Branded content – a growing trend

A few projects I’ve been working on lately have seen branded content come to the fore. It seems that brands are looking to create content that will be of interest to their audience so that both their brand awareness and reputation improve. I came across an article on this subject in the Evening Standard this evening by Gideon Spanier: Brands want to be content creators.

The parts I find particularly interesting:

Even digital brands recognise print’s value. As Google puts it: “From us, it’s unexpected to send a physical product rather than something purely digital.” The APA’s Julia Hutchison says: “We think there’s a convergence with online brands using offline media as their shopfronts.”

-AND-

Regardless of the medium, Grainger [Keith Grainger, chief executive of Redwood] argues the key is to create compelling content and not just promotional puff. “It only works for the brand and the reader if it’s authentic, valuable and relevant.” That means employing journalists who understand how to tell stories, he says, rather than copywriters who are used to creating advertising slogans.

It comes back to telling stories – and ‘branded content’ (along with social media and ‘viral’ campaigns) is a way to tell another story. As customers’ expectations of advertising increase, providing them with something to engage wit in the form of recipes, ‘how-to guides’ or thought leadership articles is a good way for brands to engage with their customers both offline and online. I found myself agreeing with a lot of Spanier’s article, and would well recommend the read.

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