What is Branded Content and How Does It Benefit Your Brand Image?

For the next two weeks, we’ll be hearing from guest blogger and Marketing and Content Specialist Estelle Liotard. Learn more about what branded content is and how it will benefit your brand image.

Today’s advertising market is increasingly saturated, as users are continuously overwhelmed with ads and information. This makes many of them resort to all sorts of solutions to block ads and spam. This is precisely why brands are looking for different and more creative ways to connect with their customers. Branded content often represents a great solution to these sorts of needs. If done correctly, it gives the customers a positive and permanent feeling about the brand. But what exactly is branded content and what benefits does it bring to your overall brand image? 

What is Branded Content?

Branded content is not necessarily a new trend and is actually based on how content was created in the 40’s, when it was common for TV shows to have specific sponsors or for brands to create their own shows. Broadly speaking, branded content is a marketing strategy that involves developing creative content that is linked to a brand, allowing consumers to alone make the connection with the brand. 

One of the primary characteristics of branded content is the fact that it is not linked directly to the product or services of said brand, but more to its values and principles. While it might look like a normal commercial spot, it is not necessarily based on advertising a product, but more on bringing the intangible qualities of the brand to the spotlight. The purpose of branded content is to generate notoriety around the brand and spark conversation. It searches to appeal to emotions, without focusing too much on why a certain product is better than the competition. This is why branded content is quite a flexible concept that can be presented through multiple channels such as video content, actions on the street, events, interactive formats and even a combination of multiple of these channels. 

Branded content does not seek to advertise a certain product or service, making it less invasive and more informative. Consumers seem to respond positively to such methods, as they do not feel overwhelmed by the product itself. Branded content seeks for the consumers to willingly turn towards the product or service, making it entirely their decision. 

When consumers are watching branded content, their brand recall can be up to 59% higher than it is with normal advertising. At the same time, after watching a branded content commercial, viewers are 14% more likely to further seek out other content from the same brand. The reason consumers like branded content so much, is because it seems more consumer-oriented, precisely because the overall message is not perceived as a sales pitch, creating a trust-based connection between the consumer and the brand. 

Why is it Important to Integrate Branded Content into your Digital Strategy?

Consumers don’t relate to old marketing strategies as they used to. While valuable online content still gets attention, it was reported that 82% of Americans ignore online ads, so companies have to come up with new ways to get and keep people’s attention. Branded content seems to be what was missing from advertising and it’s here to stay, as marketing experts predict it will only become more popular. 

Truth is, the more technology advances, the more people crave for human connection. This is exactly what branded content gives to consumers. A way of connecting themselves with the brand in a more natural and truthful way, through humanistic stories that take the consumer-brand relationship to another level. Good branded content makes the message of the brand spread much easier. Sometimes, a short 30 seconds video can accomplish what a long story can’t and it can be passed around much faster.

By looking more into it, marketing experts have come to the conclusion that consumers actually want branded content, due to the fact that it tells a story. The more journalistic nature of branded content creates more interest around the consumers, by actually providing them with information they want or need to hear. If that information is useful to them, they will associate the image of the brand with the advice they got, labeling it forever as reliable and useful in their lives. 

This type of content marketing is perceived as more organic, making people actually want to share it with their friends and spread the word. Nobody would deliberately share a plain shoe ad with their friends, but everybody interested in this content will share a video titled “The History of the High Heel”. In some way, this makes people act as natural ambassadors to the brand and adds to their important role in the brand’s advertising story. 

Advantages and Benefits of Making Branded Content

If done correctly, branded content can tremendously benefit your brand image and attract the attention of consumers in a positive way. Some of the advantages of branded content are:

  • It is noninvasive: Traditional digital advertising methods, such as banners that slow down navigation, are usually being rejected by users. Branded content, on the other hand, attracts consumers naturally and makes them want to get closer to the brand.

  • Emotional connection: Perhaps the biggest benefit from branded content is the fact that it creates a personal and emotional connection between the consumers and the brand, by telling stories that excite and provoke the audience. Such emotions are then associated with the brand, making people remember it for a long time.

  • It is shareable: Branded content is almost always shareable, opening the possibility for it to go viral and be shared through social media, reaching a much wider audience. This so-called “snowball effect” can work wonders for a brand. 

  • Improves brand positioning: This type of content tells a story that promotes the positive values that the brand wants to be associated with, instead of just repeating a slogan, thus improving the way consumers register the brand into their minds. 

  • Evokes consumer engagement: Branded content often seeks to stimulate user response, making the audience engage with the brand on a much deeper level, thus integrating it as part of their customer identity.

Now that you’ve learned the basics of branded content, stay tuned for next week’s blog where we share how to make branded content.