to it! Now, let’s talk about the differences.
Content marketing is more focused on creating informative, useful, and relevant content to attract and retain customers. It’s about building trust and authority in your industry by providing valuable information to your audience.
On the other hand, branded content puts your brand at the forefront of the storytelling. It’s about creating an immersive experience that connects emotionally with your audience. Branded content aims to showcase your brand’s values and personality, making it stand out in the minds of your customers.
Content marketing is a more traditional online communication strategy that we often see in business blogs. The main goal here is to educate consumers about various aspects of the industry. This approach empowers users to make informed decisions when they visit your website.
Now, while content marketing is important for your brand, we suggest connecting it with an Inbound methodology to boost conversions. Inbound content campaigns start by distributing valuable content offers like eBooks, guides, and downloadable infographics through blog posts. When users download these resources and share their contact information, you can implement email marketing actions that support the entire campaign. Additionally, social media strategies can be used to promote the content. By providing value through these efforts, you build trust with your contacts, leading to more direct conversations.
On the other hand, branded content takes a more playful approach. It’s not just about providing value; it aims to entertain and leave a lasting impression on users’ memories. Branded content taps into emotions to excite potential customers, often relying on storytelling, especially in audiovisual formats. It’s not like traditional advertising; it goes beyond that, sometimes even using gamification.
The objective of branded content is to showcase your brand’s values and improve the image that users have of it. However, the interesting thing about branded content is that it doesn’t directly associate the brand with the content. For example, if you create a video, your brand is just a circumstantial element within the storytelling.
So, while both content marketing and branded content use valuable content to engage users, the main difference lies in their focus. Content marketing educates and builds trust, while branded content highlights your brand’s unique story and personality. Both approaches have their strengths, and using a combination of both can ensure you reach your brand’s objectives.
Content marketing focuses on education and empowering users, while branded content aims to entertain, evoke emotions, and enhance the brand image without being overtly promotional. Both strategies have their unique strengths and can complement each other in your overall marketing efforts.
Branded Content Strategy
Let’s talk about the essential elements of a successful branded content strategy:
Brand guidelines. The foundation of any strategy is your brand’s identity, values, and mission. It sets the tone for all your content.
Goals and objectives. While branded content aims to connect with customers personally and deliver value, it’s still important to define clear and measurable objectives. Determine relevant metrics, achievable results, and a timeframe to track your progress.
Well-defined target audience: Understanding your audience helps create content that addresses their specific needs and entertains them, leaving a positive and lasting impression. Developing customer personas can reveal unique insights about your target customers.
Market and competitor analysis: Analyzing the market and your competitors will fine-tune your branded content to meet the burning needs of customers. It also helps develop a marketing strategy that sets you apart from other brands.
Right platform: There are plenty of platforms to connect with your audience, like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, each with its own advantages. YouTube, for example, is great for reaching specific target audiences and releasing mini-series or short movies co-created with celebrities to build connections step by step. On the other hand, TV is ideal for broader coverage and for creating short yet grand content.
The proper gamut of emotions: This is crucial for a successful branded content strategy. Your story should revolve around an important theme that resonates with the audience and evokes a specific range of emotions. Tugging at consumers’ heartstrings drives engagement, strengthens customer loyalty, and inspires them to continue doing business with you.
Real stories and people: Featuring real people in your best branded content allows your audience to truly see themselves and understand how your company can help them. Authenticity goes a long way in building trust and credibility.
These elements work together to create a compelling branded content strategy that leaves a lasting impact on your audience and helps you achieve your marketing goals.
Brand Content Development: Best Practices for Developing an Effective Branded Content Strategy
Let’s talk about the top tips to create a successful branded content development strategy:
Deliver valuable information right away. Make sure your content provides value to your audience from the start.
Avoid sales pitches or pushing information about your business. Focus on building a connection with your audience instead.
Show your values through your content rather than just telling your audience about them.
Tell compelling stories that educate and entertain your consumers, igniting their interest and leaving a lasting impression.
Base your branded content on current and relevant customer needs to keep it relatable and engaging.
Stay true to your brand’s image and identity throughout your content.
Appeal to emotions to elicit a response from your audience and inspire them to get involved.
Understand the digital habits of your target audience and optimize your content for mobile and tablet experiences.
Relate to your customers by featuring real people and genuine experiences.
Integrate your branded content into your overall marketing strategy for a cohesive approach.
If using product placement, do it cleverly and unobtrusively in your storytelling.
Combine facts and emotions to evoke a strong connection with your brand.
Focus on quality over quantity to create meaningful content that resonates with your audience.
Promote your content through various distribution channels, like social media, email marketing, or partnering with news portals.
Get creative with your branded content to show your charisma, personality, and ambitions, setting yourself apart from competitors.
Stay updated with trends and mainstream topics to seize opportunities to connect with your audience.
Stay consistent with your branded content campaigns to maintain a strong brand identity.
Track and measure the impact of your branded content to identify areas for improvement and optimize future campaigns.
Branded Content Social Media: How To Engage Your Audience
Let us unlock the secrets to creating compelling branded content that resonates with your social media audience.
Branded content on Instagram works a bit differently from regular marketing content.
According to Instagram’s Help Center, if a digital content creator gets compensated by a business partner, either with money or something else valuable, the content is considered branded. This means creators must tag the relevant brand or partner when posting such content, regardless of whether it’s on a creator, business, or personal account.
So, any collaborations between brands and influencers, like sponsored posts or stories, fall under the category of branded content.
An example of branded content is Daniel Wellington, a watch brand that often teams up with influencers to show off their stylish timepieces in lifestyle posts. They create authentic and engaging content by aligning their brand with the influencer’s style and audience.
While influencer advertising is a type of branded content, not all branded content involves influencers. It can take various forms, like collaborations with content creators, user-generated content, brand-sponsored events, or original content created by the brand itself.
Branded content on Instagram seamlessly integrates the brand into the narrative, tells stories, and communicates the brand’s values and offerings to the audience.
Branded content on Facebook offers brands a chance to connect with their target audience through engaging formats like videos, articles, and interactive campaigns. With Facebook’s extensive reach and precise targeting options, brands can reach the right people.
On TikTok, branded content has a similar but slightly different meaning compared to its marketing concept. According to TikTok’s support center, branded content includes posts that promote goods or services, where the creator receives something of value from a brand in exchange for the post. It could be a brand endorsement, partnership, or promotion.
TikTok has become a hub for content branding, with content brands collaborating with creators to make entertaining and captivating videos that align with the platform’s trends and culture. By integrating products or messages into these videos, brands can capture the attention and interest of TikTok’s diverse user base.
Unlocking the Potential: Branded Entertainment Examples
Let us discover how brands have used the power of branded content to connect with audiences in innovative and unforgettable ways.
You know, when you sit down to watch movies like The Lego Movie or Marvel productions, have you ever noticed that you are basically watching a 2-hour advertisement? It’s fascinating how these films are the perfect examples of branded entertainment. They manage to captivate the audience and create a strong emotional connection with the company behind them. Now, businesses can take inspiration from this concept without going to such extremes. You can tell a compelling story using the people and ideas that drive your brand’s success.
Let’s take a look at Dove’s “Real Beauty” Sketches videos. These videos are so powerful because they tug at your heartstrings and are incredibly relatable to most women. In one of the clips, Dove shares an important message that directly impacts their ideal customer: real, everyday women. It’s a brilliant way to connect with their audience and highlight their deeper messages and values.
Have you seen Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” commercial? It started as a simple campaign spot for Old Spice, but it quickly gained immense attention and success. The brand didn’t stop there. They decided to keep the story going with a series of videos developed in a Response campaign.
You can take a similar approach to storytelling for your business. Don’t worry about finding the perfect story arc right off the bat. Test out different ideas and see what resonates with your audience. Once you find something that clicks, make sure to capitalize on it and continue the story. It’s about engaging your audience and keeping them hooked on your brand’s narrative.
What is branded content marketing?
Here’s a definition of branded content marketing:
Brand content marketing is about making a connection with your audience without directly selling your brand. Instead of pushing products or services, it aims to build awareness and create a conversation around your brand. The goal is to make consumers associate shared values with your specific brand.
Unlike traditional marketing, which can be more product-focused, brand marketing is consumer-centric. It’s about building trust and fostering a meaningful relationship with your customers.
It’s important to understand that brand marketing and content marketing are not the same. Content marketing is a broader concept that encompasses all types of content created by a brand. On the other hand, brand marketing focuses on a specific type of content that aligns with the overall brand strategy.
The reason brand marketing became popular in the brand building strategies is that the market is now saturated with countless brands competing for attention. To stand out, brands have had to explore alternative ways of marketing their businesses. Brand marketing emerged as a response to this challenge.
The Art of Creating Branded Content: Best Practices and Insights
You want your brand to be recognized as a ‘good brand,’ right? Let me share four top tips to help you achieve that.
Create Meaningful Content
When it comes to branded content marketing, focus on quality over quantity. Your content should have meaning and be the best representation of your brand. Think about your brand positioning and goals to ensure your content aligns closely with them. Not every content format will work for your brand, so start with a solid brand marketing strategy.
Choose the Right Channel/Content Marketing Platform for Brands
Where you distribute your content is important. Not every channel or platform will be the best fit for your business. Do some research on what your competitors are doing and if it’s successful for them. Consider where your audience spends their time. Are you into blog posts, videos, social media, or traditional advertising? There are various options, so choose wisely.
Make a plan
Once you have got your meaningful content and the right distribution platform, it’s time to take it to the next level!
Make sure to have a clear plan for promoting your content. Whether it’s through social media, email, or even your employees sharing it, visibility is key. Your fantastic content will have a much bigger impact when the right audience sees it.
Don’t settle just for content
Don’t settle for content that’s just like everyone else’s in your industry. Get creative! Find what sets your brand apart from competitors. It could be a better price, unique features, or a special story. Use this to your advantage and create content that truly stands out. This not only helps you beat the competition but also strengthens your brand development strategies.
The Influence of Branded Content Advertising on Consumer Behavior
Let’s analyze the psychology behind branded content, unravel the strategies that captivate consumers, and uncover the profound influence it exerts on their choices.
In first purchase
When you are shopping online or looking for a new cell phone, do you tend to lean towards brands with a solid reputation? Most people do, and that’s the power of branded content influencing our purchase decisions.
Take Apple, for example. Among the sea of cellphone brands out there, Apple stands out because of its established name and reputation. In 2020, there were over 1 billion active iPhone units, showing just how much people prefer Apple products over others.
Apple has been around since 1976, and over the years, it has built trust with its customers by consistently offering quality products and staying ahead of the curve with innovations.
So, when Apple releases a new product, customers eagerly buy it without hesitation because they associate the Apple brand with excellence.
The lesson here is that when customers identify their needs, they will look for brands that promise quality and satisfaction. If your business delivers a great first experience to customers, they are more likely to come back for more.
By ensuring a positive customer experience, you create loyal customers. And that’s the real power of branded content in influencing purchase decisions.
In second purchase
You know that feeling when you make a second purchase from a brand? That’s brand loyalty in action!
According to a Small Business Trends report, selling to repeat customers has a 60-70% chance of success, while selling to new customers is just 5-20 percent likely. So, attracting new customers is important, but don’t forget to invest in marketing to past customers too. You want to entice them to become loyal repeat customers.
When your customers are loyal, they don’t need any convincing to buy from you. They genuinely believe in your company and its products.
The best part is that loyal customers become your brand promoters. They will happily share their positive experiences with friends and coworkers, giving you free advertising!
Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report reveals that consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other type of advertising.
When your loyal customers spread the word about your brand, it brings in more leads and referrals for your business. Building brand loyalty ensures not just repeat sales but also an expanding network of satisfied customers who vouch for your brand.
Increase revenue by boosting the price
Once your brand gains popularity through referrals and repeat purchases, you have the advantage of commanding higher prices in the market. This boost in pricing leads to increased revenue for your business.
According to a study from the University of Texas at Arlington, consumers associate higher prices with better product quality. So, having a well-established brand allows you to charge premium prices.
Moreover, buyers believe that the brand they choose reflects their status and position in society. It’s not just about the price; it’s about how the brand represents them.
Building a strong brand also improves your business value in the long run. The value of your business is influenced by consumer behavior and perception. By understanding your customers and their preferences, you can identify areas for growth and make strategic improvements.
Remember, branding is not a one-time thing. It requires constant monitoring and effort to ensure it continues to work in your favor. So, stay proactive and work consistently to build a brand that speaks to your audience and adds value to your business.
Unlike traditional marketing, branded content focuses on delivering value to customers and creating personal connections through storytelling. These stories feature real people or show the personality and mission of the brand building process. They never push products and services in a salesy way.
This approach is important because people are tired of feeling like they are being stalked by brands. They want to feel valued and important, and that’s exactly what branded content does for them. On top of that, it comes with other advantages, like building strong relationships, increasing conversions and revenue, and strengthening the company’s reputation.
Creating branded content is not a walk in the park. It requires dedication, commitment, and sometimes even the expertise of professionals. But it’s worth it because it allows brands to connect with customers on a deeper level, understand their emotions and needs, and become reliable and trusted partners in their lives.
If you want to make a lasting impact and rise above the competition, branded content is the way to go. By hitting all the essentials, adopting best practices, and staying relevant to your audience, you can ensure that your branded content strategy is a success. It can take your business to new heights and keep you at the top of your niche.