What is Branded Content? Types, Features & Examples
In an increasingly competitive market, entrepreneurs have to try their best to make their products and services outstanding in the sea of global products. Every day, there have been millions of ads and information created to promote their products.
To be the winner in this match, entrepreneurs must find an exciting and different way to increase brand awareness, connect with customers, and have a particular impact on their lives.
There is a resolution that lives up to all these requirements: It is pretty new, different from the traditional marketing techniques, and considered an effective way to connect to customers - It is Branded Content.
What is branded content?
As the name suggests, branded content is about two things, which are content and brand. Branded content is content that is directly connected to a brand. It is responsible for connecting customers to the brand. Branded content is considered a marketing technique, but it doesn’t include traditional advertising.
Branded content is created to increase the engagement so that its major concern is about the brand itself rather than the products or services. More than that, this marketing technique is often used in mediums like videos, articles, podcasts, and live events. This is why branded content is displayed to tell stories, evoke an emotional response, entertaining, or making social statements.
Features of branded content
In general, branded content can possess seven main features, which are:
Pay attention to the brand value
Instead of concentrating on the products or services, branded content pays more attention to the brand and tries to increase its value. Like other marketing techniques, branded content can take advantage of classical forms of marketing like video spots. However, the main point here will not be the products, but the quality of the brand.
Drive engagement about the brand
If the purpose of other types of marketing techniques is to drive more traffic about the merchandise and boost sales, branded content focuses on creating topics and conversation about the brand. Its eventual goal is to increase brand awareness. Thus, it seeks for ways to affect customers and start conversations about issues around the brands. The key metrics of branded content are also different: to evaluate the result of this technique, notoriety and the quantity of mentions are primary units used for the measurement.
Provide added values to audience
It is believed that advertising is the price that audiences have to pay in order to consume the content they want. For, example, when watching videos on free platforms as Youtube, audiences also have to watch a short advertisement which can be displayed at the beginning, the middle, or the end of videos. If they want to remove the ads, purchase the premium package. Nevertheless, with branded content, marketers create the content that audiences are keen on or need, which is often for relaxing or entertaining.
Exploit the impact of emotions
Making use of emotions to persuade has been used for a long time, from the time of Aristotle. Up to now, it has still demonstrated its impact on multiple things including business. Instead of explaining why people should use products from a brand or stating the figures and study to indicate the brand’s quality, branded content selects emotion to persuade their customers. In branded content, people use their content to connect with their customers and have a more close-knit relationship with them.
As normal, a story in branded content also consists of protagonists, plot, beginning, middle, and the ending. However, it is not simply telling a story, what is included in this kind is the brand. The story can be used to represent the brand and help audiences understand the business more.
Exist in various formats and diffusion channels
As mentioned before, branded content can be presented in numerous formats since its concept is extremely flexible. So, people can freely exploit their creativity to help people understand the brand like telling about its history. These contents can be adapted in different forms, such as videos, podcasts, interactive formats, video games, events, etc. or even the combination of some formats. Likewise, the platforms to display these content are diverse which ranges from social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to the company’s site or application.
Be a product of collaboration
An enterprise can collaborate with other people to co-create the branded content. In the world, the case that a company works with a film director or a well-known professional to generate content is no longer a strange thing. Besides these famous people, it is completely possible to collaborate with users - people using the product who is the target that the content creators want to approach. By using user-generated content, merchants can give them the ability to tell their stories or experiences about the brand.
Branded content vs content marketing
By exploiting the power of content, both branded content and content marketing are often used in comprehensive inbound marketing strategies. They share the common point that they don’t sell any things to readers or viewers in a direct manner. Instead, what content marketing and branded content actually do is to build up the awareness, the relationship, and the trust with their users.
Despite the similarities, branded content and content marketing is not the same. There are still the differences between them.
Branded content is content generated that is directly linked to the philosophy of the brand and its human face. It approaches buyers with funny content, with a ludic nature, which is mostly for entertainment.
Compared to branded content, content marketing is a broader concept. It includes all types of content in the customer journey rather than only about the brand. While branded content focuses on the single type in all plans, content marketing is the mixture of various types of content.
In content marketing, the content tends to be more informative. Hence, it allows marketers to take advantage of all types they want which can be as guides, video tutorials, or testimonials, and so on.
Types of branded content
With each type of business, the suitable types of branded content are also different. For example, in B2B business, the order is in-person events, webinars, case studies, white papers, and videos. But with B2C business, eNewsletters, in-person events, images, social media, infographics are 5 types that marketers are advised to prioritize when creating branded content. Moreover, to create these type of visual content, you can use some amazing free infographic maker tools available in the market.
Nevertheless, the question here is whether there are any types of branded content apart from these types?
The answer is YES! There are 11 types of branded content available to people in total which are blogs, articles, infographics, videos, podcasts, case studies, eBooks, white papers, quizzes, eNewsletters, visual content for social media.
Blog is considered the most popular type used by marketers. It is also believed to be the cornerstone of branded marketing. When writing blogs, marketers can write about opinions, advice, listicles, checklist, reviews, and more. You can create blogs directly on your company’s website so the budget used for blogs is not too much. It is ranging from low to medium.
This type is pretty simple, so even freshers can start writing blogs without too many challenges. Writers are advised to make use of storytelling styles combining with keyword strategy to improve the impacts of their blogs. Image is also a crucial factors, beautiful and interesting images will make your blog more attractive.
By creating blogs, people also receive various benefits which can be named as getting higher rankings, building larger communities, and developing their company’s subscription.
Similar to blogs, articles also use the power of word for branded content strategies. Through articles, readers will acquire helpful information with the objective writing style which helps them solve their problems. These articles can be posted directly on the company website, or else, it can be displayed on a third party website.
To create articles, people are not required to be trained a lot. Instead, they should collect the information carefully and get the consultation from experts in the field they intend to write. Therefore, people don’t have to invest much to get great articles. In addition to the consultation from experts, writers are also suggested selecting common problems and attaching interesting images with their articles. Like blogs, the benefits of articles are also search rankings and thought leadership.
Infographics is a favourite kind of the majority of readers since not many people are willing to read a lengthy post full of words. However, it is not easy to create infographics: it offers code to embed the infographics, only design expertise can implement this task well.
What’s more, it is cheap when using this type: apart from hiring experts in terms of design, the enterprise has to secure guest posts with infographics. In returns, they will catch more attention and drive more engagement. With a few words, you can transfer to them a lot of information and the likelihood of people sharing your post also increases significantly.
You can upload your post on such platforms as blogs, Pinterest, SlideShare, etc. In your infographics, you can present the data, lists, ideas, and stories via the combination of words and images. Also, don’t forget to keep your post as simple as possible.
With the development of mobile devices, video has been demonstrating its status. In the format of videos, people are given multiple options for the content like how-to animation, documentary, demonstrations, and so on. And when completing, it can be posted on Youtube, Vimeo, blogs, or even social networks to increase the engagement and conversion.
Since the process to make a video is not simple, it will take the businesses a pretty large amount of money. There is some advice for people who have the intention of making videos: make them funny, ensure the quality of the audio, and focus on the SEO of full or partial transcription when publishing.
Even though podcasts are not a popular type for branded content, it gradually demonstrates the impacts and is predicted to be more widespread in the future. Podcasts seem to be more appealing to mobile devices since people can listen to it when moving or doing other things.
You can upload your podcast on your blogs, iTunes or any networks for podcasting. However, it will take a pretty long time for each podcast and the cost is also a problem: its level ranges from moderate to high. Furthermore, to succeed in podcasts, don’t forget to schedule a regular timetable for publishing, investing in recording equipment and hiring a speaker with a good voice.
Case studies are real stories of client success when using the company’s products, or service which is often presented in the form of text. It is one of the most effective ways to get the trust of readers. Your case studies can be published on your company website or blogs.
Although people have to spend a long time on each case study, the budget for it is not too much, at the moderate level. To be successful, each case study has to meet these requirements: consisting of specific information and figure, quotes of reviewess from the interview, and repurposing the format to be more efficient.
With the advantages of thought leadership and lead magnet, eBook is a flexible, mighty type of branded content which can be used for a long time. In each eBook, there are numerous pages with a lot of information and graphics.
However, it is not easy to create an eBook when the price for each is high and the time is also long. People have to do deep research about the field they choose as well as design suitable graphics for the data. Three tips for you are:
- Extract important information
- Prioritize the visual display
- Insert call to actions for leads
White paper is a source of deep educational content, it seems to be more suitable for complicated product types. Similar to eBooks, white paper requires long time and a large amount of money to be complete.
Moreover, people are advised to extract the key information and repurpose before actually conducting. These white papers should also consist of research and insight of professionals in the industry to increase the credibility.
If you are looking for a way to nurture your leads, online newsletters are definitely an ideal option. By sending your prospects and leads the latest information, you will guarantee that they will not miss any important information.
More than that, this type can be used for all kinds of devices from desktop to mobile phones and you don’t need to have many experiences in this field to be able to implement. In terms of cost, newsletters don’t require much money since everything can be done from the computer. However, remember that the newsletters message needs to be short.
Quizzes are a useful tool to get higher engagement from younger people. With the funny, interactive tests and assessments, you can easily draw the attention of the youth when uploading them on social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. or blog.
In fact, the cost for quizzes is at the medium level but to leverage it, creators have to remember to use simple formats like multiple choice, include interesting pictures, and score points for each correct answer.
Visual content for social media
Visual content for social media can be anything which is suitable for social media. It can be images with captions, quotes, headlines, or an illustration, a collage. Since it specifies on social networks, the biggest advantage of visual content is the share from social media users.
This kind doesn’t require high cost or complexity, so all people are able to make use of it for their branded content plans. When generating visual content, people should keep in mind that with each platform, there will be a different suitable format. Image possesses an enormous impact, so don’t forget it. And finally, writing style is also an important element, it can affect the visual of your work directly, so test it in advance.
When everything is done, you can post it on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or any social media you want.
Examples of branded content
The content only shows the effects when it includes all the necessary criteria: emotional, meaningful, and long lasting. The three following cases are the successful examples for branded content campaigns. From them, you will certainly learn many things to improve your strategies.
Dove branded content
Perhaps Dove is a familiar brand to many of us. Besides its products, Dove is also famous for their branded content strategy - Dove Real Beauty which started in 2004. The theme of this campaign is “beauty was for everyone”. It is created after a survey from Dove indicating that only 4% of women think they are beautiful. Aiming to change this fact, Dove started the campaign to change women’s lives and this is astonishingly successful. Their sales increase from 2.5 billion to 4 billion in only three years.
Another excellent example in this brand is the video ads Dove’s video ads in 2013. Its content is pretty simple which is about an FBI sketch artist drawing women according to their point of view. And then he draws it based on other people’s description. The surprising result made it become well-known and get 50 million views in just two weeks. Up to now, it has over 69 million views
Red Bull branded content
This energy drink brand is exactly the most successful one for branded content.
Red Bull ’s marketing strategies are all about generating stories to increase the brand values like about sports or love of risk. The event that made its fame lasting until today is the jump of Felix Baumgartner from the stratosphere, at 38,969 meters high. In fact, this brand exploits all of their technical means to do that and they are successful. This jump is not only the most outstanding event of branded content but also a world record.
Also, some studies reveal that its returns from the ads related to diving has increased three times, compared to the investment.
Victoria’s Secret branded content
The American lingerie brand, Victoria’s Secret is another famous instance of the impact of events on branded content that we would like to introduce to you.
In fact, Victoria’s Secret is famous for its annual events - The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show - which is also an event in its branded content strategy. From a gala where the model wear lingerie, The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show becomes a phenomenon of popular culture in the United States. It catches the public’s attention during many months from the preparation of the show. Everything around it can be the hot topic, such as the models selected, who will be the angles in the show or the details of the garments, etc.
Thanks to this show, Victoria gains a great notoriety for their brand and gets the stable status in the fashion industry. Their events are much more than a normal type of advertising and become one of the greatest instances for event branded content up to now.
In short, branded content is the marketing technique serving the goal to increase the brand values. It concentrates more on generating engagement and conversation with customers about the brands, instead of the sale conversion as in other types of marketing. Branded content is neither a sales pitch nor an invasive form of marketing. Yet, from it, the enterprise can build up strong relationships and trust with customers, which finally boost sales considerably.