The (r)evolution of (Brand) Content

Whether B2B or B2C, by now all brands have some kind of content strategy in place. But the real issue when setting up strategy, is proper placement of the “brand” in the content. From non-existent to pervasive – where should your brand stand?

Brand … Content Misconceptions

In spite of their name similarity, Brand content and content marketing should not be lumped together. However, many brands still get the two mixed up. Thank goodness you’ve got me to sort it out!

Branded content is a term created by advertisers who realized that their strategies needed to evolve … or they would wither and die. Branded content tends to be campaign-based. This means there’s no ongoing editorial product serving an audience. Instead, it usually employs a heavy dose of product placement.

On the other hand, content marketing is about relationships. It’s serving the interest of your target audience by providing valuable information while the actual product remains invisible. Basically, you don’t talk about yourself, you create content that gets your audience fired-up to do the talking for you.

I don’t believe there’s a right or a wrong way to do this. It all comes back to your strategy and the objectives you have, but it’s a good idea to start with a clear definition of your strategy. 

Content Brands

Many campaigns start out as a typical branded content campaign, but end-up being content marketing instead. And that’s part of the reason it’s so difficult for people to see differences between the two.

The brand Sanofi, won this year’s “prix du brand content” in France for their campaign “team de nuit” (night team). The campaign started in standard fashion with a dedicated website that promoted their sleeping product, “Novanuit”.  They followed this by creating a digital nighttime community attended by managers who worked to teach people how to sleep better. Eventually, a trusting relationship grew between the people in the community. As a result, the brand itself became less prominent. The key takeaway here, is that Brand mention should not be linear. It should pop-up only at the right time and then withdraw once the impression is successfully delivered.

According to marketing expert, Andrew Davis, communicators should forget branded content altogether, and concentrate on creating new content brands instead. And that in an “opt-in world,” the future belongs to marketers and PRs who can harness the power of subscribers, and, who value long-term relationships over views, impressions, and likes.

By targeting niches and exploiting content holes, communicators can build content brands that speak to consumers in their own language. This requires meaningful context that sometimes courts controversy, but creates value for everyone involved.


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