These days, consumers have so much in front of them they can’t see past the weeds to get to what really matters. So how will they find your content? This is where branded content comes in.
What is Branded Content?
Branded content is effective in responding to the ever-increasingly oversaturated market. It’s important for brands to connect with their audience to get their attention amid all the fluff that’s out there on the internet. You want to convey the values your brand represents.
Some of the main characteristics of branded content are:
- It’s focused on the brand and not on the products or services associated with the brand. This means it’s more about the intangibles than anything the consumer can put their hands on.
- It generates conversation about the brand. It gets people talking and it becomes the subject of major conversation. There’s more focus on the popularity and the number of times the brand is mentioned.
- It generates added value. This talk is not cheap. Consumers want to know more about this brand; they are interested in what they’re hearing and seeing.
- It appeals to the consumers’ emotions. This is an effective technique that works. Why argue when it comes to the competition when you can connect deeper with consumers on an intimate level.
- It uses storytelling. Branded content tells a story that gets the user’s attention and resonates with them.
- It’s presented in various ways. Branded content can be adapted for a variety of formats like video, podcasts, events, a combination of things together, and so much more.
- It’s collaborative. Brands can collaborate with other professionals to make it even better.
Branded Content vs. Content Marketing
Content marketing is the broader marketing concept and consists of all types of content created by the brand. This means, that within content marketing there is content that is branded and not branded. Branded content refers to one type of content within the broader content strategy.
Advantages of Branded Content
- Not invasive. Unlike conventional digital advertising that usually turns consumers off, branded content attracts them, and they want to get more involved or learn more about the brand.
- An emotional connection. Consumers connect with the exciting and emotional storytelling of the brand. Because of the connection, they remember the brand, and it becomes at the top of their minds.
- Potential to go viral. Because of the immediate connection, it creates a snowball effect, and everyone begins sharing through multiple social networks and platforms.
- Improves brand’s positioning. The stories shared represent the brand’s values, and this is immediately associated with the brand. This is positive, and it puts the brand in a unique position where its brand registers in the minds of the consumers.
- Engagement and loyalty. Branded content provokes a response from consumers. This builds upon the engagement and at a deeper level.
- Promote traffic and leads. A good branded content campaign brings much-needed traffic to your website, which in turn, introduces them to the conversion funnel.
Why Branded Content Works Better Than Traditional Advertising?
Branded content is different from the traditional methods of marketing. Traditional marketing consists of banner ads, social media, commercials, etc. Branded content can include podcasts, videos, articles, and other elements relevant to the consumer. Anything that will instantly grab the consumer’s attention and get them engaging with your brand.
When a consumer is viewing branded content, they have a better recollection of that brand—up to 59% more than they would with traditional advertising. ROI goes through the roof, as consumers usually are 14% more likely to look for other content from the same brand.
This gives more attention to the branded content all around and it creates more brand recognition. Consumers don’t see branded content as a sales pitch; they see it as more consumer-focused. The brand creates a sense of trust from the consumer’s standpoint. That’s just not something that happens with traditional marketing.
How Branded Content Works in 2021
While branded content may seem to be a new phenomenon today, it’s not a new concept. In the early 40s, it was common for television shows to have a specific sponsor or brand to create their own content. Again in the 70s, a familiar company, Proctor and Gamble, created soap operas and also sponsored the advertisements for their shows. The content was created specifically for the viewers who would be watching the soap operas.
In today’s world, branded content gets to the pain points of the consumer and avoids the fluff. But branded content doesn’t just focus on selling products or services, it’s instrumental in building a relationship with the customer. It fosters complete engagement with the customer. It energizes conversation, builds knowledge, and aligns customers with the brand.
Branded content isn’t a one-off style of communication. It comes in different forms. Many brands share bits and pieces to build up to a very engaging story. This helps the consumers know the brand, and it makes it relatable for the consumer. These stories can be told through videos, blog posts, images, surveys, podcasts, there are so many avenues now as compared to traditional methods for connecting and engaging with customers.
Branded content can also be entertaining or educational.
An interesting fact is that 86% of people who watch television skip the advertisements. With everyone now on social media and streaming services, brands need to find different methods to communicate with consumers. While television advertisements are still one of the many options brands have to use, they shouldn’t be the only source.
Branded content is a fast-moving concept, and several things can play a part in helping us to see where it’s going.
Ethically Aware Brands
Over the past year or more, there has been a shift to more ethical awareness. We are a nation that is more aware now than ever of issues dealing with inequality, environmentalism and activism. Many brands have come to the forefront of these issues and stood there with their audience.
We will likely see more of that in 2021. We will see empathetic, community service-driven content. Brands that become more ethically aligned will form a central tenet to their branded content marketing.
Influencers and Their Role
Influencers play a huge role in branding. In 2021, we can expect this to continue. Businesses have made a point of using influencers to focus on brand first and product second. However, this is shifting, and we now see influencers getting involved in the products with branding coming after.
Clever and Subtle Delivery
Marketers are put in a really tough spot—trying to market to the masses without actually seeming like they’re marketing. Consumers know when they’re being marketed to, and no one wants to be marketed to when they’re not in the mood for marketing. So marketers have to be more clever and subtle with their marketing approach. Meaning, they have to come up with new creative approaches that make the consumer unaware that they’re even being marketed to. So, we’ll be sure to see more no in-your-face marketing in the years to come.
Nostalgia has a positive effect on our health and emotional well-being. Maybe it has something to do with the pandemic events of the past year, maybe not. But studies have shown that reminiscing and remembering “once upon a time”, provides us with a window into our authentic selves. Strolling back down memory lane can stimulate inspiration and motivate us to do things we probably wouldn’t otherwise. Nostalgia can help to give us a greater sense of meaning in our lives.
That’s why nostalgia marketing is a pretty clever thing to do. Especially since our recent past locked us out of live events and kept us from being together, a lot of content has become nostalgic and reflective. Since we were not able to focus on the next big thing, we reflected on the best old thing.
This strategy has brought a sense of comfort to consumers. In a world where there was so much uncertainty, it kept them in tune with what was familiar, and that’s a central concept of branding. Consumers want to align with brands they know and trust.
Branded Content on Instagram
Instagram defines branded content as “a creator or publisher’s content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value.” This simply means that if a brand is paying someone, like an influencer for the content they’re posting, then they have to make that compensation public.
Instagram provides a lot of information about branded content. Rightly so because there’s more to understand when it comes to effectively marketing branded content on Instagram. Branded content can only be posted using their branded content tool. Users must adhere to the laws and regulations, and ensure they provide disclosures as necessary.
But many brands are successful with their marketing. A paid partnership post on Instagram is branded content. You can also do individual branding. It’s important to ensure you read all the guidelines so you know how to market in either circumstance.
Branded Content on Facebook
Just as with Instagram, Facebook is also becoming more regulated when it comes to branded content. With the recent federal government laws in regard to influencer marketing, Facebook is now requiring the use of its new branded content tool. With this tool, influencers now have to tag the brands they’re working with, to give their audience proper disclosure of who’s paying them for the product endorsements.
Furthermore, according to Facebook’s guidelines, the responsibility lies on the influencer to tag the brand, not the other way around. In addition, if you’re an influencer, Facebook holds you responsible for not spamming ads, getting permission from the brand you’re tagging, and follow all local laws and regulations.
Are influencers allowed to tag any brands they want? Absolutely not. There must be an agreement between the influencer and the brand they’re endorsing.
The branded content tool is pretty simple to use. Once the permission has been granted to the influencer, they create their post and click the ‘tag sponsor’ button at the bottom of the screen and enter the name of their sponsor in the ‘with’ field. Once it’s posted, the business will be notified and they can reshare, boost the post, or whatever. Brands can track their content’s performance and view post analytics.
The Performance of Branded Content
Not all branded content performs the same. Good branded content performs very well. Good branded content has a recall of 86% and 65% for regular ads. You know branded content is good if it: has a central personality, has a unique concept, and has a connection with the audience.
The purpose of the content is also an important factor. This is something that resonates with consumers when they make a purchase. It’s easier to communicate the brand’s purpose using branded content rather than traditional advertising.
Also, knowing where the branded content is going to be viewed is part of the science. A recent study shows that 55% of branded content is viewed by consumers on their phones. It’s a wise choice to create content that consumers can easily access from their phones and tablets. People are always on the move, and when they access what they need in their hands effortlessly, it makes for a better chance of it being viewed. It also makes it more likely to be shared.
The bottom line is, valuable online content gets most of the attention these days. Yet, a good majority of consumers ignore online ads. This is why marketers are spending more on branded content. What used to work, just doesn’t anymore.
If you’re not creating branded content, you should be inspired by what the future holds. Branded content is the future, and you need to be in on it.
At Selling Revolution, we know how to get consumers to trust you and ultimately know and like your products and services before they ever need them. We’ll optimize your growth and get people talking about your brand. Book a call today!