Branded content: what is it and how does it differ from unpaid content?
Nowadays, branded content is starting to gain strength as a marketing tool. The market is beginning to be saturated as we knew it until now, or, how many banners do we come across when visiting a website? Or how many times have we bought a magazine and there are more advertising pages than content itself? Faced with this situation, communication agencies, advertising agencies and brands must change the way they communicate and this is where branded content comes into its own.
First of all, it is important to know exactly what we are talking about when we talk about this concept. The reality is that branded content is a communication tool to connect the consumer with the brand. The main objective and differential point is that it goes beyond products or services, as it seeks to transmit brand values. Therefore, it is vital to evaluate the efficiency and profitability of this type of campaign with values such as mentions or notoriety, actions that go beyond the sale itself, the objective pursued by conventional advertising.
Currently, it is a very new technique that still creates some confusion compared to conventional advertising campaigns. For this reason, from LF Channel we would like to detail the two key points to take into account before starting to work with this communication strategy:
- Keep products in the background. As we mentioned a few lines above, the aim is for our target to get to know the brand through its values, beyond the services offered by the company. A clear example of this concept is the Vodafone Business Observatory, a B2B example to position the telephone company as a leader in the technological transformation of large and small companies.
- Put aside unintentionally consumed content. How many times do we consume advertising unintentionally? It can be through a carousel of spots on television at the climax of your favourite series or as a pop-up when entering a website, advertisements that end up being consumed involuntarily. The creation of content through the tool of branded content is key to get the user’s interest and make them consume it voluntarily. Another key example is the ‘Run Like a Girl’ campaign by Always, a sanitary napkin company, which challenged gender stereotypes through its target audience, young women.
Among the characteristics of this innovative technique we find different types of media and formats. For example, the two cases we exemplified are in video format, but increasingly, companies are looking to go further by trying other types of platforms such as Spotify with podcasts, written content in print or digital media, or through educational platforms such as Domestika. The options are endless and, beyond interesting content, users value highly the originality of the formats where they consume ad-free content created by brands.
The reality is that there is no key formula to create a good branded content strategy, but there are some key factors for the strategy to work: surprise, dynamism and relevance. In short, all that mix of concepts that make the consumer look for your content without needing to know that it is created by a brand. This will help them to share it with their friends, family or colleagues in which we are sure that the target will be found and, who knows, if they will go viral.
Another key point is not to look for sales or a quick return on these contents. If the company’s objective is to sell a product in the short term, this should certainly not be your ideal strategy. It is a long journey where the brand accompanies the consumer to create a bond together that, over a long period of time, can result in brand awareness. For example, if we create a podcast on a topic related to our company and it is of interest, no one guarantees that they will seek it out periodically, but what if they do? Without a doubt, we can steal the heart or a few minutes of our potential customer’s time.
In conclusion, it is a new communication tool that allows us to capture the consumer’s interest, beyond the commercial interest itself. Currently, there is no magic formula to make it work, but we have no doubt that it will become increasingly important and it is up to the brands to surprise with the format.
At LF Channel we encourage our clients to create strategies with content as a basis to turn brand values into an important axis in their communication campaigns. If you believe in content marketing as a key strategy, do not hesitate to contact us so to help you.