I think that as long as your brand can tell a story that adds value to the consumer while extolling the virtues of your brand then you should make branded content core to your marketing plans. Almost all other forms of communication are around other people’s content, whereas with branded video you ARE the content.
So, if you’re BMW with the Story of Joy then maybe make an online video series that sees the presenter show consumers around some of the most joyous places in the British Isles, in a BMW of course.
If you’re a rice brand, then show people how to make perfect rice using your brand like Tilda and Media Contacts have just launched on AOL – http://tinyurl.com/yzzkbnq The one thing I would say about this campaign though, is that I couldn’t find it on YouTube which is far from ideal.
There is a useful, interesting story for almost any brand to tell, and if you start with the consumer in mind, you can make that branded video content appear in their search results. “How do I make perfect Rice” in Google for instance could yield a result that includes the Tilda Rice example. “Great days out in England” could be how consumers find the BMW content. Look at sites like Videojug.com – they make a business out of answering peoples search queries with video answers.
YouTube gives everyone a massive opportunity to distribute inexpensive video content, that offers value to the consumer while educating them about your product or service.
I have worked on dozens of branded content deals at the Telegraph, and whenever there is market research carried out alongside the campaign, we have found a positive uplift in consideration and awareness.
So in order to make your branded content work, I would humbly suggest the following pointers which are born out of my experience in this field to date:
- Make it about what the consumer wants first, and about your brand second
- Make it short and sweet – 3-5 minutes is long enough in most cases
- Agree a distribution deal with a relevant partner site, but always put it on YouTube as well
- Search for and contact all relevant bloggers, and offer them your content
- Point to your content in other communications
Branded content can be inexpensive to produce when compared to TV advertising, and the engagement is nearly always higher when a consumer spends 3-5 minutes with your brands as opposed to 30 seconds with a TV spot.
I think that branded content will play a huge part in the future of online video, as it enables the publisher a much needed revenue stream and the advertiser the chance to have longer, deeper conversations with their customers.