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For the Love of Branded Content - An interview with BMCA

The Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) produced an e-book, 'The love of Branded Content' and asked me to partake as one of the contributors. See the interview below:

Q. Why do you love branded content?

A. Because the opportunities are endless.

Branded content can be anything, from a movie, to a blog, a social post, a vlog, a gif, promotional material, social influencers the list goes on and on. Branded content holds immense power to communicate with people beyond your traditional advertising tactics. The subconscious, influential powers of branded content is incredible. The use of branded content has been booming of late, particularly because big brands can align themselves with people, or ‘social influencers’ with large followings, who can help tell their brand story in a more authentic and aspirational manner, as opposed to traditional one-way ad channels. This means brands can tap into ‘mass granular’ marketing, by fostering their brand presence via content that their brand ambassadors or influencers communicate through.

Branded content is essentially ‘masked advertising’, and opportunities to engage with consumers are endless and the engagement it receives (if executed correctly) far outweighs traditional advertising messaging because of the dynamic, entertaining way it’s communicated.

Q. What do you love the most?

A. It’s not about the quick win, it’s about the long term relationship.

Branded content is not founded on hard selling, it’s about building a relationship and consumer trust by providing value and entertainment. Branded content can be used as a reference tool, education, inspiration and stimulus for people, far beyond any old 30-second ad. Think about the boom of branded content in the beauty industry for example.

Brands are creating their own YouTube channels featuring influencer created social videos and tutorials so that their customers see the brand not just as the basic product they have bought, but rather as a fundamental part of their daily makeup routine/application experience.

By going the extra mile and creating a relationship with the customer it forms a connection with the consumer and brand, and represents that the brand isn’t just in it for the quick win, but to form a long lasting relationship and willing to provide added value.

Q. One piece of advice?

A. Have a strategy.

Without a plan, content has no purpose. Make sure you have a strategy as to why and where you are distributing your content, this will ensure your content isn’t just random stuff in front of people who don’t care. Living in a digital world, we are well informed and aware of audiences; we expect content to be tailored to our requirements, and our experiences tailored based on what we want.

‘Quality over quantity’ is still very relevant, even in branded content land where it is mistakenly viewed as an exercise on a volume rather than on depth. Ensure you are truly creating something engaging (entertaining), or useful (resourceful). Without a strategy, your content is aimless, useless and ultimately profitless.

Q. What is the best example?

A. The best content marketing is when it’s contextually sound.

“Content is king, but context is god!” The best example of branded content is when it has the correct context placement. You must be able to engage with your audience by saying the right thing, but also in the right way. You can have the best written article, or video on ‘how to surf’ in the entire world, but if your content is in a place where people couldn’t care less about surfing, then your job has failed.

Think again about when branded content is distributed in the right places. This shows that the brand knows their audience, and thus relevancy is likely to be high and shareability to be elevated. You may find that your content needs to be communicated in many ways and using multiple tactics/formats. Alternatively, you may find that an idea is simply made for video. Focus on the content and story you want to tell, and the feelings you want to evoke, then consider context – this can be anything from your audience to the campaign’s purpose or the brand’s existing customer touch points. Data and strategy should also form part of your contextual discussion. The right format will present itself when you bring all these elements together. When content and context are perfectly paralleled, the best possible outcome will present itself.


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