Using branded content to achieve your marketing goals
9 min read
9 min read
by Milica Stankić
The amount of information we are exposed to daily is quite overwhelming, and most of it comes down to ads. Still, since we’ve developed something similar to ad-blindness, primarily thanks to traditional advertising (an outdated and often ineffective way to get to the consumers), we tend not to notice the number of ads we’re exposed to on a regular basis.
Therefore, to successfully sell products and services, marketing experts have realized the need for unobtrusive, subtle and engaging approaches to advertisement. For that reason, new approaches have been created to provide value to consumers, and one of the most frequently used nowadays is branded content.
Overall, there seems to be a lack of clarity regarding the meaning of branded content. But, in a nutshell, it is meant to capture what you stand for as a business, such as intentions, values and meaning and then express them through content that will increase your brands’ reach. It can be defined as any type of communication that a brand produces and in can be in different formats – in print, digital, audiovisual, or even a theatrical format.
Businesses use branded content as a marketing technique, to increase brand awareness and create a unique kind of customer loyalty. They do so by offering high-quality content and putting an emphasis on the identity and presentation of the company in an authentic way.
Why use it? Well, for one, the highly saturated market nowadays makes it all more difficult for a brand to stand out. And, as our disdain for the endless conveyer belt of ads grows, brand need to find innovative ways of engaging the consumers without making them feel like they are being sold to.
One example of being exposed to branded content is watching The Lego Movie, which is not telling you at any point that you must go out and buy their product. Still, even if you don’t leave your home to buy a new Lego set immediately, the name itself will likely stick with you and influence your future purchasing decisions.
This also tells us that, given its potential influence on the purchasing decision of consumers and its far-reaching effect on the market, it requires careful design and targeting.
By subtly promoting products and services, branded content should not have a straightforward advertising character but rather one which will trigger the interest of the consumers.
Every type of branded content contributes to the appeal of a brand. This requires intensive cooperation between content and brand management. First of all, content experts usually follow brand-strategic goals in their work. That is why those responsible for brands must always keep them up to date on the current status of brand management and positioning. Only then can they work in the brand’s spirit – for example, through appropriate storytelling and a topic corresponding to the brand goals. So, if the content is designed without a basic branding guideline, it may be characterless and arbitrary. That could damage the brand and play into the hands of the competition.
So, what’s the definition of good branded content? It implies packaging the brand message in need-oriented content and placing it at the relevant touchpoints of the target group — those publishing the content use trends and techniques to draw attention to the brand and its offering. However, the moment content becomes dominated by the brand markings, it appears too commercial and is perceived as advertising. And, remember, in order for it to work, it needs to be subtle and it needs to make consumers feel like they are not being sold to.
Therefore, to be effective and sustainable, branded content should always focus on the added value for the target group.
There’s a tremendous amount of effort behind creating the branded content. First off, it takes quite extensive research to prepare a campaign. Then, something we ought not forget is to hit the timing right as the content must reach the target group at the appropriate point in the buyer’s journey. Finally, the content will become interesting to the consumer if they can connect to it and make a bond on a higher level.
Although the primary task is to satisfy potential buyers’ thirst for knowledge, there must be a subtle clue pointing to the brand.
The main aim is to strengthen brand awareness among the target group, while being an instrument of inbound marketing.
Interested in learning more? Well, here’s our selection of tips on how to tackle branded content to achieve your marketing goals:
The form in which the branded content is published is not explicitly specified. You should be creative with it and you can let your imagination run loose as long as the content fits within strategic corporate communication channels.
You’ll want to make sure you do your best to prevent leaving any room for misunderstandings or dull content. And, keep in mind that you’ll want to be on the lookout for novel ways to boost promotion and inventive strategies to grab the attention of your customers.
The key to successful content is to convey e a narrative about the brand with a beginning, middle, and end to the audience.
Since the concept of branded content is relatively adaptable, it will be possible to use it in different formats, including videos, podcasts, interactive formats, video games, events, or even a combination of several of them to convey the brand’s story. Likewise, numerous ways to disseminate this content include applications, social media platforms, and the brand’s website.
Instead of just reiterating a tagline, this kind of content provides a narrative that exemplifies the ideals we want to connect with the brand — the favorable connotations and traits attached to a brand influence the audience’s perceptions. After setting the mutual interests and shared values, which should make an integral part of the story, you can easily modify your content to fit all the media platforms, as previously explained.
Here are some helpful tips to go by:
The key here is to tactfully and unobtrusively draw attention to your brand and what it stands for. This is where you need to be very careful not to overdo it – as soon as your content shows a glimpse of an intention to sell, it will fail in its mission. Therefore, think of branded content as a way to emphasize the added value for the target group, which will make your campaign more effective and sustainable.
Branded content is successful when it speaks for the brand – not when it is in the foreground.
Anyone who keeps the history of the branding concept in mind will recognize that a strong brand is always a result of a genuine added value. And, as we all know, no added value can be created through branding alone. Therefore, don’t forget that the public will immediately see through brand promises if there’s a lack of concrete, tangible added value.
A brand gains attention through need-based content that offers the target group informative or entertaining added value. The target group notices the added value and returns to the source, the brand, for future questions. The more the target group deals with the branded content, the stronger their bond with the brand is.
It can be helpful if the brand’s typical energy and elegance radiate through its content.
Depending on the type of topics and the form they are in, a particular image is created around the brand among the recipients – be it the image of a solution provider who gives you answers to everyday questions or the image of a thought leader who communicates innovative and visionary ideas. The aim is, on one hand, to strengthen customer loyalty via relevant content and, on the other hand, to win new customers who are convinced they need a particular product thanks to the high-quality content.
The vital task of branded content is to create subliminal brand awareness of consumers through an intensive examination of the content. That is why you need a good and purpose-driven approach. Following these useful tips, your branded content should bloom and has solid chances of even going viral.