Doing traditional advertising for the products and services you offer, publishing how-to content on multiple social networks, and posting answers to widely asked questions in your industry are part of a properly executed marketing strategy.
But have you ever wondered what the secret of high-profile brands is? Why do they win over their competition time and time again? How can you make your products and services the go-to choice for a category of customers?
If so, here is the one thing your marketing strategy may lack: branded content campaigns.
What Is Branding Content?
As HubSpot defines it, branding content is a category of content that presents you, as a brand, from a non-sales-y standpoint.
This content delivers messages infused with the brand values and your story about what you stand for. It candidly translates the heart of your business into video, text, or image content that won’t only evoke interest but will speak to your audience about something they believe in.
In other words, we define branded content marketing as the solution to an increasingly saturated market that uses ad blockers. It is the content you create to advertise subtly, not plainly.
Here are some of the reasons why you might want to use branded content:
- To build awareness
- To contribute to brand equity or differentiation from other brands
- To increase customer loyalty
- To communicate your brand values
Marketers and advertisers have recognized that consumers have developed the superpower of skillfully ignoring ads and promotional content.
Furthermore, they know that many businesses love talking about the greatness of their offers and that companies want to sell them everything. They have heard every promise in the book and see through any educational content.
You have to do better than what your competition does.
Branding Through Storytelling
You can get in the game of sprinting along with other businesses in your industry. Sprinting refers to Google ads, promotional emails, banner ads, Facebook ads, and countless daily posts on Instagram. These are typical digital marketing tactics that periodically boost your sales — if done right.
Or you can join the marathon of big brands that create branded content as an overall strategy for results in the long run.
Branded content builds on the story you constructed around your products and services. It consistently opens up to the customers, telling stories about your business and target market.
And what is utmost crucial about this tactic: it doesn’t force itself onto the consumers, but it gently enters their lives. You present a narrative in which your brand fits perfectly, so seamlessly that it doesn’t bother the viewer.
Content Marketing Versus Branding Content Marketing
Perhaps we’re too vague in describing branding content. And what will fix our vagueness is a comparison between branded content marketing and content marketing.
- Content marketing focuses on one portion of the market at a time. It capitalizes on the opportunity that one segment has some issues that the brand knows how to solve.
- A branding content strategy focuses on the entirety of the target audience. It’s not for a specific audience segment, but for everyone following you.
- Content marketing is a tactic for brand authority building. It tells the audience that the brand is knowledgeable, thus facilitating conversions.
- Branding content marketing tells a story about the brand and the world. This separates the brand from the rest of the market through concise positioning.
- More often than not, marketing content offers advice. It is actionable and guides the audience.
- Branded content posts don’t give advice, but talk about something important to the audience.
Why Is Branded Content Marketing Important?
The primary reason to start creating branded content as soon as possible — like after reading this article — is as follows. If you want to sell, you have to develop a strong brand. And that’s it. Why?
Because the brand will later sell the products or services for you.
A comprehensive story about your brand won’t increase your selling points overnight but will contribute to future sales by building a bond with the audience. This, in turn, will double down on customer loyalty.
One can meet the earlier mentioned objectives of branding content (awareness, differentiation, loyalty) through multiple other methods.
You can build brand awareness with billboards and posters all over town. However, only story-form content reaches your audience’s attention; anything else will fly over their heads. You can build customer loyalty with memberships and strategic discounts, but having customers who buy your products because they feel close to your brand is better than having them make buying decisions on a whim.
So, what situations require the implementation of a branding content strategy?
You Need to Work on Brand Awareness
If this is the case for you, it must be that your marketing efforts don’t contribute to the increase of word-of-mouth, which is still, by far, one of the most worthwhile marketing strategies because (1) it works in the long run, which means (2) it doesn’t require massive financial input since (3) it leaves all the work on the shoulders of the audience.
Give your audience a good story that includes your brand, and they will unconsciously promote you.
Your Other Marketing Efforts Fall Flat
You would like to start a conversation with your audience, but you have no idea how. You tried asking for their opinion on the quote you posted Wednesday on Twitter, but they didn’t answer. Why is that?
Branding content won’t jumpstart your relationship with them but will inspire them to join the discussions. If you play the humanizing brand content game long and consistently enough, your audience will be more responsive to your activity online.
And what’s more, this will increase brand recognition and memorability.
Principles of Branding Content Strategy
If you feel incentivized to start producing branded content, here are some basic requirements:
- Choose a cause, a value, a message, or a shared situation that relates to your brand and is relevant to your audience. This part is paramount because it emphasizes the link between you and your audience.
- Don’t say a word about your products or services.
- Branded content requires a brand trace. A simple logo somewhere would do.
- Make it emotional. Your brand is happy, sad, furious, or worried about something. Let the audience see that.
- There is no right format as long as the content is executed properly. You can post content on Social Media, on your blog, on your YouTube channel, or as a press release. You can design a branded content campaign that takes full advantage of co-created content. Get creative!
Are You Convinced You Should Use Branding Content Marketing?
You may be confused. Does this type of content make a brand stand out? How can that be?
Look around at huge brands: Adidas, Ikea, Coca-Cola, Dove, FedEx, Apple, and the like. They are a great example of companies regularly dropping new branding content that tells a compelling story about the customer, resulting in millions of sales.
You don’t have to be a big brand to use the content as a strategy to become the top-of-mind brand for a category of products or services. Yet, creating this content will make you big.
Learn about what is standing in your way to growing your brand and sales in just 90 minutes with a Double Your Sales Strategy session!