The good old days are a thing of the past when it comes to marketing your brand. Gone are the days when you could simply put out a print or TV ad and consumers would flock to the stores to buy your products. One new form of content marketing that looks to take over in a big way, ready or not is branded entertainment (otherwise referred to as native video advertising).
Branded entertainment is a type of content marketing – it’s all about creating entertaining content to capture the attention of potential customers for longer periods than traditional ads. The content is usually delivered online, as video-based series, Web-based magazines, podcasts, and more. A great example of branded entertainment is Lego’s interactive children’s magazines, which feature as characters toys that readers can purchase from its store. Many other brands are currently investing in branded entertainment, including fashion giant Dior, male grooming products maker Old Spice, and energy drinks seller Red Bull. Branded entertainment takes the notion of brands as publishers a step further; turning brands into producers of entertainment content.
Understanding Brand Marketing
It can be said that branded entertainment has arisen as a reaction of marketers to the fierce competition between brands, as well as to the increasingly fragmented attention that consumers have developed because of the multitude of ads with which they are bombarded on a daily basis, online, in print, on the TV, on the radio, and on the street. Brands that engage in branded entertainment try to stand out from their competitors, offering content that engages customers by grabbing their attention, keeping them hooked, and making them want more.
Branded entertainment resembles content marketing in that it usually doesn’t try to sell products directly, although it refers to them a lot and even integrates them as essential parts of the story/plots it develops. Furthermore, it is usually targeted at consumers who have chosen a certain lifestyle promote by the brand’s mission.
Brand Marketing Takes Marketing to a Different Level
You are probably used to seeing brands sponsor sporting competitions, film releases, art galleries, and other social events in order to promote their logo to an audience interested in their product. With branded entertainment, brands not just ‘present’ entertainment, but take an active role in its creation.
Branded entertainment is more personal, more engaging, and more effective than advertisements and other marketing techniques, and more exciting that traditional content marketing. It transforms a brand from a sponsor into a creator of fun and engaging content. At the same time, it delivers a richer experience than other forms of marketing while requiring unprecedented levels of intentionality and commitment on behalf of consumers.
Embracing Branded Marketing
Branded marketing isn’t just for huge brands like Lego, Dior, or Red Bull. When content marketing began its rise to power, there were those who thought that it would be effective only for large businesses who had the financial resources to invest in content production. Today, empowered by social media sites and blogs, everyone does content marketing, from Cola to the small local car repair service.
While it may appear too costly for small brands, branded marketing is ultimately scalable – a business that cannot afford to hire film stars and create a short series can engage in branded marketing in different ways, such as publishing an online magazine, creating an in-house audio show, or simply being creative about it and finding a compelling format and using it to create an engaging storyline that can grab and hold people’s attention.
From Content Marketing to Branded Entertainment
Your brand, too, can embrace branded entertainment and use it as a highly effective marketing tool to strengthen your brand culture and make your company stand out. It is important to understand, however, that branded entertainment naturally follows in the footsteps of content marketing, and that to get it right you must first embrace the latter, if you haven’t done so already.
If you do embrace content marketing and branded entertainment, your brand will become not just a publisher, but also an entertainer. It will not create ads but content, and thus differentiate itself from the marketing noise in your industry. It would not be an exaggeration to say that branded marketing, as a creative and engaging way to promote brands and products, may become in the near future a key strategy for all companies that want to establish a stronger connection with their customers.
Pamela Wigglesworth is an international marketing communication trainer, keynote speaker and Managing Director of Experiential Hands-on Learning, a training and development company. A resident of Asia for over 25 years, she helps companies across multiple industries to increase awareness, increase leads and ultimately increase their sales.