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Intro to branded content: What is it and why is it effective?

Intro to branded content: What is it and why is it effective?

The use of video marketing continues to rise each year. Currently, over 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool and 84% of people say that by watching a brand’s video they are convinced to buy their product or service. A major aspect of this success comes from branded content. 

But what is branded content for video marketers? 

Here’s the deal: you may have already seen branded video content when browsing YouTube or other video streaming platforms, These videos are usually sponsored or created by the brand, with the main purpose being to build the brand without directly advertising or promoting their product/brand to the audience. 



Unlike traditional advertisements or other marketing promotions, branded content does not explicitly promote or advertise the brand by trying to sell the product or service to the user. Instead, branded content aims to establish a connection with the audience through content that interests and aids them in an area that is associated with the brand. 



One of the main differences between traditional advertising and branded video content is the CTA or “call to action.” For traditional ads there is a clear call to action that is attached to the selling of the product or service. However, the most successful brand content skips the whole CTA concept in order to emphasize the brand rather than the sales process. 



Brand content does a lot to express a message to the audience that is genuine, interesting and shareable. It does this by using these three characteristics very well:

  1. Good branded content does not interrupt the relationship between the viewers and the brand. It shouldn’t take away from the brand by throwing a product at the audience’s face, but it should add value or additional information to the conversation.  
  2. Branded content is authentic and engaging. Audiences today know what legitimate content looks like compared to sponsored content. It is important to show that your brand is passionate about establishing a connection with the viewer by sharing valuable knowledge in your brand’s area of expertise through engaging content. 
  3. What separates branded content from traditional advertisements is the fact that there is a story being told to the viewer through emotive content. The content shouldn’t make the audience feel like they need to buy the product, but it should make them feel immersed and emotional towards the plot, characters and setting that they are being introduced to. 



Branded content is considered more effective than regular advertising due to recall being 59% higher for branded content, and 14% of consumers were likely to look for the brand with branded content after being exposed to their products and services.


There are a number of examples of branded video content that have done an excellent job in establishing a relationship with the viewers, instead of driving them away.

Here are my top three:


  1.  GQ Sports: My First Million


This series by GQ Sports, along with Goldman Sachs, shares how millionaires, (typically famous athletes or celebrities), spent the first million dollars that they made. It does a good job at sharing information that is not common knowledge and also shares valuable information like how to properly spend your money. Since Goldman Sachs is an investment bank company this was a good way to get people invested in their area of expertise


  1. Dove Real Beauty Sketches 


These videos by Dove really focus on the brand’s values rather than the products that they make. These videos show a forensic artist who draws each woman based on their personal description of themselves and then draws them based on strangers’ description of them. This challenges beauty stereotypes and connects with the audience by showing them that Dove understands the insecurities surrounding beauty. 


  1. Red Bull: Last Call for Mr. Paul


Red Bull does a good job at making videos that have a high potential to go viral. This video is more narrative based and connects the brand to the audience by taking them on this journey with the character. This was a good way to show how Red Bull can relate to the most mundane and ordinary things like trying to board a flight which ends up turning into this extreme sport type of situation. 


Why does branded content matter? In order to effectively market your brand, it is important to not only advertise the brand but to also give something to your potential consumer. Whether that be interesting facts, important information, or a story you want them to connect to. It will help your brand to not only reach more people but also retain them as future consumers in the future.