Germany, Austria and Switzerland: Expert Insight Report

german-contributors

This is the third in our series of features from our first regional version of the Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM), and was compiled by joint editor and co-author Sandra Freisinger-Heinl:

Who knows the DACH branded content market best? The people who spend all day, every day involved in it! We asked more than 25 German, Swiss and Austrian branded content experts – producers, broadcasters, media and advertising agencies, music, cinema and games businesses, multi-channel networks, platform owners, publishers, brands, lawyers, consultants and creatives – to share their experience and insights with us.

All their feedback is presented in the following pages of this chapter, after this overview of some highlights:

1. To discover the status quo, we compiled answers to the question: “In what situations do you recommend using branded content?” Key feedback includes:

  • to raise brand awareness
  • to improve brand image and increase brand loyalty
  • to enable unique user experiences
  • for community building
  • to link to an emotive story
  • to engage with your target group
  • to entertain, engage, involve
  • to turn viewers into happy customers
  • to turn customers into fans
  • to communicate product benefits
  • for product launches
  • to build a narrative brand, with a story that fits naturally and is authentic
  • to provide emotive moments, something to laugh about, not interruptive advertising but entertainment
  • for every brand, especially lifestyle and tech
  • as an anchor in brand communication
  • never standalone and only with an activation concept

2. We also wanted an expert view of the future. We gathered together eight predictions from replies to the question: “What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?”

  1. Higher quality standards will be required. Branded content will be perfect, emotional and magic.
  2. Reliability, truth and trust will be mandatory for brands all the time. Never trick your audience!
  3. Very short-format storytelling will arrive, especially as usage is shifting heavily to mobile.
  4. TV isn’t obsolete at all, especially for long-format content.
  5. Virtual Reality is opening up a huge space, including live content and Facebook 3D Glasses.
  6. Live streaming and real-time distribution via Periscope, Meerkat et cetera will increase.
  7. Branded content will be the core element of a campaign and we’ll be creating a whole world around it, with apps and songs.

Personally, I recommend using branded content to set standards in brand communication, to entertain and to build a trust-based relationship with users. Mobile will keep us all busy and Virtual Reality will astound us.

Marcel FenezMarcel Fenez, Global Leader, Entertainment and Media, PricewaterhouseCoopers

We should rather talk about brand-funded content, including native advertising and content. As we describe in our ‘Global Entertainment and Media Outlook’, native will include elements of digital, while other types of brand-funded content will be found in TV.

Brand-funded content is growing. But we find it quite difficult to value it, because people value it in different ways around the world. Wherever I travel, I ask people which content there is and I get different answers.

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content will work for most brands and there is no reason why any brand should not consider it. However, I think there are certain brands that will work better if we think of what is good branded content. Good branded content is good content from those brands that are good storytellers. Brands that produce good stories are brands that are compelling.

Lifestyle brands will always work for this. And there are certain high-tech brands that will work very well, if they are involved in a good story. Those brands that are married to good storytelling will work best.

We all like a good story, we all like stars and we all like to be entertained. Traditionally, this is done through TV and video. If we look for innovation, everyone can produce cool content. But we also look for consistency, and one thing the TV broadcasters have is a legacy of content production and a legacy of organisation that helps to deliver content on a consistent basis. TV is traditionally very strong in Germany.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

In most parts of the world, brand-funded content is becoming a strong area. It is really what works well from the consumer’s and from the advertiser’s points of view.  It will be increasing in almost every country and the real drivers for it are the same in almost every market.

The real driver is the fact that consumers will be much more discerning about the advertising with which they feel comfortable.

With more and more fragmentation in terms of distribution channels, brand-funded content becomes even more compelling. It becomes less dependent on the distribution channel and it stands better on its own as content. It definitely will become a stronger part of how brands communicate their messages.

Petra_KroopPetra Kroop, Director Brand Integration, SevenOne AdFactory

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Companies will achieve positive results with branded content marketing when their purpose is to get their potential and existing customers to engage and connect more deeply with the brand. Branded content is the key to involving your audience in an authentic and credible way, and enabling them to interact and communicate with the brand and more widely. The most important thing is deciding on an effective, sustainable strategy for high quality content creation and distribution, so you end up with the most engaged and satisfied customers.

I recommend using branded content as a central, key element of marketing when you have:

  • product launches or relaunches in need of explanation, or with special features or USPs you want to share with an audience or community.
  • brands or products that need to engage with customers and prospects using storytelling instead of just product information.
  • existing brands and products in a highly competitive market where you’re forced to reach new target groups and develop sustainable relationships with customers.

Digital is not the ‘be all and end all’ media solution for branded content. The main argument for TV is that it’s already – and will continue to be in the next few years – the driver for big reach and coverage in Germany. For branded content marketing strategies including TV, I recommend longer (5+ minutes) content formats on small but highly targeted TV stations, in combination with shorter, edited versions on the big TV channels to get the reach and awareness brands need.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Whether it’s entertaining, informative, or functional, branded content will no longer be the exception – it will be a must for most brands! Also, branded content ideas will no longer be isolated, standalone solutions. Branded content marketing strategies will be most successful when they include both traditional and special advertisements across all media. Enhancing the quality of content to a high level and using new technologies to measure branded content marketing strategies will prove the lasting, positive effects of branded content marketing.

Martin_SeegerMartin Seeger, Director, AdFactory, Austria

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

For us – as Austria’s leading private multiscreen sales and production house – it is a pleasing development that branded entertainment and product placement is gaining even more importance in our clients’ media strategies.

Especially in two cases, it makes sense to opt for branded content:

  1. When it’s about making a brand more alive through an experience.
  2. When the product itself needs more explanation.

In both cases the key to success is to provide the viewer with good entertainment.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

No trends. As explained above, good quality entertainment is the key. While many brands still think that their brand logo should be visible constantly, this contradicts the consumer’s behaviour. Storytelling must be thrilling, exciting and entertaining. Only then, the consumers take in the brand in a positive way, because of the story it is telling.

Ronald_HorstmanRonald Horstman, Managing Director, Studio71; Board Member, Collective Studio71

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

In our world, branded content should allow advertisers to position themselves as enablers of unique experiences. Creating relevant content triggers audience engagement with this content and thus with the brand itself. Therefore, branded content is best suited for marketers who want to raise brand awareness, improve their image in the relevant target group and build sustainable customer relationships through valuing their target group, not just as customers but also as audience members.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Branded content will help push the online video market even further in the upcoming years, and brands will target their audiences not just nationally, but use synergies through international approaches. However, with hours of online video content being uploaded every minute, successful branded content projects will depend on the right ingredients to reach large audiences. Winning matching social influencers with relevance in a brand’s specific target group will be a key factor. Brands will have to rub shoulders with top-tier global multi-channel networks (MCNs) and social influencers, leading to an evolution in the way social media and online marketing is done: working with MCNs, marketers will have to trust in the influencers’ expertise to activate fans and followers, surrender part of their creative control of the content and embark on a new level of co-creation to have access to large communities.

Margret_KnitterMargret Knitter, LL.M. (University of Edinburgh), Rechtsanwältin Certified Expert for Intellectual Property, SKW Schwarz

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content is an exciting instrument to turn brands into experiences. We think branded content campaigns can be advantageous in all kinds of situations and are especially helpful to establish a strong connection between existing or potential customers and the brand.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

We notice that video blogs are becoming more relevant as these instruments communicate information about a product and incentivise impulse purchases at the same time. That way, the consumer feels informed and entertained rather than interrupted by the presentation of a product, and makes a purchase on the spot online. These formats can be legally challenging as they are obviously aimed at concealing the advertorial character of the content.

Stefan_SetzkornStefan Setzkorn, Chief Creative Officer, Track; Juror, Cannes Lions Branded Content & Entertainment Jury 2015

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content is nothing new; it has always been the higher goal of communication. But a brand can use branded content today in so many different ways to spread its ideas. The most important question always is, how to lead it into a purchase decision. I remember an episode of TV series ‘Madmen’ featuring a New York advertising agency in the 1960s. The advertisers had very little money to promote a special ham, so they decided to engage two women to do battle in a department store to get ‘the last ham’. That promoted a product in those times. Nowadays we can rely on content going viral and spreading the word even more.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Branded content has to be perfect. Technology is only a ‘means to an end’ to develop a great make-up app, as L’Oréal did with ‘Make-up Genius’, or to feature the sound of opening a Coke bottle, as Dolby Surround did with its cinema clip ‘Celebrate the sound of Coke’. The content has to be perfect, emotional and magic. It is only one out of 10 good movies that wins the Oscar and the standard of branded content appears to be higher each year.

Robert_HerrmannRobert Herrmann, Yahoo Director Strategic Solutions, Germany & Middle East

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content is a must in every situation in the age of web 3.0, and we always need to keep in mind that it has to be relevant and inspiring. The more value content adds, the more it inspires consumers to engage – which is equally true for branded and organic content.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Especially for mobile, branded content will experience strong growth as there are still many unused chances for marketers. A recent Yahoo study revealed that 48% of Smartphone Dominant users say they will be more likely to notice advertising if integrated into relevant content – and there’s room for more!

Preethi_MariappanPreethi Mariappan, Executive Creative Director, Razorfish Germany

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

The spectrum is so broad and it is so specific to what you are as a brand and what your problem is. The use of content is so varied and it is hard to pinpoint. I don’t think there is a rulebook of using content only for commerce or using content only for engagement.

I think you have to look at these things in a ‘blended’ way to say branded content does drive engagement that’s for the community. It does sell something in a context in which they want to buy it and in a way that makes them want to buy it. I don’t think you can nail it down to ‘when to use branded content’, but you have to ask ‘how to use content if this is my objective’.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

One interesting thing that came up this year is Virtual Reality (VR). We are opening up this huge space now. You can already see content free from its screens, free from desktops. You can already see content in context in real life, see content when you are at the store.

Or if you are able to see content in an immersive way because you can interact with VR, augmented. I really think content will head more in this direction, where it will be part of your life. Just as the use of technology becomes more and more invisible as we go along. Content is sort of carried along with this.

That could be the ‘big thing’, because now we use content on screens. It will be very interesting to see what content will look like if it is produced for life.

Jurgen_IrlbacherJürgen Irlbacher, Creative Director Content, pilot

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Almost every brand can gain by having a content marketing or branded entertainment strategy. Some brands, via their nature, lend themselves to the form. It makes sense for a brand such as Weber Grill to invest in content such as BBQ recipes and tutorials. An own live broadcast with a star cook goes one step further and rounds off a content strategy. The tyre company Michelin has found its content focus with the very successful Michelin Guide. And they’ve been doing this for over 100 years!

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

To engage target groups, brands need to turn themselves into broadcasters. I would go one step further: Marketing Directors need to be programme makers! Up until now they have been accustomed to placing their advertising message in the context of strong entertainment brands such as ‘The Voice’ or ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’. In the future, such formats will come directly from the advertiser – just portioned differently and delivered via digital and multiple channels. Let’s take Volkswagen for instance: if Robbie Williams were to search for the next music star, as Dieter Bohlen does on RTL, branded entertainment would be on a completely new level.

Claudia_MullerClaudia Müller, Head of Entertainment Marketing, BMW Group

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Depending on the time-to-market, lifecycle, global reach and specific target audience of each entertainment tool in alignment with a company´s brand strategy and product characteristics, the portfolio of branded content opportunities is multi-fold:

Music videos and video games are the best platforms for long-term brand image building to a younger audience, as well as some ad hoc pushes for new products and innovations.

TV shows support the repeated and sustainable establishment of a product within a certain lifestyle and setting.

Movies allow for a hook on the branded content, and take it into brand and product storytelling in different ways – online and offline, in owned, earned and paid channels.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Be authentic! The global audience will want to receive content right when they want it and where they want it. This calls for an increasing interest and investment from global brands in branded content. But becoming part of an entertainment property in an authentic way is one thing – finding the right platform matching each brand’s needs and product launch communication strategy will be another.

Be in touch! Deriving some customer-related extra and takeaway will be another challenge. Turning some branded content into online and offline branded activation – for example, offering some extra emotional encounter with the brand, the product and the stars, such as fans meeting movie stars, or an exclusive ‘meet and greet’ – will be the pay-off expected by a fan community.

Be reliable and sustainable! In order to leave some long-lasting, reliable footprints in any of the entertainment areas, a mid- to long-term commitment and partnership with a respectable partner in the entertainment industry is crucial. Brands that manage to not only become long-lasting, reliable partners for the entertainment industry, but also take the risk to exploit existing partnerships and set innovative benchmarks in new territories, will be able to be perceived as cool and reliable brands for both the entertainment industry and their global fan base.

Lars-DueysenLars Bendix Düysen, Vice President Brand Partnership Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sony Music Entertainment Germany; Jury Member, Midem Music Marketing Competition 2015

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content is for brands that are ready to enter the next age of communication. Focussing on digital and especially social media, branded entertainment offers a very innovative form of customer engagement.

A good example for innovative communication is our client BMW Group and their brand MINI. We integrate a variety of MINI models into the lifestyle of musicians and show MINI as a native part of their daily life. Contrary to traditional push marketing, customers now have the opportunity to interact and engage with the campaign as we offer superfans the chance to meet their favourite band. As part of that, we produce highly emotional segmented entertainment content.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Brands now have the chance to become a genuine partner of musicians in the creative process. A good example is Converse with their highly appealing ‘Rubber Tracks’. Converse enables artists to record and produce their ideas by giving them access to a professional sample library and studio time.

Business with brands and agencies has not been explored and leveraged to the full potential in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The music industry has now discovered this area as a highly attractive growth area that demands empathy and communication skills to understand the needs and challenges of our new partners. Sony Music’s unique consumer segmentation builds a solid basis for acting analytically and developing highly efficient consumer insight-driven solutions. Branded content therefore becomes an important element of the change process in the digital music industry.

boris-bolzBoris Bolz, Chief Commercial Officer, Mediakraft Networks

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content opens up great opportunities for a company that wants to reach precisely a young target group. Online stars and a network like Mediakraft can especially help to create an innovative environment for brands.

Video content has become a permanent companion of the young generation. Online has played an increasingly important role in the advertising industry, simply because the media consumption of the young audience has moved to a large extent to the Internet. Here, online video is a communication tool that generates by far the greatest sustainability and effective range.

By directly addressing the audience, much larger portions of information and brand messages are remembered. With YouTube or similar platforms, it is possible to convey this information and brand messages in a much higher emotional manner. This is a great opportunity that companies should not miss.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

We believe there will be an increasing demand for implementing video content strategies through cooperations. In the end, branded goods manufacturers, distributors and service providers will all go for their own online TV platforms.

At Mediakraft, we help companies to turn these strategies into projects, either in a closed system or on an open social media platform. We call these systems flagship sites. A flagship site is committed to the same quality criteria as a flagship store, and should reflect the brand world completely and perfectly.

The flagship site is a curated brand portal for relevant video messages. Video content will achieve a higher awareness, reach and quality than we can imagine today. Target group-specific video marketing can thus effectively increase the brand awareness of a company.

Dirk_NyhuisDirk Nyhuis, Strategic Projects, Tresor TV

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

We are interested in a cooperation if it is possible to combine the intentional effect of a format with the communication aims of the brand, by blending the content organically and thereby creating a coherent entertainment experience. The stronger and more emotional the content, the higher the effect. This is how the viewer additionally and casually turns into a happy consumer. Via context of entertainment, advertisers have the ability to come into dialogue with their consumers.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Branded content within TV formats is on the rise. This is why entertainment programmes need to be pushed more into the epicentre of campaigns. Agencies will further score with short messages; the topic of authenticity will increasingly find its place in longer formats. These innovative concepts – combining advertising expertise and brand know-how with production competence and classic, emotional storytelling – create great viewing fun and entertainment for customers.

Bjorn_HovenBjörn Hoven, Founder & Director, Weischer.Storyhouse

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Use branded content whenever you want to really connect yourself with your target group. In doing so, we focus strongly on branded content linked to current movie releases. Over 500 movie releases and festivals offer a magical variety of options.

Depending on the strategic goals, you can choose a unique arthouse movie or a big blockbuster.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year? 

We have developed a variety of platforms, formats and special ads for the cinema, but also online and in the ‘Digital Out of Home’ landscape. Recently, we launched the cinema app ‘cinime’ in our market. It connects the power of the big screen to the magic of the small screen.

Nikki_MendoncaNikki Mendonça, President, OMD EMEA

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Content has been a buzzword for some time now, but the ever-increasing demand from clients coupled with almost daily tech advances mean that it’s becoming more important than ever. For some time at OMD we have considered it a crucial part of our fully integrated solution for clients and that will only continue.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

It’s easy to say that the world is changing so fast that the rules are changing almost daily. For example, the exponential growth of video and distribution options being supplemented by live streaming from Periscope and other apps will open up a range of exciting options. Equally, every marketing plan now has to at least consider a role for digital influencers, with new personalities and online communities constantly emerging.

Philipp_FriedelPhilipp Friedel, Head of Market Communication, Deutsche Telekom

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

There is no universal answer where branded content would make sense or not. In our case, branded content is one good option if we want to entertain our target group and communicate our product benefits. It is a decision each decision maker has to make on his own.

Michaela_HaberlanderDr. Michaela Haberlander, Funding Advisor Digital Games, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Bavarian game developers have access to public funding for their creative ideas – I’m their funding advisor. The monies we provide are given as a loan and have to be paid back, but under very soft conditions.

Game developers are hungry for success and fame. But how can they survive in an increasingly competitive market where everybody can become their own publisher and literally millions of games are being offered to the app stores every day? How do game developers succeed in creating awareness and an audience for their games?

Community building is not the only factor but a very decisive one for success, and it starts at the very conception of a game. Game developers ‘talk’ about their games in any way possible by branding their content at any time, on any platform and with any media partner who crosses their path. This means an uninterrupted presence on all social media and their respective websites by offering crowdfunding campaigns, making-ofs, play-tests, and of course the all-important Let’s Plays on YouTube. This is common practice and every game developer – regardless of being indie or established – has become a master of its own branded content marketing campaigns. Is this lesson valid for any other industries trying to make contact with their audience, consumer, or client? You name it… I’d bet you!

Marc_SickfeldMarc Sickfeld, Director, FUSE – Omnicom Media Group Germany GmbH

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content needs to find an anchor in the brand’s communication plan, thus, it must be strategically reasonable, target-group relevant and sustainable. So, it is less about single situations and more about a strategic process where situations will influence the content or storytelling. For example, thinking about our client McDonald’s, the challenge is to unite brand-led ‘situations’ (various promotional products or messages, to keep it intrinsic) under one strategic (branded) content roof that is dynamic and flexible on the one hand and consumer-engaging on the other.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

I see two emerging trends for 2016 and beyond:

  1. (Very) Short-format storytelling, especially for youth targets which comes along with fast fragmentation, the increasing relevance of mobile content consumption and the rising influence of social storytellers. Focusing thoughts on digital branded content this means a significant step-change in the way stories need to be told today.
  2. Real-time (branded) content distribution – I am excited to see if and how, for example, Periscope, Meerkat and the like will have any relevant impact on the segment of branded content (development, creation, circulation, engagement). Especially for content owners, those live-streaming channels can be a useful add-on to distribute exclusive content direct and raw.

Andreas_Waldner

Andreas Waldner, CEO, initiator and organiser of the Branded Entertainment Summit ProPKo and Product Placement Award PPA, WTV Entertainment Marketing, Germany

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Entertainment, fiction and information formats are at the heart of media productions using a branded content approach. If a company, brand, or product can be linked to an emotional story with public interest, do it – but only if there’s a relevant, credible background to what’s reported.

Based on my business experience and my association with the Branded Entertainment Summit ProPKo, various cases studies show the phenomenal potential of branded content. The overall results are on the whole superior to other forms of marketing alone. Still, it’s always a challenge to convince brand executives of these facts and make them understand its relevance to their business – some barely believe the results we can show.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

The transition between advertising and editorial is crucial. Here, transparency and credibility is mandatory. My prediction is a further trend towards these factors, which includes openly naming the sender of the message and not trying to misguide the audience.

Ferdinand_FroningDr. Ferdinand Froning, Managing Partner, Locavi GmbH Branded Entertainment

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

From our point of view as an agency working for clients such as Mercedes Benz, I figured out you should use branded content when you:

  • really want to connect with your social media-savvy core target groups.
  • have to tell and share an authentic story about your brand or product, which also matters to your target groups.
  • want to increase the audience engagement level with your marketing messages, even though you might have to sacrifice reach.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

  1. Only the stories or messages that matter to consumers, not just to the brand, will break through the clutter.
  2. We’ll see brands teaming up more and more with professional entertainment producers to benefit from their storytelling expertise.
  3. Branded content will more often serve as the core element of product campaigns with strong paid media support.

Stefan_MohrStefan Mohr, Chief of lab for Content Marketing Roundtable of BVDW; Managing Director, Jung von Matt/next GmbH

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Whenever you find a theme or a story that fits naturally with a brand, it’s highly recommended to think about aligning both. This can be extended to technologies and platforms, if they have a value or a feature supporting brand stories.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

The increasing demand for branded content solutions will lead to more unseen use of technology and platforms. The constant work on never-before-seen cases will surprise us with combinations of brands, content and technology that are truly entertaining.

Furthermore, I expect to see more brands starting to leave their known fields and to set sail into fields that they were not associated with before, like digital services and entertainment.

Oliver_RosenthalOliver Rosenthal, Industry Leader Creative Agency, Google

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

In general, all advertising should be compelling branded content. Google has developed a strategy framework called ‘Hero, Hub, Hygiene’ which refers to different approaches regarding content: entertaining, informative and educational. This structure gives brand strategists a clear recommendation when to use which kind of content.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Branded content means video, video means digital and digital means mobile. Every brand needs to have a digital content strategy that reflects people’s behaviour, which is shifting heavily to mobile platforms. We already see more than 50% access for YouTube coming from mobile devices, continuously increasing.

Norman_WagnerNorman Wagner, Managing Partner, MediaCom Beyond Advertising Germany

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

The main goals for creating branded content are awareness and brand values. On the other hand, branded content by itself has no significant benefits compared to other types of marketing approaches to achieve these goals. But once branded content is integrated into a complete communication system, it has the potential to become ‘everything’.

Then you can achieve all manner of outcomes, even in B2B lead generation, as shown by Dell’s recent ‘Tough Enough’ campaign. So branded content stands or falls on the system you build around it.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Live streaming is definitely one of the trends – for example, using Periscope and Snapchat. But the major trend for the upcoming years in branded content will be Virtual Reality (VR). Many key players like Facebook, Google, Samsung and Sony invest heavily in this technology and we will see a surge of VR content in 2015. It’s a great opportunity for brands to be innovative and if they do not have a VR strategy yet, they should start today.

Jobst-BenthuesJobst Benthues, Managing Director, RedSeven Entertainment GmbH

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

When it comes to branded content on TV, the most crucial thing is to align the emotional live environment of a TV show with the requirements of the brand.

From our point of view as content producers, it’s very important to approach the production of a branded content TV programme in exactly the same way as we approach producing every TV show.

RedSeven’s mission statement ‘Corporate Media by Media Experts’ works for all brands and means to work hard to involve the audience, with the same quality in production and using all the resources at our disposal.

The intention is to bring the core values of a TV show in line with the brand values, to achieve a perfect brand fit across both.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Branded content will be available everywhere, all the time, and definitely on TV – TV isn’t obsolete at all!

Alice_BottaroAlice Bottaro, Creative Director, DDB Berlin GmbH

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?  

Branded content isn’t the right solution for every brief, but it can be incredibly powerful to create awareness and build a narrative around a brand. For me, there are mostly two things to consider: do something that’s good enough to be watched spontaneously by people, and tell a story that feels credible when associated with your brand. Our Wi–Fi Dogs films, for example, tell a story that might seem absurd – however, it makes complete sense when associated with a brand like Deutsche Telekom. Also, it’s based on a human truth, something the viewer can relate to and laugh about.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Everyone is talking about branded content and everybody wants to do it – so we need to create something good to have a chance of survival. What’s interesting is that, when the content is successful, we have the chance to create entire ‘worlds’ around it – from websites to apps, from songs to merchandising. This opens up entire new possibilities and gives creatives the chance to work on different fields.

Thomas_HesseThomas Hesse, Head of Marketing, Media Markt Germany, redblue Marketing GmbH

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content is crucial for us, because we want to reach and permanently stay in communication with our customers. Not only via campaigns in paid media, but also through gradually more content in earned and owned media channels. 365 days a year of customer access utilising every possible channel available, with a strong and consistent message that comes directly from the brand’s core. ‘Osterhasen-Rasen’ was just the first success that clearly demonstrates and proves this new way for content marketing.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

Creating brand experiences is a strong way to gain the customer’s loyalty. The experience merges a store’s offline communication with the online world – and this has been taking place faster than ever. Communication will expand beyond the two-dimensional media space towards new three-dimensional brand spaces, where customers decide what kind of information and entertainment they wish to receive. We want to invite our customers to enter into the new world of Media Markt as a brand experience, so that they stay, enjoy and widely share their experiences.

Peter_KaszaPeter Kasza, Business Director Visual Lab, C3 Creative Code and Content GmbH

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

I would highly recommend using branded content for brand building. This is what we do for Deutsche Telekom’s music magazine ‘Electronic Beats’. Electronic Beats is a 360° content ecosystem with print, online, video, audio, social media and live events. This shows that, for an ongoing and sustainable brand communication, nothing comes close to relevant content – and it shows how important it is for brands to focus their whole strategy on branded content. A one-shot video does not have much impact in the long run.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

I see two trends. For brands seeking quantity reach the content output will have to remain high. In addition, though, excellent quality will become more and more important to stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, I see a shift towards ‘organic reach’. Whereas up to now clients support content campaigns via traditional media, in the future more and more clients will expect content to perform on its own.

Thomas_SpillerThomas Spiller, Head of Brand Solutions, Endemol Beyond GmbH

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

We recommend a branded content approach when brands want to communicate with their customers on an equal footing. Authentic storytelling is the way to turn customers into fans and to engage with them in the long term. At Endemol Beyond, we use our production expertise as a starting point to connect marketing messages with emotional storytelling. In this way, we can create digital brand environments.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

The big buzzwords will be “quality“ and “professionalising digital brand messages on the web”. High-quality content on YouTube or elsewhere in the digital space will attract more attention. In addition, integrated communication will become more important and therefore we’ll see a stronger link forming between digital content and traditional advertising. The future will be about not only publishing individual marketing messages, but also following a structured approach across all content platforms.

Jens-Uwe_BornemannJens-Uwe Bornemann, Senior Vice President Digital Europe, FremantleMedia Group Ltd; Senior Vice President Digital, UFA GmbH

Q1. In what situations do you recommend using branded content?

Branded content means to entertain, engage, involve your audience. No interruptive advertising – it’s entertainment, it’s an emotional charge to the brand. Our experts at UFA LAB use original storytelling to create great content that users want to share with their friends. So use branded content to enrich your brand, touch and bind your customers, and to get a brand that people are not only interested in, but also want to be part of.

Q2. What emerging trends and insights into branded content do you have for the coming year?

One of the most important trends is trust. Brands shouldn’t ‘trick’ audiences, but instead create real value. Transparency will dictate brand-customer relationships.

Make it human. The best branded content will be human and won’t ask for an immediate return or immediate value. Instead, its value will evolve over time. It appears that the more digital innovation helps us reach audiences more efficiently, the greater the need for authenticity and real people in campaigns.

This means there will be a strong need for brands to create a positive impact in their consumers’ minds. In response to this model of content production, content co-creation between brands and professional storytellers will become a popular trend. We will support this by creating own formats of high-level, next-generation online video productions involving credible multipliers, and curate that content in communities of interests and verticals.

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