Sandra Freisinger-Heinl is the Co-Editor Best of Branded Content Marketing 2015: Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and Managing Director MA Media Munich. She contributed to the BOBCM 2016 Insight Series and you can read her feedback below:
What is the problem that content-based marketing approaches solve for business, and is this different from advertising?
Branded content is a reliable and meanwhile proved marketing instrument for image building, increasing awareness of a brand and maintaining sustainable relations with its consumers.
Although branded content should be at the “heart of all thinking in marketing”, a holistic approach including classical media in advertising, social media, point-of-sales activities etc. is the “key to success” for most projects.
At our agency MA Media we experienced, that well-produced branded content with a link to the TV program, supported with classical advertising in terms of distribution and extended directly to commerce and consumers, achieves the best results for the brands of our clients.
Is there a great example that you think helps define what branded content is and what it tries to achieve?
There are some outstanding examples involving humor (like “Mediamarkt Rabbit Race” with its humorous rabbit characters and live broadcast at Easter), emotions (like P&G Always “#LikeAGirl” changing our view on education of girls and their potential) and great reach (like the “Volvo Epic Split” with Jean-Claude Van Damme between two immense Volvo trucks).
My favorite one though is Telekom Family Heins for “Magenta Eins” Deutsche Telekom created it together with its media agency DDB and well-known film producer Ufa. It is a “family with special characters” facing all challenges of modern communication. Those characters used in fiction storytelling also pop up in different locations in real life. Daughter Clara for example visits a pop concert with her boyfriend, a real YouTube star on German highest mountain Zugspitze. In another episode she enters the cast of a famous German movie and will play her role in the film.
It’s not only about producing funny videos for the web, but also about deliverig relevant product information on technical assets of German Telekom (like fast speed Internet and European phone flat rates) in an easy way. Thats extended by classical media like TV commercials. Sure it could be a little “more real life” and “less acted”. But I really appreciate the idea, that the family “lives on” communicating “Magenta Eins” in new and different situations. It is ot just a one-time shot, but innovative branded content.
Why is branded content important in your market?
There is a strong need for brands to tell stories and to offer touch points in social media to build up stronger relationship especially with their young customers. For example L’Oreal build up a content factory in Germany with their agency.
Large international German companies such as car brands BMW and Mercedes and electronic brands like Bosch, know about the advantages of playing branded content on an international scale.
Have you noticed any material changes in the past 12-months?
The importance of branded content continues to rise in Germany. Best cases encourage more brands to use this marketing instrument. “Market research” and “legal security” are highly relevant factors for us, to guarantee further growth.
More and more “key players in German media” change. But that seems to be a trend that started even earlier. Media agencies do no longer only focus on media buying at best rates, but also support departments “looking beyond media” to produce and distribute branded content. Broadcasters do offer concepts for branded content within and beyond their linear TV programs.
Within this scenario YouTubers become more and more important as multipliers. It is interesting that German YouTube Star LeFloid recently interviewed Chancellor Angela Merkel on political issues to interest younger people. Brands follow that trend of involving YouTube Stars in their branded content.
What does the future look like for branded content?
Branded content will set standards in brand communication, to entertain and to build up a trustful relationship with users. “Trust in your brand” is one of the high values branded content can help to achieve.
“Mobile” will keep us busy, as it requires changes in the production of branded content. If everyone watches videos on a small screen they have to be very short and catching attention quickly, often without sound.
“Live” is a trend already and will become even more relevant which might be due to the authenticity it shows. In Germany we had the “Mediamarkt Rabbit Race” live on TV at Easter and the “Weber Grill Event” live on the web. Apps like Periscope might enable more of all that.