While many companies are concerned about getting customers and followers of their brand and products / services, there are others that are focusing more on creating interesting, entertaining, educational and informative content, which reflect their Value Proposition and Brand Promise.
Given the great information exposure and especially now that consumers decide and choose what they want to see, read and listen, one of the biggest challenges that companies face today is finding a place in hearts and minds of their target audiences
…… thus arises Branded Content!
What is Branded Content?
Branded Content is part of your Content Marketing arsenal that creates loyalty and an identification of consumers with the brands. In a Forrester report branded content is defined in the consumer marketing arena as: ”Content that is developed or curated by a brand to provide added consumer value such as entertainment or education. It is designed to build brand consideration and affinity, not sell a product or service. It is not a paid ad, sponsorship, or product placement”. Branded content creates brand differentiating by bridging the gap between TV’s emotive power and digital media’s efficient reach.
“Designed to build brand consideration and affinity” and “not sell a product or service “are essential words in the above. Branded content is not the place to go on and on about how great your brand is and how great your new product is or anything tied to sales.
Nowadays high mobility and hyperconnectivity, makes the lives of many people, -“the Millennial Generation” - gravitate around the Internet, since they get and exchange information, learn, communicate, interact, and shop online. Data from IAB Mexico indicates that more than 52 million internet users in Mexico are between 18- 34 years old and almost none watch TV.
Through social networks the brand gets increased interaction and engagement with the user, since he or she is frequently connected and looking for fun, innovative, practical or simply out of the ordinary information. In Mexico, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the social networks that have more followers and according to research from the Mexican Internet Association (AMIPCI), 93% of Internet users, access a social network.
On the other hand, 87% of Internet users access the network to send and receive e-mails, 84% seek information and 82% access social networks, which justifies investing in Branded Content. There are enough and always growing opportunities to let consumers understand who the brand is and what it does.
For these reasons, Branded Content gets more relevant, because people get annoyed by invasive advertising. The key is to create an emotional bond with the clients to generate communities where the brand becomes part of their lives without being an intruder and consumers are satisfied with the information they receive.
Forrester has identified four ways branded content can help build a true brand:
- Educate and inform to build a trusted brand.
- Create topical, shareable content to build a remarkable brand.
- Develop stand-out content to build an unmistakable brand.
- Become part of your customers’ daily routine to build an essential brand.
And among their recommendations Forrester says marketers need to shift from random acts of content to purposeful storytelling.
Why Stories? To create empathy with the consumers, providing valuable and attention getter information through stories, where they can identify their tastes, needs and experiences. Empathy that allows brands to have a special place in the minds and finally into the hearts of the target audiences.
Remember that although the objective of any type of marketing is to sell, you should consider consumers´ emotions. As Elizabeth Taylor once said, “Ideas move the world only if before they become feelings”. Sharing highly valuable and entertaining content allows you to move your clients from the emotional to the rational, and only then your brand becomes the brand of choice.
In Branded Content it is important to have a plan, execute it and measure it over and over.
You have to tell a story, but just not any story ……an interesting and purposeful story.
About the author: Hector worked for IBM Mexico for more than 30 years, managing different functions and areas: Marketing and Commercial – Channel Sales, Manufacturing, External Relations, Human Resources, Legal, Education, IT, Foreign Trade and Security. During his career at IBM, he had two international assignments in charge of Marketing and Sales for Latin America. After his retirement as IBM's Executive Vice-President, he took the position as President and Corporate Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean for Motorola Mexico; he was also Vice-President for Motorola Corporation.
Hector has a college degree in Business Administration from Texas A&I University, and a Master's degree in Economics from Trinity University. He has also received intensive training in advanced business management, corporate strategies and international trade at IPADE; Pittsburgh University, IBM La Hulpe in Belgium, IBM Executive Institute in N.Y. and Motorola University.
Hector is also an Independent Consultant for Management, Strategic Planning, Human Resources and Marketing Communications and is a columnist for Forbes Mexico, Alto Nivel and Dialogo Ejecutivo. He may be contacted vía: Twitter: @HectorMezaC; Facebook: Héctor M. Meza; LinkedIn: Héctor M. Meza Curiel.