Companies are struggling to get to their customers using traditional advertising methods. They have so many things to say! Products to sell! So, what can they do in order to tell their customers about their products without sounding dogmatic? Without giving the classical sales speech or using push advertising? The moment to implement a branded content strategy has arrived!
What is branded content?
If we look for this terminology in Wikipedia, we would get as a result that branded content is a form of advertising that blurs conventional distinctions between what constitutes advertising and editorial content. Branded content is essentially a fusion of both into one product intended to be distributed as editorial content, albeit with a highly branded quality and often labeled as “sponsored.”
But, what does this means? Let me try to define it as I see it. Branded content is about people, about entertainment, about storytelling, if you merge these concepts with your brand or your product, you get branded content.
When you set a branded content strategy into place, you are thinking about connecting with your audience, you want to relate with your customers on an emotional level rather than just trying to sell the actual product.
“People don’t like being sold to. It’s a discomforting experience, so the challenge for content marketers is to make sure the entertainment value of the content outweighs the discomfort.”
I think that the best way to really understand about branded content campaigns is actually through some examples of it, so I am going to show you some examples of branded content of excellent level.
The first one was produced by Volvo, here we go with the video.
Any person that watches this video is going to think, “Jean-Claude Van Damme is doing his famous split on two trucks! Amazing! at his age!
But really, you are not only seeing this, what Volvo is actually showing you is Jean-Claude Van Damme doing his famous split in 2 Volvo cars while they are being driven in reverse. They are showing you in a very subtle way the stability of their trucks, the precision and innovation of their technology.
This is an excellent example of how branded content marketing can work for B2B. Although Volvo Trucks’ main target audience are truckers, the video appeals to the general public.
What to do when your company is hit by a demolishing crisis and you might have to close it down? In 2004 one of the most famous toy companies of all times were about to go bankrupt. After changing the whole company strategy, a great opportunity arised in 2014 with the creation of a movie fully made by lego toys. The success was overwhelming, making over $450 million.
The Lego movie is another great example of branded content in which we’re far from feeling that Lego is trying to sell you their products; what you feel they are trying to make you feel as a part of the Lego universe. Nevertheless, sales rose 11% thanks to the movie, showing the great power of branded content campaigns.
Here you can watch the official trailer:
My final example is one that I have used in previous post as it is the perfect blend of branded content strategy, together with user-generated content. The Old spice guy campaign is one of the best examples of branded content campaign of the decade! This is not a one off video, it is a campaign that has been developed throughout the years.
The most memorable ad is the initial one, The man your man could smell like.
In a campaign where men are the target, the main character always talks directly to the female public, involving everyone into his speech. This was a fun, innovative and successful campaign that through branded content and UGC reported an uplift of 107% in sales for Old Spice!
After these examples we can see that branded content is an effective advertising option nowadays, you provide your prospect customer with an experience about your brand, you get to his feelings and wake up his emotions. The results if you do it right will be great for your company but you have to take into account that this is not a one off, but an actual strategy that you will have to develop and follow.
Tell your customers about your brand, tell them about your philosophy and strengths tell them using stories that will get to their heart. This is what branded content is about!