Branded Content Leading the Way For Corporate
Branded content can be defined as: “any type of advertising that makes use of “content” – typically videos, articles, infographics both on social media and websites - to represent, support or promote a product or service.” It is quite different from direct advertising because it functions as the driver for entertainment or information that will eventually lead to the promotion of a brand, rather than directly promoting the brand.
Primarily, branded content has to do with learning about consumers and creating a connection with them that can be used to appeal to them on emotional and relevant level rather than focusing your attention on the brand itself. If a brand content has the required qualities - entertaining, compelling, and interesting, it will give good results. How is this done?
Branded marketing considers what the average consumer wants. This gives companies the opportunity to connect with the minds and hearts of the consumers by creatively linking to their products. Instead of recommending their product to a customer, the company will find the problem that a consumer is experiencing and help them find a solution to the problem with their product. That will appeal to the emotions of the customer than promoting the product directly.
In recent years, branded content has led the way as the main tool used by corporate organisations to promote their brands.
The success of branded content is linked with the desire of potential consumers to make decisions themselves instead of being told what to do or not. Branded content provides them with the information they need to make their decisions. As a result, it has gained increased momentum among corporate bodies that rely on its efficiency to drive more consumers to their products. A study revealed that over 96% of America consumers feel comfortable with “brands that provide useful information without trying to sell them something” according to the report, the same percentage of consumers express trust in brands that inform them of a need or help them to meet a particular need through content. This highlights how content is held in high esteem by consumers in the US. The same can be said of consumers around the globe too.
The history of branded content
Branded content is not a new innovation. It has been in existence since the 1930s and 1940s when it was primarily done with radio programs. Back then, stories and songs will be featured on a radio program while the brand name will be slowly slipped in. it was the first attempt at using the technique for promoting a brand.
There was a transition to the television promotion when products were featured in most of the popular shows. A couple of years later, BMW produced the first series of movies which they distributed on the Internet. That was how the idea was taken to another level.
The success of this led to the formation of the Branded Content Marketing Association in 2003. The objective of the association was to give branded content a global promotion as well as share the best branded content practices.
However, branded content has become an integral part of the digital ad industry that most of the leaders in marketing are using to boost their revenues on their social media pages while intriguing their readers with highly informative materials. As a result of the effectiveness of this technique to reach the heart of consumers, it has become one of the most effective marketing techniques to corporate bodies and organisations. This is unconnected to its benefits. What are they?
Benefits of branded content
Some of the important benefits of branded content that are responsible for the increasing acceptance and popularity of the concept as an effective marketing concept are:
1. It is valuable to customers:
Since branded content helps customers to identify their problems and suggest practical solutions that can help them overcome those problems, they find it more valuable than other techniques that have been in use for years. This has led to a corresponding increase in patronage for companies in terms of sales.
2. It informs them:
Most customers are fed up with marketing messages with little or no benefit. They appreciate whatever helps them to identify their problems as well as give them solutions to them. While pushing a selling proposition is the trademark of traditional marketing, branded content provides the very opposite. It focuses on people before proceeding to the product by not directly introducing the product or brand to them. The importance and relevance of the information provided by branded content to consumers make it a valuable tool for them and a correspondingly valuable marketing tool for organisations.
3. Branded content is great for B2B brands:
Brand to Brand (B2B) companies find it challenging to leverage the same opportunity that B2C brands have. Since the former focus on selling huge investments to some other rich companies, they need tons of quality content to make their products and services valuable to the potential buyers.
With the introduction of blogging, social media, white papers, infographics, B2B businesses are helped to market their efforts successfully as well as lead to increased lead generation. As a result, over 51% of B2B marketers have turned to content marketing as the leading source for leads while sales accounts for a meager 29%.This is highlighted in a study conducted recently by B2B magazine.
4. It is easy to share:
When your content is informative and worthwhile, readers will appreciate it. Most people will resist the temptation to be selfish with such informative content and will be compelled to share it for the benefit of others. As your content is shared across different platforms and social media sites to billions of active social media users, there is an increased chance of getting viral. Do you know what happens to viral contents? They drive sales through the roof.
5. Increased site traffic:
Pushing branded content has the potential for increasing your site traffic. As more people come in contact with your content, it may appeal to them, encouraging them to visit your site and find out what your products or services are all about. This may lead to a surge in the number of organic traffic to your website in a short time. The overall impact of such traffic on your brand includes more awareness and patronage.
6. Brand awareness:
Without branded content, it may be impossible for many people to be aware of your brand. How, for instance, will you make your product known to a potential buyer in Africa or Europe if you are based in the US or UK without brand content? That’s nearly impossible. With branded content, you are creating a powerful brand awareness that may drive your content to the remotest part of the world with Internet facility.
7. Audience engagement:
The principle behind branded content makes it an effective tool for audience engagement. By addressing the problems of users and suggesting practical solutions to them, the audience will be convinced to make a move. That may lead to the purchase of a product or services as the case may be. Either way, it definitely has a very powerful influence on audience engagement.
8. It connects brands with consumers:
Due to the principle of solving the problems of consumers before the introduction of a product or service, brands are able to establish a good connection with their consumers. That makes a difference in their performance. For instance, a study conducted by Custom Content Council revealed that:
68% of the consumers expressed their desire to patronize a brand with custom content because it addresses their needs and is tailored towards their interests.
55% of the consumers also expressed their willingness to purchase the product of a company that provides them with branded content.
9. It helps prospective customers find your business:
There are different ways for consumers to find your business. However, searching stands out. When a potential buyer has an unwanted problem, there is the natural tendency to “Google” the solution. With branded content, it is convenient for a buyer to find a solution to his or her problem via your content, thereby leading the buyer to your product.
Many big companies have reaped rich rewards from the advantages of using branded content as a means of promoting their brands. Let’s take a look at some of these corporate institutions:
1. Coke: Coca-Cola, otherwise known as Coke, is a traditional company that has continued to thrive with content marketing. By combining the powers of branded content with social media, the company has gone from strength to strength over the years. By investing hugely in branded content, it has been able to maintain its touch with its numerous consumers with billions of dollars in turnover to show for it. That is in addition to its global acceptance and appeal which has resulted in the consumption of 1.8 billion worth of the product.
Recently, the company launched 5by20, a community with the goal of empowering 5 million women entrepreneurs globally within the next three years. Through this effort, Coke is indirectly promoting its brand by offering to empower entrepreneurial women. That’s a good case of branded content.
2. Nike: This giant sports footwear company has always leveraged the power of marketing for years. Recently, it took up branded content as a way to promote its products by encouraging people to “perform like you should on your terms.” When it launched the site, Game On, World, the company empowers many people to find out a convenient way for them to achieve greatness. The goal is to encourage sports enthusiasts to develop themselves while using the footwear produced by this company to achieve their goals. In essence, the company tries to solve some people’s problems of becoming sports people while indirectly promoting their brand.
3. Kraft Foods: Kraft Foods takes advantage of people’s need for good recipes to make healthy meals to drive people to its products. With a community where people are taught the basic cooking skills, with photos, dessert recipes, lunch ideas, feature articles, and the likes, the company has succeeded in making its brand widely recognised without directly directing people to the brands.
Why is branded content so important?
Qualities of branded content
For branded content to achieve the desired goal, these are some of what you should consider when planning an effective branded content:
It must be innovative. This is necessary if you intend to reach the heart of your target audience. Since your product is unique to you, your approach should be different too.
It must be attractive: This is very important. If your branded content must be effective, it must also be attractive. The attractiveness is dependent on the ability of the content to address their problems and proffering the appropriate solution to it.
It must promote public interaction: it is highly advisable that you promote public interaction with your target audience. Without reaching their hearts, that is nearly impossible. But you must bear it in mind that you need to actively interact with your audience with your content.
It must pass the right message: Your content should be devoid of any ambiguity. The purpose of the content should be explicitly explained so that your audience will find it convenient to understand and identify with your brand. If your message is not clear enough or is not appropriate to your audience, you will miss the goal.
It should be shareable: In the digital word, there are different mediums you can use to pass your message to the right audience. Your content should be shareable before it can reach your target audience.
Therefore, the role of branded content in driving corporate bodies to meet their target cannot be overemphasized. It has become a willing tool in the hands of most organizations, helping them to achieve their goals of meeting the growing demands of their ever-increasing audience.
In that light, you shouldn’t miss out on taking advantage of branded content to take your brand to the next level. It is a golden opportunity to stay ahead of your competitors in this highly-competitive business world.