Answer this: are you more likely to trust a brand that invasively tries to sell you products, or a brand that presents its story and naturally creates a connection with you? You would choose the second one, wouldn’t you? That’s why branded content has become so popular. People gravitate towards brands that generate an emotional connection with their audience.
Branded content doesn’t aim to directly sell the products to users. Instead, it is relevant and informative content that is focused on building trust. Forget about ads and pop-ups that annoy users. Users consume branded content voluntarily. They do it because it’s engaging, entertaining, and informative. And if done right, it can go viral. The following great examples of branded content can show you how it’s done.
1. Gatorade: The Boy Who Learned to Fly
Combine a famous athlete, storytelling, and creative animation and you’ll get yourself a winner. That’s exactly what Gatorade did. If you haven’t seen their The Boy Who Learned to Fly video, you need to get right on it.
The 7-minute mini biopic shows the rise of unbeatable sprinter Usain Bolt. For this fun project, Gatorade joined forces with Moonbot Studios to deliver the story that was destined to be a global hit. The most impressive part was that Gatorade barely made an appearance. All you can see from them is a sneak peek in the background.
What makes this branded content effective? It revolves around a subject that people around the globe are interested in. They will come to the video to hear the story of Usain Bolt, but they can’t help but notice the creator: Gatorade. While the story of the rise of the legendary sprinter is a gift to us, the viewer will, in theory, be grateful to Gatorade for their effort and therefore, will remember them as a brand that’s worthy of their money.
2. Pedigree: K9FM Radio Station
Pedigree showed how versatile branded content can be. You have probably seen lots of branded written content, videos, social media posts, influencer campaigns, and possibly even podcasts. But have you ever heard of a brand establishing its own personal radio station? Didn’t think so.
K9FM is a radio station designed for dogs who are alone at home while their owners are at work. In this way, owners can interact with their pets even when they are miles away. This idea was sparked by experts’ advice that dog owners should leave the radio on when they leave the house.
Digital marketers, writers, editors, and brands all showed admiration for this idea. “As someone who keeps a close eye on marketing innovations, I was truly impressed by Pedigree’s K9FM Radio,” said Estelle Leotard, a blogger and contributing writer at BestEssaysEducation.com. “The idea is original and notably beneficial for both pets and their owners. Pedigree took branded content on a next level, that’s for sure.”
What can we learn from Pedigree’s radio example? Realistically, not many brands can afford a project such as this. But the point isn’t that brands should set up radio stations. Pedigree teaches us that originality is what matters in this competitive marketing landscape.
3. Dove: Real Beauty Sketches
Besides great products, Dove can be proud of its impeccable branded content. One of their most famous videos that quickly went viral is the Real Beauty Sketches video. The message of the story is “You’re more beautiful than you think.” This video now has almost 10 million views.
The content showcases women of different size, color, occupation, and personality. The task that Dove gave them is to describe themselves to the forensic artist who will draw them based on their description. The same artist did the sketches based on a stranger’s observations as well. The difference between the sketches was evident. What this video proved is how people’s perception of themselves differs from other people’s perceptions—often negatively.
So, why is this the perfect example of impeccable branded content? Dove’s product wasn’t mentioned at all in the video, but the company depicted itself as a brand whose goal is to make women feel better about themselves. It amplifies the beauty within and sends the message that we often underestimate ourselves. The best part about this video is that it is evergreen. You can show it to your daughter in five years and it will still matter.
With this brand positioning, Dove evokes emotions in people and builds a loyal army of consumers. That connection that they create brings them more customers than typical ads ever could.
Characteristics of Great Branded Content
So, before we go our separate ways, let’s review what we can learn from these examples. To be successful and make an impact on the audience, this is what branded content should be:
- It should be original
- It should appeal to the audience’s emotions
- It should emphasize the brand’s beliefs and values, rather than aim to sell the product
- It should generate value for the audience
- It should embody strong storytelling
- It should be created in collaboration with others (users, influencers, other brands, blog owners, professional creators, etc.)
If you don’t have a writer or other production staff available, you have a few options. You can hire a freelancer to help out if it’s a small project, or if it’s a midsize project you can bring on a freelance team. Something like an independent videographer or a solo writer can get the job done for you.
If you really want to shine, though, or if you’re thinking big for your branded content, you might want to bring in a full-service agency. They’ll be able to really take your idea to the next level, and they can help you integrate it strategically with the rest of your marketing.
Experience the Power of Branded Content
What you can notice in the world of marketing is that branded content’s popularity is increasingly growing. That’s solely because of the people’s demand and desire to consume natural and relevant content instead of a generic advertisement.
These examples of effective branded content can give you some ideas of what type of content does well with audiences. Based on other brands’ experience, you can create incredible branded content for your company. Remember that you don’t need a huge budget, all you need is an authentic idea. Give branded content a try and watch how it does its magic.