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It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that the digital marketing space is oversaturated with ads.
“Ad fatigue” is a common phenomenon among the average internet user. And many consumers stop converting because of overexposure to the same type of ad content.
Businesses pour tons of money into the digital marketing. But traditional online marketing methods are not as effective as they used to be.
With each passing year, consumers become tougher to impress. Which makes it even harder to leave a lasting impression of your brand
In this situation, brands need to look for new (and innovative) ways to connect with their prospective customers.
Branded content marketing is the solution
What is Branded Content?
Branded content is not your typical advertising model. It is a marketing technique that is focused on driving brand engagement and creating brand value.
Instead of directly marketing the products/services of a brand, branded content marketing produces content that helps consumers connect with the brand on an emotional level. This could be anything from articles and videos to podcasts and webinars.
When a brand gets it right, the impact of branded content marketing can be long-lasting and a lot more significant than standard promotional content.
Top Features of Branded Content
It Aims to Create a Buzz About the Brand
Instead of promoting the brand to target direct sales, branded content tries to start conversations and create a buzz about the brand.
That is why the key metrics used to measure the success of branded content include the number of brand mentions. This includes social media mentions and the notoriety of the mentions.
It is Not Focused on the Product or Services of the Brand
Branded content focuses more on the values the brand stands for rather than its products or services. Thus, instead of quoting the specific characteristics of a brand’s product, it is based on the intangible qualities.
It Intrigues the Audience
Traditional ads are something we have to consume as a price to read or watch something we really want to.
But branded content is designed to turn the tables. Branded content marketing aims to create content that will intrigue the audience.
This involves creating something that the user wants to consume of their own free will without any sort of compulsion.
It Uses Storytelling to Entertain and Involve the Audience
What better way to engage an audience than by telling them a story? Branded content often uses stories to convey a message across. Stories are entertaining and usually well-received in addition to being memorable.
It Appeals to Emotions
Branded content does not preach about why the brand’s content is better than that of their competitors. Instead, it seeks to connect with the consumer on an emotional level where the person feels attached to a particular brand.
It Has No Standard Format or Distribution Channel
The main aim of branded content marketing is to create brand value no matter the format it uses.
From videos to contests, podcasts, games, events, and live actions, branded content has a flexible format. And it can be distributed using any suitable medium, including a website, social media, apps, etc.
Why Branded Content Marketing Works Better Than Traditional Marketing
Advertising is everywhere. From Facebook feeds to YouTube videos, LinkedIn InMails to banner ads, TV ads to email marketing, and more. There is no escape from ads if you want to consume any form of content.
All too often, these ads feel more like a disruption than something you would like to consume willingly.
However, branded content is created to give value to the users. It is interesting, engaging, and entertaining. Instead of coming across as a disruption, branded content is designed to spark the user’s interest.
That is why brand recall from branded content is 59% higher than it is for traditional advertisements. Also, 14% of people are more likely to consume more content from the same brand. These numbers are massive in terms of ROI.
Image Source: IPGLab
Many consumers like branded content more because the content is consumer-focused instead of product-focused. Since the consumer feels valued, it can help increase their trust in the brand.
Examples of Branded Content Marketing Done Well
1. Netflix Article about Female Inmates to Promote “Orange is the New Black”
Netflix once wrote an article about female inmates in jail and the issues they go through. The article was deeply researched and highlighted the soaring numbers of women inmates in the American prison system.
It also touched on the need for a change in policies towards female prisoners. This article reached more than a million readers of The New York Times.
This articles successfully diverted the general public’s attention toward the topic and sparked interest. So when the Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black” came out, it instantly became a huge hit.
2. Beauty is for Everyone – Dove
Dove conducted customer research for their product campaign and found that only 4% of all the women surveyed would describe themselves as “beautiful.” This was a disappointing and shocking finding.
The marketing team planned to change this and pledged to promote their brand value that, “beauty is for everyone.”
To deliver this message, Dove created a series of videos where an FBI sketch artist drew women’s portraits. He would first draw the portrait of a woman as she describes herself and then drew a portrait of the same woman as described by a stranger.
The differences between the two sketches were incredible. The campaign was a massive hit and went viral immediately
It got 50 million views within two weeks of its release. Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is now one the most successful branded marketing campaigns till date with almost 180 million views and counting.
3. Samsung’s Award-Winning Video ‘Hearing Colors’
Samsung collaborated with Vimeo to produce a video titled Hearing Colors as a part of their connected series. The video tells the story of a man who suffers from a condition that made him colorblind.
The man, named Neil Harbisson, got an antenna implanted in his body, which helps him hear colors. In this video, you can see the person moving around the city, trying to convince people that the antenna is a part of the video.
The video gives you a preview of futuristic modern technology. The thing to note here is that the brand is totally absent from the video except in the post-credit caption.
The video was very well-received. It even won first branded content award at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 due to its compelling nature.
What Does Branded Content Mean for Your Marketing Strategy?
Branded content is here to stay and it is only going to become more popular. While traditional advertisements will continue to exist, branded content is one of the best ways to connect with your customers in an authentic way. And if you’re able to promote your brand and offer your target audience value, your sales will organically soar.
If your company hasn’t tried branded content marketing yet, it’s time to get started! Have you seen any other excellent examples of branded content marketing lately? Let us know in the comments below.