Branded content, is content that does not involve traditional advertising. It’s sponsored articles, music videos, short films and content that’s engaging, informative, that consumers are happy to engage with. It’s obvious that the content is promoting the brand but the consumer doesn’t mind because the content is good.
Branded content has been around for a while and with the continued rise of content marketing, it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. For brands to survive in a world of likes, shares, retweets and little trust of adverts, branded content is a content marketing tool that all brands should have in their arsenal.
Here are a few examples of branded content for you to draw on for your branded content strategy:
Nextflix: A great day in Hollywood
Netflix is particularly good at branded content but that’s because Netflix has a great content strategy, that they never stray from. And their latest piece of content is an example of just that – A great day in Hollywood is a video featuring 47 black artists, who have come to celebrate diversity in Hollywood . The video has 2.3 million views on Twitter, over 96 000 likes and over 41 000 retweets, just 2 days after its release.
Netflix’s overall branded content strategy is supported by the high quality shows that they consistently and strategically deliver. Netflix released “A great day in Hollywood” on the same night as the BET Awards, which are arguably the biggest night in black entertainment. A night when black people all over the world have would have their screens and eyes on black entertainers, which allowed Netflix to ride the wave of the already existing interest and hype. This illustrates the importance of timing when it comes to publishing content – posting at the right time can earn you major rewards.
Heineken: Worlds Apart
When you think Heineken, the first thing that pops into your mind isn’t robust conversation or breaking social barriers. In their Worlds Apart campaign Heineken brought people with opposing views to complete a series of tasks and talk.This piece of branded content is particularly brilliant because it challenges the viewer, it’s thought provoking and aligns with the brand because at the end of the day participants hash out their differences over a cold Heineken.
Mercedes Benz: Return to Chapman’s Peak
To commemorate the launch of the new S-Class Mercedes Benz took Christopher White, who 30 years ago survived a 30 story fall from Chapmans Peak. He was driving a Mercedes Benz at the time, which Mercedes Benz turned into an advert. Christopher would go back to Chapman’s Peak in a Mercedes but this time, he wouldn’t be the one driving – the car would. The short film is dramatic, intriguing and full of life. It’s an example of great storytelling that also achieves Mercedes Benz’s objectives of showcasing the self driving features of the S-Class.
Sanlam’s One Rand Family
Who can forget Sanlam’s award winning One Rand Man Family, which followed a middle class family living beyond their means as they lived on one rand coins for a month. The parents, Sbu and Londiwe, received their salaries in one rand coins and were not allowed to use any bank cards for any transactions. Viewers followed the family of four as they navigated this experiment and watched as they shifted their perspective on how they spent their hard earned money.
This piece of branded content was great because it spoke to important issues concerning money, like prioritizing status over stability, the real price of convenience and the importance of budgeting and saving for the future. A lot of people resonated with the show because a many people have fallen into the trap of living beyond their means due to credit and loans.
The first episode earned over 50 000 views and the last episode received over 90 000 views and generated a lot of coverage in the media and conversation online.
There are an abundance of adverts that people are not engaging with because they lack subtlety, they’re focused on getting consumers to buy and don’t tell a story or leave them with something deeper. According to this article, 59% of people are more likely to remember the brand through branded content than display ads because the content doesn’t feel like the brand is selling them something. And consumers are more likely to share that particular piece of content.
For your content to have the desired effect it should have a protagonist, an interesting narrative, connect with your audience and align with your brand. Research your audience and know what they’re consuming and how they’re consuming it. Understand the platforms that they use as well (and how they use them) – what are the viewing and sharing a trends on that particular platform? Knowing this will help you maximize the reach of your content and generate conversation.