Branded content is a type of marketing that can be used alongside content marketing and other marketing channels to raise awareness of a brand.
Rather than being directly promotional or using the content to attract organic search engine traffic or drive conversions, branded content is produced primarily for entertainment or educational purposes.
While a branded content campaign may not increase sales or search engine traffic directly, it can be a very effective way to raise your brand profile and emphasize your core business values.
Because this kind of content is not promotional (or only in a very subtle way), it comes across as more authentic than other types of marketing and can help to build a stronger customer-brand relationship.
Getting branded content right can be tricky. There’s a delicate balance between ensuring your brand is visible and coming across as overly promotional. Here are three examples of companies that got branded content right.
Beauty brand Dove is an expert at branded content. The company has successfully launched a number of advertising campaigns that focus on their brand values rather than selling products.
Many of Dove’s campaigns focus around challenging beauty stereotypes. This type of content is a hit with their audience because every woman who has ever felt insecure about her appearance will connect with what they’re saying.
The content is not only highly engaging on an individual level but also a textbook example of how to get social media shares and press attention.
For example, one of Dove’s most famous campaigns, the Real Beauty Sketches, invited several women to describe themselves to an FBI-trained forensic artist. The artist then draws a second portrait based on the description of a stranger.
The results show that invariably, others see us in a more attractive light than how we see ourselves, ending with the thought, “You are more beautiful than you think.”
There is not a single Dove product shown or mentioned in the entire movie of over six minutes long, and yet the campaign was a huge success for Dove. The video has garnered over 114 million views within a month of launching, making it the most successful viral video ad of all time.
Beyond brand awareness, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, of which this video was a part, drove an additional $1.5 billion sales in its opening year.
Lego is a great toy, but the brand is also supported by a team of marketing experts. Many people think that Lego doesn’t need advertising – it’s such a well-known product and a staple of children’s toy boxes the world over that it sells itself.
The reality is that Lego almost went out of business in 2003. $800 million in debt, they’d become a victim of their own success by over diversifying their products and failing to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions.
But Lego was pulled back from the brink and made an impressive comeback with one of the most ambitious pieces of brand content of all time – The Lego Movie.
It’s not unusual for toys to be created as spin-offs of popular kids’ cartoons and TV shows, but going the other way is rather more unusual.
The Lego Movie had the potential to be a huge flop, but instead, it was a massive success, making $69 million on its opening weekend.
Importantly, the movie wasn’t created with the aim of selling more Lego kits. The brand sensibly focused on producing the best movie they could. Successfully achieving what few kids’ movies manage to do – being entertaining for both kids and adults – the movie became a global box office hit, impressing moviegoers and critics alike.
Naturally, Lego sales increased in the months following the release of the movie, jumping over 25 percent in the following year. In fact, the movie was so successful, a second movie and two spin-off films followed.
Few brands have the budget and resources to be able to create their own Hollywood movie. But, The Lego Movie is a great example of how by really understanding your audience and leveraging great storytelling, branded content can skyrocket your marketing success.
3. Red Bull
Energy drink Red Bull has enjoyed a stratospheric rise in marketing success since the early days of its “Red Bull gives you wings” commercials. In fact, Red Bull has grown way beyond a single product into a globally respected brand that’s synonymous with extreme sports.
Rather than going down the route of sponsoring events as so many brands have done before them, Red Bull decided to create their own events. By aligning their brand with action and adventure and moving the focus away from the product itself, Red Bull has successfully achieved what so many brands try and fail to do.
Red Bull has managed to make their brand name synonymous with “extreme.” Not content with their own cliff diving series, Red Bull took one step further by organizing a record-breaking freefall jump from over 28,000 feet up, at the edge of space.
Red Bull’s adrenaline-fueled events are fantastic marketing opportunities in their own right, but they’re also a great source of content for sharing and brand building. Their YouTube channel has over 9 million subscribers, and their very own media company produces a magazine, as well as working on campaigns for several other brands. Not bad for an energy drink company.
Red Bull has certainly reaped the rewards of investing in branded content, and they’re a great example of how giving your audience the content they want can be a hugely successful strategy.
So now it’s your turn. These fantastic examples of branded content show what’s possible with a large budget and global marketing team at your disposal. But the principles remain the same for smaller companies: Focus on your brand values, understand your audience, and create content that they want to see rather than trying to make sales.
It all starts with having a great content strategy in place. To learn more about how DivvyHQ can help your organization to create better content, get in touch for a demo or try it for free for 14 days.