In today’s competitive business world, there is an increased need for brands to find ways to connect with their audiences through different marketing tactics.
One of them is branded content marketing, a strategy that helps companies across the globe to build trust and boost ROI in their campaigns.
But be advised: without the right branded content, customers might not understand your values or messaging.
In this article, we’ll explain what branded content is, and what goals it can help your brand fulfill.
We’ll also take a look at ways you can tell if a branded campaign is successful and give you some tips on how to create your own high-quality content.
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What is Branded Content?
Branded content is content that is directly related to your brand and creates an emotional response from audiences while building connections between your customers and your values.
It helps your ideal audiences understand what it is your brand believes in and makes a statement about mission.
Typically, branded content is not advertising content. Instead, it tells a story to evoke emotional responses from your audiences or otherwise entertain and educate them.
By avoiding harsh sales talk and staying away from direct advertisements for products, branded content differs from more invasive forms of marketing and instead builds trust between your consumers and your company.
Broken down, common characteristics of branded content include:
- Brand-focused content rather than product or service-focused content.
- No sales or pitch marketing techniques.
- Strong connections with audiences on the emotional level.
- Entertaining, educational, or otherwise engaging content.
- Content that makes a social statement.
- Storytelling elements.
- Building value that strengthens trust between brand and audience.
- Stories that fit into different mediums, channels, and methods of distribution.
The Goals of Branded Content
Branded content isn’t advertising copy or a product-focused blog.
Instead, it works to generate organic engagement with your audiences and start conversations with key customer groups.
At its core, this content helps you improve your brand reputation and create a positive association between your brand and your consumers.
When people think about your industry, you want your brand to come to the top of your customers’ minds for the right reasons.
You want your audiences to tell people they know about your brand and recommend your products or services not just because they are high-quality, but because the customer believes that your brand itself has value.
Branded content works to:
- Improve your brand’s reputation.
- Create strong emotional connections between audiences and your company.
- Increase the position your brand holds in the industry as you work on creating messages that resonate with customers.
How to Identify a Successful Branded Content Campaign
It’s important to know how to identify successful campaigns so you know what to aim for.
If you can’t successfully create branded content, you risk coming across as insincere and distrustful to audiences.
After all, you are working to connect with them emotionally, so missing the mark can generate negative emotions towards your brand.
Signs of a successful branded content campaign include:
- A shared interest in ideas and goals between brands and audiences.
- Conversations that have been created through storytelling elements in content.
- Memorable experiences created through entertaining and engaging content.
- Strategically planned content shared across multiple platforms and channels.
- New opportunities to collaborate with other brands to build authority and relevance.
8 Tips for Creating High-Quality Branded Content
Branded content can bring some incredible benefits to your brand, but only if it is done correctly.
In order to help you create compelling and successful content, let’s take a look at some of the best practices and tips you can use while working on your campaigns.
1. Create Content that Means Something
Most brands only have a few branded content campaigns in comparison to their many advertising campaigns.
That’s because when it comes to branded content, quality matters over quantity.
Create content that means something and resonates with audiences. Oftentimes, that includes taking a social stance or making a statement with your content that emotionally connects with audiences.
2. Strategically Pick Channels and Platforms
Branded content is extremely valuable, but can have serious determinations for your brand if done incorrectly.
In order to get the results you are looking for, you need to strategically consider the channels and platforms you use in your campaign.
Taking some time to research the best platforms and formats can help you find where your audiences are and give them branded content as the best option.
3. Increase Content Visibility
A single blog or social media post isn’t going to be enough to get results out of your campaign.
Your content needs to be seen by the majority of your audience, so increasing its visibility can go a long way in helping you receive all of the benefits.
Planning your promotion strategy for branded content is oftentimes just as important as the content itself.
4. Stand Out from Competitors
You’ll want to make sure that your branded content isn’t the same as the content your competitors produce.
Just like every brand is different, every campaign needs to have its own goals, message, and strategy.
Think about the values of your brand and how you can make them stand out from the competition rather than blend in with other branded content campaigns.
5. Know Who Your Audiences Are
In order to market a branded content campaign successfully, you need to have a deep understanding of who your audiences are.
After all, it’s hard to emotionally connect to a customer when you don’t know who that customer is.
Revise your customer profiles and buyer personas before you launch your campaign to make sure your audiences are nailed down.
6. Define Your Voice and Tone
The message you create for branded content needs to have a unique tone and voice that accurately represents the values of your brand.
Think about the way you communicate information, the style of your copy, and the larger tones that you want to create while working on messaging.
This can help you stand out and create a unified brand voice.
7. Highlight the Benefits of Your Products and Services
While branded content isn’t a sales pitch for products and services, you still need to represent your brand and what it is you do.
Think about how you can naturally weave in your products and services into your content without directly calling them out.
Visuals are a great way to do this without relying on copy or text to reference your products.
8. Monitor and Measure Success
Monitoring the results of your campaign is essential to see if you’ve hit the mark or have room for improvement.
Check out what customers have to say about you on social media and get a sense of your brand’s reputation after launching your campaign.
Have you improved in their eyes? Or have you stayed the same?
Best Branded Content Examples
Now that you understand what branded content is and how to create it for your brand, let’s take a look at some of the best examples by major brands.
1. Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign
The Dove Real Beauty campaign was launched in 2004 to promote the idea that beauty was for everyone and has had many different iterations and adaptations since.
Dove, a skincare brand, found through research that only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful and worked to create a branded content campaign that could change the way women viewed themselves while creating powerful emotional connections between real beauty and the Dove brand.
2. Heineken’s “Wild Lager” Campaign
Heineken, a popular beer brand, wanted to strengthen their perception as an intellectual and historical brand with the launch of its new Wild Lager product.
To do so, they partnered with National Geographic to create a mini-documentary about the history and origin of the product.
This helped to create a strong connection with their audiences by telling an educational story in an engaging format. It also increased their audience and broadened the reach of the brand.
3. Coca-Cola’s “Names” Campaign
Coke is one of the biggest names in the soft drinks industry, and they constantly work to create strong emotional connections between their consumers and the brand.
One of their more successful campaigns was the Names Campaign, where bottles of Coke with different names printed on them were sold.
This helped increase sales and caused audiences to spend time searching for their names or loved one’s names. Even nicknames, colloquialisms, and monikers were available so everyone could participate.
Branded content creates strong emotional connections, trust, and returns on investment for brands that understand how to brand their content correctly.
Once you know how to create great branded content that works, you can bulk up your campaigns and drive more results for your company’s marketing initiatives.
There are many different formats that branded content can take, and some might not be what you expect, like social media hashtags.
To learn more, check out our blog on branded hashtags and learn how they can drive engagement for your brand and help people discover your brand organically!