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Why Is Branded Content Important? A Business Owners’ Guide in 2021

Did you know that the native advertising (aka branded content) market is expected to be worth over $400 billion by 2025? Branded content is unavoidable — we see it every time we scroll through our feed, watch a YouTube video, even reading a company blog post.

Business owners and entrepreneurs who cannot leverage branded content could be missing out on millions in sales — but no need to worry. In this 5-minute guide, you’ll learn everything you need about what branded content is, why it is so important, and how to do it well.

What Exactly Is Branded Content?

Branded content is a marketing strategy that uses brand-focused content to invoke an emotional response in the customer. Typically, branded content focuses on the values and ideals of a company more than its products and services. The goal is to create a conversation around the brand itself.

Good branded content offers value to the viewer or consumer, usually through education or entertainment. If you’ve ever scrolled through your Facebook or Instagram feed and saw an influencer making a video in collaboration with a company, you’ve run into branded content.

Examples of Branded Content in Action

Branded content marketing has taken the advertising world by storm, with massive brands using it to create excitement around their products:

  • Red Bull. Remember Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128,000 feet in the sky? It was a Red Bull stunt that shattered records and made for a great YouTube video (one that has over 47 million views). The stunt isn’t about the energy drink but instead appeals to Red Bull’s target audience: adventurous go-getters.
  • Lego. Not only did The Lego Movie gross nearly half a billion dollars, but it also helped Lego sell a record-breaking $4.4 billion worth of product. The movie wasn’t an extended ad or a product placement-heavy film — it was a well-received story that viewers enjoyed.
  • Dove. Dove Real Beauty Sketches was a campaign that had an FBI sketch artist draw women in two different ways: one from their own description, another from the description of a stranger. The idea was to show how hypercritical we can be when it comes to how we look. Dove’s short went viral and sparked a global conversation about natural beauty and self-love — core aspects of the Dove brand.

Benefits of Branded Content Marketing for Your Business

When comparing branded content vs. traditional advertising, we can see a myriad of benefits and improvements:

  • Branded material can be 20+ times more engaging. People engage with written content for 44 seconds on average vs. 1.6 seconds for regular banner ads.
  • It outperforms display ads. Branded content helps customers improve brand recall by 59%, favourability by nine percentage points, and purchase intention by 7 points.
  • Your customers prefer this type of content. Branded content campaigns focus more on providing value than selling products, which is something customers can appreciate.
  • Almost 90% of marketers say influencer marketing has the same or better ROI than other channels. Consider this as you move your marketing strategy toward content created by influencers.

Start Using A Branded Content Strategy Today

The core idea behind branded content is that it does not interrupt your customers’ experience online or on social media — it’s a valuable part of it instead. Follow these tips to ensure you produce the right kind of content:

  • Tell stories. Narratives build an emotional connection: this is what separates branded content from simple product placement.
  • Engineer shareability. A video or article is easy to share and discuss on social media. Create content so that your brand has the potential to go viral.
  • Don’t sell. Your goal is to communicate the brand, not just the product or service. 

Generating brand awareness and creating content does not require massive budgets or Super Bowl ads. Simply tell your audience stories they will enjoy, add value to their day, and let your content do the work for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of branded content?

Branded content is designed to communicate a brand’s ideals, values, and mission. Its goal is to generate interest and brand awareness without explicitly marketing a product.

How effective is branded content?

Branded content has been shown to be 22x more engaging than standard display ads, and leads to improved brand memory by nearly 60%.

What makes good branded content?

Content that is emotional, tells a story, avoids selling, uses relatable characters, and delights its audience will make an excellent part of any content strategy.

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