Branded content: a common marketing term, but many marketers are still burning themselves. Because with branded content marketing you do not focus on selling a service or product, but on increasing a brand: the brand. You will not see prices, sales pitch or specific call to actions in this type of content. What exactly is branded content, and what are the differences with content marketing and native advertising?
What is branded content?
Branded content combines the brand story with entertainment, sometimes with information, on a paid channel. Fun, emotion and relevance for the target group are the starting point, not the commercial message. Branded content can take any form: text, video clip, gif, advertising clip or an image. By consuming this content, the consumer is introduced to a brand in a pleasant way. An additional objective is to let the branded content go viral, so that websites, blogs and consumers start sharing via social media in particular. Even if your own channels are used, you will still be paid for promotion via other channels.
James Bond in combination with Vodka Martini or Jean-Claude van Damme with Volvo are good examples of branded content:
Product placement is also branded content
Good Times Bad Times in which brands are used by the actors, such as Thuisbezorgd or Lidl, or a MacBook in that hacker film, is also product placement. Not so much the brand story, but the service or the product itself is positioned. It subtly lets viewers know that it is fine and normal to use these services. The viewer is not immediately aware that it comes from the brand itself, but actually the content (the film or series) is partially paid for by the brand. It's about credibility.
An advertisement that only mentions the benefits of a product is quickly unbelievable. No product is perfect (except for Guinness). So you also expect to see a few negative reviews in the reviews of a company.
Qualitative content scores
Branded content is about good quality content that connects to the target group and that is 'coincidentally' made by a brand. The connection to the target group is the difference between flat advertising and 'fun' content. After all, today you are flooded with an enormous amount of advertisements and advertisements. People are going to filter with a spam filter, No No sticker, adblocker, the call-me-not-register and video on demand. Only relevant content still scores attention. And that can also be just 'fun' content. Example of viral content that I have shared with pleasure, while I am not a fan of either:
Create relevance with branded content
A movie with James Bond and a 2 million euro promotion budget always works. But not everyone has such budgets such as a Heineken. Companies considering branded content should consider the following facts:
- It is about the target group. Who do you have in mind? What problem, interest, challenge, past, expectation or goal do they have in common? Suppose you would make a film with an endless budget for your target group. What should really be in it? Who would you really score with? And through which paid channels do you reach this target group /
- What emotion do you evoke? Facts make you think, emotion sets you in motion. Take a look at your own Facebook timeline: which social media messages have you shared? Why? How did they make you feel? Branded content needs a strong story.
- Don't forget the company. Branded content is about the sweet spot between the story for your target group and the story of your company. Your target group accepts a limited degree of branding, but usually no commercial messages. Look at the well-known examples and wonder how you can do the same. Think of communicating core values, a one-two with a website and encouraging sharing.
But there is much more than just branded content, such as content marketing, which is often used as a replacement term. But please note:
Branded content is not content marketing
Branded content is not the same as content marketing, but the confusion is understandable. Content marketing focuses on creating valuable relevant and consistent content to appeal to, persuade and convert. The differences with branded content are the consistency, the channels and in a certain sense the goal. Branded content is not used continuously by many companies. Content marketing is mainly used on one's own channels - the blog, the newsletter and social media - and is only promoted via paid channels. Branded content is paid media. And where content marketing also works on thought leadership and creating a long-term relationship branded content for targeted, the name says it all, branding.
Westworld website for season 2
During the Super Bowl 2018, the makers of Westworld showed an advertising film for season two. Hidden in it was a code, fans discovered on Reddit, which leads to a secret website: DiscoverWestWorld.com. Here you will find all sorts of hints and easter eggs for season two again. For example, press the shift button in, or enter the code to the Aeden chatbot guidebook on.
What is native advertising?
Native advertising combines branded content with content marketing:
- It is paid media; in particular high-quality blogs and platforms;
- It is aimed at the target group; therefore relevant and interesting;
- Going viral is not the goal; but would of course be a nice side effect;
- It is about branding or SEO; the difference is the visibility of the advertiser.
Is the actual sender limited and is it not clear that the content has been paid for? Then the advertiser is concerned with the SEO value of the placed link, the clicks of an interested target group and the possible conversion that results. Bee affiliate marketing the website is paid for the number of views, the number of clicks or the final conversion. Is it clearly 'sponsored'? Then it's one advertorial, and it's all about brand visibility. In particular, you notice that the text is immediately commercially written and leads to a call-to-action. With affiliate marketing that is not always so clear: sometimes it is just a Bol.com link to a good book.
Branded content, content marketing and native advertising: what suits me?
It is clear to you that if you want to use content for your marketing in whatever form, it must match the target group. It must be qualitative. But when do you bet now?
- Branded content: works especially well with celebrities, video and therefore enough budget. You create qualitative content for your target group, choose the corresponding channels and pay for the promotion. Especially campaigning.
- Content marketing: you create quality content for your target group and share it on your own channels. The most important promotional tool is SEO, but you can also use paid resources such as Google Adwords or Facebook Marketing.
- Native advertising: You want to appeal to target groups of other websites and provide a boost in your Google rankings? Then consider native advertising.
Choose quality and convenience
Whatever form you choose, ease of deployment is important, especially with large campaigns. Therefore choose a platform such as LinkPizza that supports with all forms of sponsored content, native advertising and content marketing. With this you have one one stop shop with which you can easily and quickly purchase unique content, store it broadly and easily measure. Look here as advertiser, or here if you want to get started as publisher.