In what situations do you recommend using branded content?
It really depends on what you are trying to achieve, as different forms of branded content meet different objectives. Branded content and entertainment can span live events, games, video content, print, etc, so it is not about should you use branded content, but what is the best way to use it in any particular instance. Sponsorships and partnerships work well when brands need to reinforce their messages. If you need to create high impact then live experiential activity is very powerful. If your objective is to deeply engage someone and move them, make them laugh, or make them think a certain way then video content can be incredibly effective.
But most importantly, we need to move away from suggesting branded content as a communications solution and instead see it as a vital and integrated part of a broader set of channels, all selected for the role they can play and how they work together.
What about emerging trends and insights into the immediate future of branded content?
It has been interesting to see statistics on the growing levels of investment in experiential marketing in America recently. While live interaction with consumers has been seen in the past as an expensive way to engage, it is now being recognised for how powerful it is as a channel. And then using live experiences to create compelling and entertaining content means its reach and impact is every greater. We will be interested to see how that plays out across this region.
Across Australasia we have the interesting dynamic of vastly different countries and cultures that impact the way content is used by brands and consumed by audiences. For example, Indonesia has a huge youth market and smartphone penetration is growing rapidly, so there is a real explosion in how and where people are consuming content – and the type of content they want to consume.
From an influencer perspective, there are some creators who transcend markets across the region – in particular, the big global names – but we have been really interested in how localised that next layer of creators are. It’s really exciting to see great, very local content across music, humour, dance, etc. generate really deep levels of engagement, but it is also challenging to develop platforms that can work on a more regional basis.
In general, I hope there is a continued trend towards creating branded content across all platforms that is truly engaging, interesting, funny, moving, warm. Because, like any form of content, it has to have that filter in order for it to connect.”