Branded Content

Branded content helps organizations build relationships with consumers through storytelling rather than through direct sales and advertising. 

Creating branded content can help boost your brand’s reach, engagement, and trust with audiences. Branded content can also help brands stay relevant in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Key is establishing a consistent, unified brand voice and related brand voice guidelines to maintain credibility and authenticity. 

Branded content types

There are many types of branded content but they all align with your brand’s values, story, and vision, providing valuable information to your audience. Branded content is often engaging, educational, or entertaining and may be marked as sponsored, involve brand partnerships, or feature influencer collaborations.

Sponsored content

Sponsored content is content that a brand pays to have published on a third-party platform, like a blog or social media account. This type of branded content is typically marked as sponsored, so consumers know that the brand has paid for its placement.

Native advertising

Closely related to sponsored content, native advertising is a type of branded content that blends in with the style, tone, and format of the platform on which it appears. For example, this might include a sponsored article on a news website that matches the editorial style of the site.

Co-created content

Co-created content is a collaborative effort between a brand and another content creator or partner, such as an influencer, agency, or another brand. This collaboration allows both parties to leverage each other’s expertise, audience, and resources to create more impactful content.

Brand partnerships

Brand partnerships involve two or more brands coming together to create content that promotes both their products and services. This collaboration can result in a co-branded product, event, or content series.

Social media influencer content

Social media influencer content is content created by influencers who have a strong following and engagement on social media platforms. Brands partner with these influencers to create content that promotes their products and services to the influencer’s audience.

Two high-profile, real-world examples of branded content

In 2019, Coca-Cola partnered with the popular Netflix series Stranger Things to create a limited edition can of New Coke, a product that was famously a flop in the 1980s. The partnership included retro-inspired ads, social media campaigns, and even a product placement in the show, which helped both brands tap into a sense of nostalgia and reach a younger audience.

In 2018, Nike released an ad featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who had sparked controversy by kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest against racial injustice. The ad, which featured the tagline “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” generated buzz and discussion, with some people praising the brand for taking a stance on a social issue, while others boycotted the brand.

Challenges and considerations in branded content

Branded content challenges include maintaining authenticity, ensuring consistent brand voice, measuring success, and adhering to legal and ethical considerations. Balancing promotion and storytelling is crucial, as well as establishing clear guidelines, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Maintaining authenticity

Brands need to ensure that their content remains authentic and true to their values, while also being engaging and valuable to their audience. This requires a delicate balance between promotion and storytelling.

Brand voice consistency

It is essential to maintain a consistent brand voice across all branded content to create a cohesive brand experience. This can be achieved by developing clear brand voice guidelines for content creators to follow.

Measuring success

Determining the success of branded content can be challenging, as it often focuses on building long-term relationships and brand affinity, rather than immediate sales. Brands need to establish clear objectives and KPIs to measure the effectiveness of their branded content strategy.

Brands need to ensure they comply with advertising regulations and ethical guidelines when creating branded content. This includes clearly disclosing sponsored content, avoiding deceptive practices, and respecting intellectual property rights.

Benefits of branded content

Branded content strengthens audience connections with engaging stories, boosting brand image. Quality content drives conversions by addressing pain points, while consistency cultivates trust and long-term customer relationships.

Enhanced customer engagement

Branded content allows brands to create a deeper connection with their audience by sharing stories, insights, and experiences. This leads to increased engagement, as consumers are more likely to interact with content that resonates with their values and interests.

Boosted brand image and reputation

By creating high-quality, valuable, and engaging content, brands can showcase their expertise, credibility, and authenticity. This helps improve their overall image and reputation in the eyes of consumers.

Driving conversions and sales

Branded content can help brands move consumers through the sales funnel by providing valuable information, addressing pain points, and highlighting the benefits of their products and services.

Building trust and loyalty with consumers

By consistently delivering valuable and engaging content, brands can build trust and loyalty with their audience. This can lead to long-term customer relationships and increased brand advocacy.

The value of branded content for brands

The embracement of branded content as a marketing strategy has become crucial for brands as consumer preferences shift due to advancements in technology. With consumers seeking authentic, engaging experiences, brands need to evolve and adapt their approach to create content that resonates with their audience. 

By leveraging storytelling and using content analytics to measure the effectiveness of branded content, brands can build meaningful audience connections and remain relevant in an ever-changing digital landscape.