As markets become more competitive, capturing the attention of your target audience has become more crucial than ever. However, setting your brand apart from the competition can be challenging.
One effective and proven way to reach your audience is through content creation. But how can your business stand out if every other company is doing it too?
Storytelling is one of the most effective strategies to make a strong impression, and branded content is a great way to do that. If you're looking to distinguish your brand from the rest using branded content, keep reading! In this guide, find out what branded content is all about, its benefits, and get some great ideas for your own by looking at examples from other companies.
Definition of Branded Content
Marketing and advertising strategies are continuously evolving, and in this current landscape, most consumers have little patience for even the slightest hint of an attempt to sell something. Luckily, branded content takes a different approach. So, what is branded content? This marketing strategy involves publishing content that is directly associated with a brand in places apart from conventional ad spaces, including media outlets for entertainment or educational resources.
For a better understanding of branded content, here are a few of its key qualities:
- Focuses on your brand's core values rather than the products or services it offers: Even though it may look like a typical commercial, it is more about your brand's intrinsic attributes instead of the specific things it sells.
- Sparks conversations and spreads awareness about your brand: More than just a sales pitch, this form of content is meant to start a dialogue about your brand among your target audience. As a result, reputation and mentions are frequently used as essential measures to gauge the effectiveness of branded content.
- Adds value to the user's experience: Ads are typically seen as a price that consumers have to pay to get the content they truly wish to access; however, branded content aims to flip this concept on its head and provide content that people genuinely want to see. Entertaining or educational content are common ways to provide this additional value.
- Elicits an emotional response: Emotional persuasion dates back to Aristotle's time, yet it remains a powerful strategy today. As opposed to making analytical comparisons between companies, branded content seeks to engage with the consumer on an emotional level.
- Tells a story: There are heroes and an introduction, middle, and a conclusion to this form of content, which aims to inform viewers about your brand's story.
- Comes in various forms and channels: Branded content can be used in a variety of ways, including videos, blogs, interactive media, games, podcasts, and even events to communicate what your brand is all about. Likewise, this content can be shared in multiple channels, from applications to social media to your company's website.
The Benefits of Branded Content
The rise of branded content is due to the fact that many organizations have come to realize that traditional marketing methods are unsuccessful. It's easier for your audience to recognize and associate your brand with this type of content. Videos, blog articles, or podcasts that don't directly promote products make clients believe it's more personalized and tailored to their specific needs. As such, branded content can build trust and ultimately lead to long-term clients.
When it comes to brand content marketing, the following are some of the main advantages:
- Reaching a larger audience: Customer-centric branded content tells a compelling tale using the customers' preferred medium and channel and engages them on a deeper level. As a result, they will be more likely to advocate your brand and share through word-of-mouth marketing.
- Higher level of loyalty from customers: Brands have the opportunity to show their customers what they're truly about through the emotional and meaningful messaging that goes into branded content. This improves customer affinity and sets the scene for long-term loyalty.
- More sincerity and confidence among customers: To establish confidence with your customers, it's essential to demonstrate that you're prepared to put their needs ahead of your own profits.
- Increase in conversions: A well-crafted piece of content will demonstrate that you are an expert in your field. When consumers are looking for guidance and clarity, you can become their go-to source. People are more willing to buy from you or collaborate with you if you've established yourself as an authority figure.
Branded Content Checklist
When done correctly, branded content benefits your audience and your brand at the same time. To achieve this, you'll need to strike a balance. Consider the following factors to ensure that your branded content is effective.
Creating content that is relevant to your brand is crucial, regardless of what your company does or offers. Make sure it applies to your industry or what you specialize in. Identify areas on which you can talk knowledgeably, then concentrate on ways you can add value using content.
Personality, Tone, and Voice
Every aspect of how you communicate with your audience should reflect your brand. Your brand's identity should be infused into each piece of content, whichever medium or channel you use. Doing this will help make your brand more relatable and approachable.
What you say must be consistent with your brand's objectives, not just how you say it. Anything from your value proposition to your call-to-actions should communicate the same message.
The appearance of your brand, from your website to your packaging, tells a story in and of itself. Do your best to ensure your visual identity is complete and consistent. It should include all the things that designers need to make branded content, including your logo, colour scheme, typography, illustrations, and the like.
Branded Content Examples
The best branded content is the kind that hits all the right notes. It conveys a deep sense of meaning while also leaving a lasting impression. Looking at these samples, you can see how branded content comes in many shapes and sizes.
In the world of branded content, Dove is one of the most well-known. Over the years, Dove has established a solid and distinct brand voice that focuses on dispelling beauty myths. Ads and all other forms of branded content adhere to the brand's unique tone.
That same brand voice can be found in their #showus campaign. With this initiative, the brand reached out to women and non-binary individuals who were confident in their uniqueness and invited them to tell their stories. Images and videos from people who shared their thoughts on what makes them stand out were sent in by the thousands. Dove then collected these stories into a series of YouTube videos. These stories were also featured in the brand's Instagram posts.
Countless people can identify with this campaign since they all want to be valued and accepted for who they are. When paired with user-generated content, this approach gives the campaign an exceptional sense of sincerity and relatability. As a result, this is among the best cases of branded content to emerge in 2019.
An ever-shrinking audience means that traditional media must discover new ways to monetize its content, whether digital or on paper. Branded articles can help earn more money but finding the right marketing message to go along with exciting and educational content can be a challenge.
A perfect example is Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn't Work, an article published by the New York Times. "Orange Is the New Black," Netflix's smash blockbuster prison drama, sponsored this long-form article, which is informative, relevant, and well written. Interactive pictures, compelling video, and solid journalistic writing contribute to a well-rounded story that both readers and the brand will benefit from.
After squeezing into a DeLorean, Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and his girlfriend, Jennifer Parker, set off on a trip to the 21st of October 2015 in "Back to the Future II." This date was celebrated as "Back to the Future Day" by fans across the globe.
In the movie, Doc Brown's DeLorean relies on waste as a fuel source instead of pricey and rare gasoline. Since Toyota has just created a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle dubbed the Toyota Mirai, "Back to the Future Day" presented a great marketing opportunity. Consequently, Mirai was launched on "Back to the Future Day," and Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox were brought on board to play their iconic characters in a commercial.
There are bits of Back to the Future movie references sprinkled throughout the five-minute ad, which features the Toyota Mirai's designer sitting down with Lloyd and Fox to discuss how waste can be converted into hydrogen fuel. Throughout the entire video, viewers can't help but smile since it is so enjoyable, informative, and heartfelt.
Getting Started With Branded Content
It can be challenging to create content that's not only interesting but also serves as a vehicle for conveying a brand's story. As such, there are many marketers who are put off by the need to spend time and energy when a basic banner ad might do the job just as well. However, you don't have to come up with a new way to do things to make branded content. To kick off your branded content journey, take note of the following guidelines:
Set Your Goals
Start by outlining your objectives, as in any effective marketing plan. What do you hope to accomplish with this branded content? Before you begin creating your content, ensure that you understand its purpose. To make this step easier, think about your company's overall goals and use them as a guide:
- If you have a new product that you just released this year, what role can your branded content play in spreading the word about it?
- Are you looking for traffic to your website and phone calls or more subtle indicators like brand awareness and good reviews? Regardless of which metric you use, be detailed on how branded content can help you achieve your target.
Get To Know Your Audience
Before you can begin creating branded content that resonates with your target audience, you must first be well-aware of who they are. To put it another way, you should learn not only about the age and location of your audience but also about their views, principles, and beliefs.
There are a plethora of online tools that can assist you in learning about your audience. However, when it comes to understanding your customers, social media is a great starting point. Here are some of the things you need to find out about your target audience by looking through their social media:
- What kind of lifestyles do they lead?
- Which social causes do they advocate?
- What topics do they like to talk about?
It's important to know what your customers care about so that you can develop content that resonates with them and goes viral.
Take Advantage of the Power of Storytelling
It's a well-known fact that people enjoy stories. You'll be able to establish "chemistry" between your brand and your target audience by creating a fantastic story. As a result, you'll have a stronger emotional connection with your customers. There are several ways you can tell your narrative, from a simple article to a video or even an infographic.
Create Content That Can Be Shared
You can't just make your branded content entertaining or educational and expect it to go viral immediately. It's also essential to make it worthwhile for others to share. To achieve this, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of content is most likely to be shared by the people I'm trying to reach?
- What are the most popular topics among my target audience?
- What type of content is currently popular in my particular niche?
The more you learn about the difference between good content and the kind that gets shared, the greater the success of your marketing campaign will be.
In today's competitive markets, branded content can help your company stand out from the crowd. Most consumers have become fed up with traditional ads bombarding them, and this type of content can serve as a breath of fresh air.
By telling a compelling story and providing value, branded content can increase reach and establish trust and loyalty among your customers. When making branded content, you need to ensure that you cover all the bases for your subject, voice, tone, messaging, and design.
In this article, we have provided several branded content examples that can serve as an inspiration for your campaign. We also shared tips on getting started to point you in the right direction towards success.