Marketing and advertising have existed for a long time, for as long as products have existed! Its trajectory and evolution are -as is ours- in a constant state of transformation, adapting to the changing times. The habits of consumers are different now from what they were a decade ago, and the same goes for their desires and needs. In order to effectively carry out any marketing strategy, it is imperative that you take these desires and needs into consideration and plan any action around them.
Nowadays, traditional advertising methods are significantly less effective than they used to be. Things such as banners, whether online or offline or ads, can even generate an overall feeling of repudiation. Consumers swat them away the way they would a fly. Such is the aversion towards this type of advertising, there is even a term for it! Banner blindness. Millenials particularly, are so used to being bombarded with online banners, they have evolved into not noticing them anymore. Click-through rates for banners are less than 0.1% and the average time spent paying attention to a banner ad is 1.6 seconds.
So as a company, how can you combat this? Cue in branded content.
What Exactly Is Branded Content?
Branded content refers to any piece of content that the audience can associate with a brand. Some might say that branded content is any marketing related action that steers away from traditional “in your face” advertising techniques. Here at TNC, we are more of the opinion that branded content is any type of content that generates an emotional connection with the consumer, and sets forth a brand’s message. The aim of branded content isn’t necessarily to sell a specific product or service, rather, its effectiveness relies on introducing the brand’s values and ideas to the public.
Why Does Branded Content Work?
Purely and simply, branded content works better than traditional advertising in this day and age. Compared to display ads, brand recall is 59% better. This percentage was already high a decade ago, but it still managed to grow 17% from 2013, proving that branded content is highly integrated and effective in society nowadays.
While consumers actively avoid ads, with over 27% of internet users and one in every three Millenials employing ad blockers, readers actually engage an average of 36 seconds with branded content. Now, this might not sound like much, but the aforementioned 1.6 seconds for banner ads pales in comparison. Plus, 36 seconds of a consumer’s attention is absolute gold today, seeing as the public’s attention spans are decreasing by the minute as they’re diligently flooded with information anytime they tap into any of their numerous screens.
So How Exactly Does Branded Content Work?
Branded content connects with audiences on a deeper level. In that sense, it is a very subtle form of advertising. Instead of openly trying to sell a product or service, the goal is to connect emotionally with the public. You open yourself up as a brand, you let your values and ideas be known, in essence, you relay what you stand for. You offer value with the content you put out there, so basically you give before you take. Then, once you’ve earned the trust of potential clients, they will respond much more positively to all other forms of advertising from your brand. They will be the ones to come to you.
People nowadays don’t buy products for the sake of buying a product. Many see their purchasing behaviours influenced by the identity of the brands they wish to affiliate themselves with.
With Branded Content, Your Customers Are Your Best Ambassadors
Despite all the developments in the marketing industry, at the end of the day, one of the best ways any business can hope to reach a wider audience is by word of mouth. Few things work better than being recommended to someone by someone they trust. Branded content is inherently shareable because it actually has value for the customer and it is not blatant product placement. If your content resonates with people, they will be much more likely to share it. Thus inadvertently becoming brand ambassadors.
Branded Content Can Help you Garner Greater Loyalty
A great advantage of branded content is the fact that not only does it help you connect with a larger audience, it also allows for you to solidify your relationship with the audience that you already have.
Branded Content Imbues Your Business With Authenticity and Trust
By offering up valuable content for your customers without necessarily selling them anything, you generate a lot of trust with your clients. Nowadays everyone feels like businesses are constantly trying to sell them something, and distrust for any major brand is rampant. People simply don’t believe that a business could be looking out for them, and to be honest, they are probably right. With branded content, you are proving to your clients that you care about them, and about what they get out of the relationship they have with you as a brand.
In that sense, branded content provides you with the opportunity of showing clients what you really are like, and that customer care and customer interaction does not end when the product or service is purchased. This will allow for you to form not just a brand, but a community, a community made up of loyal, long-term customers. And that, is how you win.
Are you still wondering how effective branded content could be for your brand? Get in touch, we can help you out.