Here’s How Branded Content Helps You Stand Out

Your brand is a bit like your fingerprint: it’s the only one like it in the world.

Sure, you have competitors. There are companies that do similar things. But there isn’t a single brand out there that’s exactly like yours. Your brand identity is multifaceted and complex; it’s a combination of the people who work for your company, the people who founded it, the quality of the products you sell, the vision that drives you and the mission you’ve set out to achieve. Brand identity shifts and changes over time, but it remains unique and powerful.

In the modern world of digital marketing, communicating that brand identity is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business. Regardless of whether you’re introducing a new product or branching out to new audiences, creating a strong brand identity and communicating it to your followers is critical for reaching your goals.

Unfortunately, lots of marketers struggle to learn how to do this and aren’t sure where to get started.

The answer, luckily, is simple: branded content.

Designed to advertise your brand in a creative, non-traditional way, branded content is flexible, versatile, personal and ideal for helping your new and existing customers understand who you are, what you’re all about… and why it matters.

Here’s what you need to know about the difference branded content can make for you.

What is Branded Content?

Branded content is flexible and takes many forms.

At its most foundational level, it’s content that doesn’t rely on traditional advertising methods. In this sense, it can range from an article written by your brand to a podcast pushed out by someone on your team. Branded content is meant to bypass the pitfalls of traditional, sales-y content and create real engagement and interest on a human-to-human level.

Need a few examples of branded content? Consider The Tim Ferriss Show (lifestyle guru Tim Ferriss’s viral podcast).

The most popular business podcast on iTunes, this show has been ranked #1 out of more than 300,000 podcasts and is the first business podcast to pass 100,000,000 downloads. If that’s not an example of the power of branded content, we’re not sure what is!

Stellar Examples of Branded Content

Thanks to its flexibility, branded content fits right in with today’s complex and ever-changing marketing environment. With that in mind, here are a few real-time examples of how today’s brands are using branded content to reach customers and drive new partnerships.

1. Vice + Smirnoff

Vice introduced an electronic music publication called Thump recently. Last year, though, the publication did some research and realized that women account for only 17% of the headliners at major music festivals.

Determined to put an end to it, Thump partnered with Smirnoff and started a campaign dedicated to “doubling women headliners in electronic music.”

The partnership underlines an important issue while also providing some high-visibility advertising for both Thump and Smirnoff.

2. National Geographic + Tourism New Zealand

Prepare for wanderlust inspired by this branded content partnership between National Geographic and Tourism New Zealand.

This content partnership brings together locals, travel experts, and dining aficionados to create some truly wanderlust-worthy material that drives people to book trips to the beautiful country.

Check out the dynamic video series and blogs for an example of what you should be doing with your branded content.

3. Fatherly + Airbnb

Fatherly is a lifestyle site designed to offer parenting, life and gear advice to the fathers of the world.

Recently, the brand teamed up with Airbnb to create a series of moving, branded images dedicated to showcasing exactly how staying in a rented home can transform even a quick weekend getaway into an unforgettable experience.

4. Men’s Health + Fitbit

Imagine a branded content partnership that takes a writer and requests, nicely, that he master three extreme sports in five days. The catch? He’s got to track his heart rate and steps with a Fitbit.

That’s exactly what Men’s Health pulled off in their recent partnership with Fitbit. A full-print article that provides pictures and some video of writer Clint Carter trying to master the feat of walking across a 60-foot high line is a great example of how branded content can intersect with lifestyle content to create something truly unique and compelling.

5. The Dodo + Samsung

What’s one of the best ways to make your branded content go viral? Easy – add a cute animal in florals.

That’s exactly what The Dodo did in their recent partnership with Samsung.

Photographer Sophie Gamand partnered with Samsung to create a video (which has since earned more than 12 million views on Facebook) to showcase her project “Flower Power.”

The project, which Gamand takes Pitbulls in animal shelters throughout the U.S., dresses them up in florals, and photographs them, was created using Samsung devices, and it pulls some serious heartstrings.

The great thing about this video, specifically, is that it never pushes Samsung devices. Instead, it just makes the viewer feel good and extends that positive sentiment to Samsung’s lineup.

Tips on Using Branded Content

If you’ve been developing a content strategy for your brand, branded content should have a prominent place.

Not only is it one of the hottest trends in the entire content marketing landscape, but it’s also a great way to create real engagement and meaning for your customers. If you’re considering diving into branded content, here are a few tips to keep it going as well as possible:

  1. Keep it on-Brand. While this may seem obvious, staying on-brand is essential in your pursuit of branded content. Stand firmly in your brand’s “native genius” and use that vision to drive your content.
  2. Showcase the Benefits. Consider that Samsung partnership. While the brand never provides readers with a list of all the Samsung phone’s unique features, it does showcase exactly what the phone can do and how high-quality it is as a unit. By showing the audience what your company can do for them through your branded content, you can achieve the same effect.
  3. Offer an Experience. Branded content should offer an experience. That’s something each piece on this list does beautifully, and it’s something you need to exemplify in your content.

While it’s a notoriously under-utilized form of content, branded material can help you grow your brand and create authentic engagement with your customers. With that in mind, use it right, use it often, and make it as creative as possible to earn the views your brand deserves.

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