Branded Content Succeeds Where Ads Fail

BY Rachel Cagle
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Advertisements unfortunately annoy a great number of consumers, especially if the ad isn’t very creative. Obviously, no company wants to annoy their target audience, but advertising efforts are crucial to a business’s success. So, where does that leave your clients? In the capable hands of branded content, of course.

How Branded Content Works

The overall theme for all branded content is that messaging isn’t a direct sales pitch,” says Shana Saviss, the Client Consulting Manager at Nielsen during one of the company’s recent webinars. “Rather, messaging is an indirect sales pitch. It comes in the form of a simple cocktail recipe using the newest hard seltzer brand. Sometimes, it’s a DIY home improvement tutorial video. And a lot of times, it’s the celebrity or athlete candidly showing us their daily life hacks or favorite household products. This type of content inherently creates trust between the brand and the consumer.”

How does branded content establish trust with target customers? Think about advertisements for a second. They exist purely to convince viewers or readers to make a purchase from the advertised brand. Consumers have come to associate ads with attempts to take their money. So, they’re less inclined to watch or read the entire ad. 

On the other hand, “Branded content’s main objective is to entertain audiences, resulting in greater brand engagement and greater impact versus the standard pre-​roll content and traditional digital ads,” says Saviss. When consumers see content that is focused on entertaining them instead of directly asking for their money, they’ll be more likely to appreciate and pay attention to the content. They may even share it with their friends and family. If your client’s brand is associated with the entertaining content, the consumer will see the company in a better light. And they’ll recognize the brand in a positive way down the road when it’s time to make a purchase.

Maximizing the Impact

When your client is choosing or creating subject matter to incorporate their branded content into, they need to select subject matter that aligns with their brand’s products. Obviously, it would be displeasing, if not unsettling, to see a video about a movie or TV show targeted to children that has a funeral home logo slapped somewhere on the screen. “The content used to deliver the creative should be considered as an extra opportunity to communicate what your brand stands for and offers,” says , Lucy Melbinger, Account Executive, Media Analytics at Nielsen. Look at some of the content Saviss suggested. Brands of alcohol could make how-​to cocktail videos using their products. Or a building supply company could post DIY instructions for a common home repair or improvement project.

Does your client need help choosing a medium to use for their branded content? Check out their target audience’s profile on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel. There, you can find out what kinds of content they respond to the most. For example, did you know that, last year, 31% of Cocktail/​Liquor Drinkers took action after seeing a news article in the past 30 days?

Most of us have become pretty good at ignoring the standard banner ad or hastily pressing the skid ad button altogether,” says Saviss. “Now more than ever, branded content is needed to get people’s attention and keep it.”