It’s Time to Take the Brand Out of Branded Content

Branded content

You’ve already heard that content is king, and this statement has remained true. However, where does your brand name fit into your content strategy? Target audiences are finding more and more that they’re more interested in what your brand content’s message is about more than what your brand name is. So what do you do?

It’s Time to Take the Brand Out of Branded Content

The world is continuously changing, and now almost every brand has access to the same technology, money, and talent as big businesses. This leveling out has put some pressure on big brands and has also made new brands have to up their game. The minor leagues no longer exist, everyone is mixing in the big leagues. This means that your brand advertising can’t just be a shoutout anymore.

The young consumers that fill the internet are just too savvy. They know when they’re being sold to by big businesses. This knowledge means that disingenuous attempts at elaborate ads are immediately transparent as branded content.

This type of advertising may not be significant in and of itself, but it gets worse. The gap between good content and bad content will only continue to get more extensive as this ill-thought-out messages pale in comparison to the brands that have researched and gotten it right.

What Will Too Much Brand Give You?

It’s important to remember that your brand isn’t the only important part of your content. Your content must value quality storytelling and narrative more than just your brand name. Content is content, and if it’s good content, then it will be good content.

The story that you create needs to move at a good enough pace that no one cares it was written by a brand, or with a brand in mind. You want to keep your audience happy enough about the content that they thank your brand for bringing it to them.It's Time to Take the Brand Out of Branded Content

If the opposite is true, and your content is bogged down by your brand name and is annoying, that aspect will be amplified. Lousy brand content will never just go ignored; people love an excellent call-out too much. This kind of material can also be responsible for destroying a brand.

Having every other word in your content be your brand name will not help you in the long run, or even in the short term. Too much branding pushes people away from your brand and is a turn off regardless of their initial interest.

Storytelling is Key

Your storytelling and content creation needs to be at the forefront of your invention process. Gone are the days when your storytelling and other means of communicating with your audience can sit at the end of your supply chain.

You can’t just create your products and services and then push them out to the world. You can create content and to be a storyteller that will make all the difference in your brand’s success.

It is possible to have a successful business without having a lot of advertising. If you can double down on your storytelling and your quality content, then you’ll find your audience.

RedBull is an excellent example of this. They’ve melded their brand with extreme sports, creating content that gives them a broad cultural immersion into this world. Thus, with little advertising, they’re able to reach their target audience because their storytelling has created a connection.

Redbull's branded content

Even their homepage deals more with sports than it does with their product.

Your target audience will pay attention to you if they feel that they can invest in your story. The audience wants to know what story you’re telling and get involved in your narrative. Your target audience wants to know the same information that they request from every story: how will it end?

When they get to the end of your account, they will do so with the knowledge that your brand brought this to life for them. This will create one of the sturdiest and most positive brand associations you could hope for from your story.

SEE ALSO: Establish Product Story Fit

Your Content Should Have a Purpose

The world has become louder and more forceful in its push for delivering information. This isn’t so much about pomp and circumstance as it is about need. Your brand will need to step up and be more purposeful itself for your audience to hear you through all the other businesses.

A new task the private sector must deal with is picking up some of the public sector’s slack as they struggle to create meaningful changes to help society deal with the continually transforming times we live in.

Thus, brands who can produce quality content that can address the challenges their target audience is facing will be better off in the long run. This can include bringing together the disenfranchised in what you write about, like obesity or environmental issues.

By doing this, your brand will be able to create meaningful connections with your target audience. It is these connections that can transcend transactions and create significant interactions.

Apple Advertising

Apple was able to do this in their Think Different ad and as such as become known for their creative marketing and storytelling as much as they have for their innovative technology. This has worked because Apple is making it less about their products. Apple focuses more on the possibilities they represent to change the world.

Apple highlights several different people in their Think Different ad that gives everyone the ability to be represented. They kept an eye out for race, creed, age, gender, and physical ability to provide a feeling of inclusion in their ad. Apple shows that their technology allows people to make themselves and the world better. This type of ad shows off their new product while addressing the cultural climate of equality that is so popular right now.

Intent is Important

People must believe that your brand story is worth telling. Your target audience must care about your story and want to hear it. The most significant thing your brand needs to remember is that your audience needs to want to listen to your brand tell it.

Brands have been taking on new tasks as the era we live in becomes increasingly more politicized. Your brand may be asked to take a moral or political point of view.

A single clumsy interjection from brands can undermine any message they’re trying to put out. However, a compelling story told by a brand in a pure and confident voice can be a powerful media tool for your brand for good.

When writing these kinds of stories, your brand logo will need to take a back seat. Your logo isn’t your brand; your story is your brand.

Content Should Elicit Emotion

The best material you could produce is that which creates an emotional response in your reader. When you look back at ads you loved, you will always remember the emotion that was attached to it. The feeling created with the content is as important as the story your content generates.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Advertising

A great example of this is the content that Dicks Sporting Goods has created. Their content has nothing to do with the cleats, balls, bats, or sports clothing that they sell in their store. Instead, their ads make us laugh, cry, and feel the real power of champion spirit that is the root of all sports.

They created Who Will You Be content that aimed at encouraging young athletes to be their best. They also made the Why Sports Matter series that showed how impoverished areas change through sports.

Most recently, Dick’s Sporting Goods put out United in Sport. This ad discusses how games can bring people together. It highlights the rough political climate of our day and the excitement the Olympic Games brings us. This ad is a great example of eliciting an emotion for your brand without focusing on your brand.

Dick’s Sporting Goods creates content that entertains and informs will eliciting empathy and real emotion. They keep discussion of their brand and products almost nonexistent. Then they focus on the feeling they’re trying to associate with their brand.

Final Thoughts

Your content is your brand in this day and age. The information you put out will reflect on your brand whether you like it or not. Keeping your content focused on the message of your brand will leaving out your flashy logos and brand names will keep your target audience interested. They will also be less likely to be turned off to your content. You will need to keep your messages real and relevant. You should also include a little research to make sure you’re staying on target. Doing this will make sure that your brand gets the positive attention you’re looking for. You will also be sure to stay away from archaic methods of reaching out to your target audience.

What content does your brand deal with to keep relevant?

Written by
Juntae DeLane

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