Branded content: why do you have to include it in your marketing strategy?
It is clear that every day marketing campaigns with invasive and aggressive ads no longer work. This change in advertising occurs because the competition has grown, the market is saturated with advertising and information and, therefore, the options that consumers have when choosing a product or service are very numerous.
Are you taking this new scenario into account in your marketing strategy?
Among the new techniques at your disposal, branded content can offer you interesting advantages. If you have already heard about it and have considered integrating it into your strategy, read on and don’t miss the examples I have left at the end!
In recent years, large and medium-sized companies have understood that the customer is best conquered with quality content and valuable experiences. And it is precisely in this new marketing trend that branded content is situated.
The branded content corresponds to the quality content created by a company, whose objective is no longer to communicate the benefits of a product or service but to transmit an experience to its users.
Thanks to branded content your marketing actions will go beyond the sale of a product or service. The objective of a strategy based on branded content is to generate notoriety and affinity with users.
In other words, you will be executing actions that will consolidate user loyalty and bring you other advantages such as:
- Create engagement. The generation of valuable content, capable of transmitting emotions, will help you connect your brand with the users. In this way, you will be applying actions for a much more productive relationship than just selling products and services.
- More interaction. The different types of content (video, images, text, etc.) of a brand content strategy allow you to reach and interact with the user more easily.
- Building a community. It is a good way to generate empathy and create a community of fans around your brand.
- Get registrations. The branded content is one of the most effective techniques to get registrations, take them through the whole marketing funnel and get them to go from being complete strangers to the brand to being its prescribers and even fans.
- Brand positioning. Valuable content will make your brand get more notoriety and people will identify with your products and services.
In short, branded content makes the user proud of your brand and becomes its best ambassador and advocate.
Differences between branded content and product placement
Product placement can be defined as the intermediate stage between traditional outbound advertising and branded content. This technique began to be experimented with in the 1980s, when television advertising strategies were no longer as effective. A very clear example of product placement is the inclusion of branded products among scene objects in movies.
Remember the famous box of Russell Stover chocolates in the film Forrest Gump? The chocolates became so popular that the brand even developed a special box with the design used in the scene.
The branded content is positioned as a more subtle and advanced technique. It is not meant to sell a product but to connect with the user to gain his trust.
Sometimes formats and techniques can lead to confusion between the two strategies. Therefore, to distinguish between branded content and product placement I suggest you take into account these three aspects:
- Control over the product. In the case of product placement the brand has no control, the product is subject to what is indicated in the script. With a branded content strategy you can create your own script, the brand is the one that decides the values to transmit.
- Focus. The product in the placement strategy is totally passive. In branded content it is the essence of the plot.
- Credibility. The biggest risk of product placement is the lack of credibility it can produce in the user/viewer. The branded content, because of its non-intrusive essence, is perceived as something more natural, not artificial.
Branded content and its impact on the purchase cycle
As we have seen, in an increasingly crowded and saturated market, branded content is a technique that offers many advantages. But you have to work very well the actions proposing contents that surprise and are innovative.
A good previous work of analysis of the target audience, their countries and the solutions they are looking for is the basis for producing content that provides value. The brand’s discourse will be built on these, with the aim of bringing it closer to its users without selling them anything.
The idea is to boost the conversation instead of advertising products, since interaction is the basis for creating a link, transmitting emotions and getting loyal users. This translates into an investment of resources that bring benefits to the company in the short and long term.
In the short term, thanks to the notoriety that the brand is acquiring, a better positioning will be achieved. In addition, over time, the engagement generated will make users continue to choose the products of these brands with which they identify and become ambassadors.
Examples of branded content
Let’s leave the theory and move on to practice. Bringing valuable content closer to potential customers is all very well, but how is it done? What are the best known success stories? Let’s look at three of the most popular ones:
Red Bull, the king of branded content
Red Bull has gone from being a manufacturer of energy drinks to something else because of the branded content. In fact, we can now see it as a content producer rather than an energy drink brand.
There are many examples of branded content made by the Red Bull brand. However, we all surely remember the most famous one: Felix Baumgartner’s leap from the stratosphere, which was entirely created and sponsored by this brand. What better way to continue positioning yourself as a brand related to risky sports than to finance the biggest base jump in history?
As you can see, in this way the brand was doing an advertising action, but bringing a lot of value to its potential customers (in this case, entertainment and emotions).
Do you know the famous Coca-Cola campaign with the cans with names on them? This is also a brilliant strategy of branded content. The branded content is personalized, original and interesting, and it knows that its consumers will like it, because that collector’s and self-centered vein that we all have jumps out when we see the can with our name on it.
With this campaign, Coca-Cola has achieved millions of mentions on social networks, appearing on TV news and practically monopolizing all marketing news for days on end (when it was launched). In short, “free” advertising thanks to a good branded content campaign.
The power of branded content on social networks is unlimited. This was taken advantage of by Kit Kat. The chocolate brand created a Facebook application on Valentine’s Day that measured the compatibility of their followers with their partners. The couple who got the highest score would get a trip to Paris with all sorts of luxuries. What do you think?
In this case, the results speak for themselves too. Thousands of users participated, sharing the application and the Kit Kat brand to infinity and beyond.
Facebook apps and well-focused contests are a perfect tool to turn any unknown brand, even if in this case it was not, into a trend on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
Is branded content only for big companies?
The 3 examples we have given you are from large companies, but that does not mean that branded content is exclusive to them.
Any SME or freelancer can also make branded content with their products or services simply by having a blog or a website. The three strategies of Red Bull, Coca-Cola and Kit Kat can be replicated on a small scale.
For example, if you have a restaurant and you want to increase the number of customers during the week, you can create competitions on social networks, propose marriage workshops or wine tasting. Is your business in the sector of professional education for hairdressers? A good branded content strategy could be developed at Pinterest, creating very specific boards to promote the quality of your institution and its values.
Sponsoring an event on your theme in your city, customizing your products to make customers identify with them or creating a contest with a Facebook app are other actions used by the big brands that are also within your reach.
Branded content is not for brands with money. It’s for people and companies with imagination and a desire to connect with their personal shoppers and offer them interesting and useful content for their daily lives. When do you start using it?