Arguably the most effective and innovative form of digital marketing to emerge in recent years is branded content. In a previous article, we briefly touched on the power of branded content as a contemporary form of advertising, but today we're going to explore it in more depth to clarify exactly why it works so well, and why it is becoming such a popular choice amongst businesses and marketing professionals alike.
For those readers that aren't as familiar with it, we define branded content as any form of video based entertainment that is produced in conjunction with a business or brand to help them gain far reaching, organic exposure. Branded content primarily lives online, but since it's such a new form of advertising, it will certainly grow and change over the years and will likely find it's way onto many other mediums as time progresses.
One of the earliest examples of an effective branded content campaign was a series of short films produced by BMW is 2002 called 'The Hire'. These films were featured online and provided a thrilling James Bond-esque experience for the viewer, while simultaneously placing high end BMW's at the forefront of the action. 12 years ago, this campaign was one of the only of it's kind, but today this method of quality advertising has become a fundamental part of the marketing strategy of countless businesses, and for good reason.
Why it works
For starters, one of the largest benefits of creating a web based campaign is that there are far less creative limitations than there are when conceptualizing a television spot. With TV, every second of airtime is extremely costly, so while you theoretically could make a 90 second commercial, it would cost a fortune to air. Online, you have the luxury of choosing the right length and format to suit your needs, which opens up creative possibilities that would otherwise not exist. For instance your business might reach the most potential customers by producing a recurring web-series related your brand or product - like Chipotle just did with their brand new series 'Farmed and Dangerous', exclusively available on Hulu. As you could imagine, this format could only ever exist on the internet, as is the case with viral ads and many other iterations of online branded content, giving it a leg up over traditional forms of video based advertising.
Another important note to recognize when considering producing branded content that the potential to reach your target audience is staggering and comes at a very low relative cost. Unlike buying media on television, you have the unique ability to target a much more specific audience by only promoting your content to the right people, and not wasting money advertising in the wrong areas. It will ultimately cost you far less to get your message in front of the right people, and once those potential customers see your content, they're only a click away from your site.
Every month, more people start using DVR's to eliminate commercials when watching television, and just as many people are turning to devices like Apple TV, Roku, or Smart TV's to get their online content on their television. While at the moment, things are in a very transitional state, one thing is for certain - The days of the internet existing as a separate entity to television are going away quickly, and the massive influx of branded content really drives that point home.
At it's core, the reason why branded content works is simply because it offers something of value to the viewer. While there is no denying that television commercials can still be the best option for the needs of many businesses, branded content offers an equally effective and powerful alternative that is much more cost effective. Most large corporations that are currently using branded content are doing so in conjunction with their television and print campaigns, which is an ideal strategy to go with. That said, for small and medium sized businesses where television commercials are too costly, branded content now offers an excellent alternative that can prove to be a much wiser investment for certain types of businesses and products.
If you or your company is actively seeking to produce this type of content, or traditional commercial/promotional material, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to drop us a line any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Creative Rebellion Team