BOBCM: In what situations do you recommend using branded content?
Branded content is particularly powerful in two key circumstances.
The first is when you need to reach an audience that is actively tuning out of traditional media. Though branded content can work for all audiences, it tends to translate most effectively for those born after (circa) 1995. It’s this audience that is spending more of their time searching out new content to consume via the channels they’ve already vetted, than tuning into traditional disruptive based media. They’ve already consciously selected the majority of their preferred channels, devices and people that influence their tastes and their decisions. For this audience, branded content provides them with the entertainment, utility and status/access they are actively looking out for in their news feeds on a day-to-day basis.
The second case is when a considerable amount of information is required to make a purchase or decision. While often missed in the hype about content, it is this circumstance that branded content has been the most effective in. SAP has done an amazing job of providing most of the information a CTO would need to determine major IT investments. River Pools out of the US has painstakingly answered every question about inground pool installation. In these cases, the brand has shared their unique knowledge to assist consumers and businesses in understanding the key variables in the decision they need to make. Brands that are able to create valuable content that key decision makers need to make significant investments ensure they are in the final consideration set.
What about emerging trends and insights into the immediate future of branded content?
The largest trend I see this year is the combination of ad agency quality and brand stewardship with content agency agility. Over the past couple of years in Australia, we’ve seen a lot of low production value branded content. Further, a considerable amount of the branded content has been void of any major connection to campaign level strategy. The work may have been interesting at times, however it has often failed to keep users engaged beyond the clip or article. This year, I foresee a major shift, with more branded content working harder to engage audiences over a longer period of time. Netflix’s continued movement into branded content, such as its recent partnership with VICE and NYT to promote its Narcos series, is the perfect example of this in action. In the past year, this dynamic has stared to shift and by the end of next year it will be heard in every pitch room and it will be coming from the lips of every ad agency.