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What is Branded Content and why should we include it in our content strategy?

Social Media users, and internet users in general, are flooded by advertisements and information, many of us even use Ad Blockers in order to avoid being continuously bombarded with content we are not interested in. That is why brands need to find non intrusive and creative ways to connect with our potential customers. In order to achieve this goal, Branded Content is an essential tool.

Branded Content consists in creating content that really connects with consumers, transmitting values, emotions and elements that may be less tangible but still able to generate that connection through some good storytelling. (It is essential to include this kind of content in an Inbound Marketing strategy)

In order to successfully apply this concept within a campaign, it is imperative to be clear about how to integrate equitably the brand content that we want to show and sell and the standalone content itself, which has the objective of expressing, telling and attracting. Both concepts should strengthen each other, the better balanced this relationship is, the better the results we will obtain.

Branded Content has existed for many years, but it gained relevance with the appearance of digital media since it is an ideal technique for Social Media dynamics. A pretty clear example of “analog” Branded Content is the case of Popeye, which was born during the thirties based on the need of the Spinach Producers Committee to foment the consumption of spinach among kids, and found in this comic strip character that gained unmatched strength when eating it, a perfect way to do it.

Another good example, and also a contemporary one is Red Bull´s sponsoring of Felix Baumgartner’s jump which was an almost worldwide event.

As one final example of contemporary, fun and effective Branded Content we can mention Dumb Ways to die. This campaign was created by Metro Trains, the agency responsible for railway transport in the city of Melbourne, with the main objective of reducing the metro and train accidents. The message of this campaign is delivered through a genius clip which is fun, catchy and was shared millions of times, staying present in the mind of each individual who had the chance to watch it. Then, taking that campaign as starting point, video games, merchandising and tons of other content were created in their digital channels.

In order to go deeper into the definition of Branded Content, we will list its main characteristics:

  • Its objective is to generate brand notoriety and affinity rather than specifically selling a product or service.
  • It seeks to generate value for the consumer. Usually advertising is the “price to pay” for watching content that bothers us. On the contrary, Branded Content is content of interest for users.
  • It appeals to emotion. It seeks for an emotional bond with consumers rather than rational arguments.
  • It uses primarily the story telling resource. In its essence this kind of content aims to tell a story that is entertaining for the consumer while being beneficial for the brand.

Being such an ample concept, Branded Content can adapt to content in different formats such as videos, podcasts, video games, interactive formats, street actions, etc.

In the Think with Google blog we can find a study on the influence of Branded Content in Latin America where we can see how effective this kind of content is in opposition to traditional advertisement.

 

In summary, with this kind of content brands have a unique opportunity to approach their consumers in a less instrusive way.

There is no doubt this should be applied in our digital marketing strategy!

 

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