Explore the transformative power of branded content and how to use it to boost brand loyalty, reach new audiences, and elevate your marketing strategy.
Every brand has a story to tell. And in today’s crowded market, it’s not just about what you say but how you say it. Enter the importance of branded content, where the endgame of each and every narrative is to connect businesses and their audiences on a deeper level than traditional advertising.
By learning the art and science of storytelling to create an engaging brand image, you can boost loyalty, reach new demographics, and increase overall marketing efficacy.Here’s everything you need to know about branded content tools, branded content strategy, and how to build stronger links with clients.
What is branded content?👇
Branded content is a powerful storytelling tool that focuses on value, voice, and tone — it goes beyond television, radio, and banner ads to reach audiences differently. Branded content doesn’t explicitly promote businesses’ products or services. Instead, it provides value through entertainment, education, or emotional resonance, immersing audiences in compelling narratives that subtly highlight a brand’s mission or unique value propositions.
Banded content is crucial because it aims to shift the advertising paradigm from interruptive and monotonous experiences to engaging ones. This fosters a more profound bond, stronger brand loyalty, and better marketing outcomes.
It’s a strategic approach that’s gained significant traction in recent years, transforming how businesses interact with their audiences. One iconic branded content example is The Lego Movie, created by Lego to entertain parents and children while subtly selling building blocks.
What branded content isn’t 🙅♂️
Branded content aims to evoke emotions in target audiences. But since it’s a type of advertising, people often confuse branded content with content marketing and advertising, which are actually pretty distinct. Here’s how they differ:
- Traditional advertising: Sometimes interpreted as distracting, this form of marketing is direct and product-centric, involving selling a product or service. Examples include TikTok and Instagram ads.
- Content marketing: This involves creating and sharing valuable content across platforms to attract a well-defined audience. While it doesn’t specifically focus on promoting brand values or stories, it drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing examples include style guides and social media content strategies (like interactive posts and curated content).
- Branded content: Branded content isn’t overtly promotional. It doesn’t just inform or advertise but forms a deeper emotional connection with the audience. An exciting blend of entertainment and marketing, it feels less like a sales pitch and more like a valuable content piece, emphasizing the brand’s values, vision, or perspective. It showcases brand voice without necessarily highlighting a product or service.
Advantages of branded content 😎
There’s no denying that branded content helps you build a better brand. Here’s how it benefits both clients and Independents:
Increased brand awareness 🙋
Branded content tells stories that reflect your brand’s identity and values. It imprints the brand in the audience's minds, increasing its recognition and recall value. Whether you’re a business owner seeking to improve brand recognition among clients or a freelancer looking to remind clients of your services, branded content can help. Add your brand’s unique logo, catchy tagline, and compelling graphics so clients can immediately identify and associate with it.
Improved audience engagement 👪
Branded content connects with audiences emotionally. It’s not about selling a product or service but sharing a brand story. This strategy fosters an environment where audiences are more likely to engage, share, and interact with content, creating a stronger connection between the brand and viewers.
Better return on investment (ROI) 💸
While crafting high-quality branded content requires substantial effort and resources, the long-term benefits often outweigh the initial investment. Compared to traditional advertising, branded content usually has higher engagement and conversion rates, leading to a higher ROI. It can also boost organic traffic, further enhancing its cost-effectiveness.
High potential for growth 📈
With a dynamic and flexible marketing strategy, branded content helps businesses grow. It facilitates innovation and experimentation and lets companies adapt their content to audience preferences and market trends. For Independents, it opens up opportunities for creative expression, potentially leading to more rewarding roles and contracts.
4 tips for creating better branded content 💡
If you’re going to do something, do it well. With so many start-ups and businesses on the scene today, captivating storytelling helps you differentiate your offerings. To master this type of content, try these key strategies:
- Embody your brand’s personality 🎭
Use your brand’s unique personality to breathe life into your posts. Your content must resonate with your brand’s identity and values, and consistency is key. Maintaining a uniform tone helps clients remember your brand and ideally leads to increased revenue. Remember, enthralling stories are significantly more memorable than mundane facts, and infusing emotion into your content makes it relatable for your audience.
- Select a suitable content format 📓
Once you decide to create branded content, it’s time to determine the most suitable format for your audience. To do this, consider your buyer personas –– who buys your product or service and why? Try a variety of formats that are suitable for social media, such as Q&As, podcasts, or Instagram Reels.
- Collaborate for greater reach 🤝
Collaboration boosts visibility for branded content. Co-create content with another brand or an influencer — this halves the work while expanding your reach to a new audience. You can also explore user-generated content (UGC), a powerful, cost-effective, and persuasive tool for promoting your brand.
- Leverage influencer partnerships 🤠
Most Instagram users follow business accounts, making it an excellent platform for branded content. Partner with influencers to enhance your brand’s online visibility and engagement. This social network also offers a shared analytics tool for tracking metrics and performance.
3 examples of branded content done well 👏
The best branded content leaves a lasting, transformative impact on current and potential customers. Here are a few examples to check out:
- Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign 🕊️
Dove tapped into the universal human concern of self-image to devise a moving campaign highlighting how people often fail to see their beauty. It hired a sketch artist to draw individuals twice: once based on its own descriptions and once on a stranger’s. The differences between the two drawings showcased how, in many cases, we’re our worst critics. One of the most popular pieces of branded content in 2013, this marketing campaign didn’t directly promote Dove products.
- The LEGO Movie 🎬
This is a brilliant example of product placement within a storyline. In this film, Lego transformed its products into characters to create a genuinely entertaining children’s movie, effectively reaching its target audience. This campaign was successful because the brand prioritized content quality to earn the audience’s trust and recognition.
- Red Bull’s “Skydiving from Space” campaign 👨🚀
Red Bull is a brand that’s known for its wild marketing strategies. With this campaign, the company took branded content to new heights, which saw a daring skydive take place from outer space. Yes, it really happened. Although the exact figures remain undisclosed, it’s rumored that Red Bull enjoyed a threefold return on this marketing stunt, appealing to risk-takers and adventure enthusiasts.
Hire skilled branding specialists on Contra 🤩
Branded content campaigns can significantly enhance your brand’s visibility, foster audience connections, and drive marketing results. But creating this content isn’t just about mastering marketing techniques — it’s about communicating your brand’s personality and values through compelling narratives.
To create high-quality branded content, partner with a skilled Independent on Contra. Visit our commission-free platform to connect with talented brand specialists ready and waiting to help you bring your brand to life, reach new audiences, and achieve sustainable growth.