What is Branded content?
Branded content is the actor who gets up on stage just to perform – true to her art and true to her audience. She stands out from other fellow actors whose stage acts are cloyingly fake. While other advertising strategies constantly try to convince you of their worth, she’s the passionate one who enjoys her art. She’s not trying to sell anything. The audience is not forced to buy, consult, click, call, respond or take action immediately. They can leisurely contemplate her act and appreciate it in their own time. If they like her performance, they can share it with friends. And if she does a good job, people remember her performance.
Branded content is content in any form that companies create to build brand awareness, improve recall and create a positive brand image. It can be on print, TVC’s, movies or reality shows. But predominantly, they are videos, specifically on various social media platforms.
It employs a reverse marketing method that begins with what brands are made up of – the stories of people.
What stories are people telling each other ? What kinds of videos are people watching online? What connects emotionally with people? What type of content do people enjoy and come back to? What do they often talk about? What are they sharing? What cause do they want to be part of? These questions are research points that form the foundation for this marketing strategy. Once you get this blueprint done, then you figure out a creative way to fit your brand into their stories.
With a blueprint like that, brands can build massive pyramids.
How is it different from Traditional advertising?
Clocks in more:
Permanent Roommates Season 1 had CommonFloor as its Brand Partner. It was an instant hit back in 2014 when the first episode was launched on YouTube. It garnered 12 million views for all five episodes of Season 1. Now, The Viral Fever (TVF) has started Season 2 in association with Ola Cabs.
Did you note that the episode length increased double fold by the end of the series? S1E1 was 14 minutes long. But the final episode was 37 minutes long. In S2, every episode averages at 52 minutes!
Brands in association with successful web series have two advantages: a) They get a large block of time from their audience b) They create expectations in the minds of their viewers.
Unlike traditional marketing, brand integrations don’t even mention the features or benefits of the product. They simply entertain the audience.
Look at the number of views on that video!
We are presented with the story of the fastest man alive. Folks at Gatorade have not called attention to their product, except for a brief five seconds. This is Usain’s story. This is a story for the fans of Usain. This story is for achievers and champions-to-be.
The key takeaway is – Gatorade understood their target market right.
So, who are the targets?
Everybody. No, seriously! The whole world can be your audience, if your content is good enough.
Yet, we see brands choosing their target segment very carefully. They find overlaps in their target segments and those of existing popular content creators and draw up a partnership. Collaboration is a great way to get a variety into your content marketing. Take for instance, this video by AIB: An ode to the woman who trudges along on her ‘Walk of Shame’, presented by Truly Madly.
Truly Madly figured out that the majority of their targets were youngsters who would also be fans of AIB. As a viewer, the familiarity of one brand (AIB) is subconsciously connected to the other (Truly Madly) when you take in content that you enjoy. That’s what I’d call a WIN-WIN game.
Branded content gives you powerful and extensive reach.
What are its advantages ?
Back to the stage performance. It is evident that the performer who loves her art is loved by her audience. Branded content is your company’s way of showcasing your art. It tells people you care deeply about some cause, that you are passionate about things, that you are not always looking to make big bucks. It gives people a reason to google you and seek you out.
It gives people a reason to love your brand.