What is Branded Content? Examples from Successful Campaigns (2022)

Branded content is a powerful marketing technique that can elicit emotions in its consumers, build trust between consumer and brand, and increase brand revenue. If done well, it can be extremely effective, but it often receives a negative connotation as skeptics wonder if the hyper-dramatized content often associated with it, is working only for the better of the brand. But is that always the case? What is branded content and can it do for both the brand and consumer?
We’ll define the technique, what it’s not, and get into some of the best examples from the last few years. And then you can determine if they’re the types of campaigns you’d like to run for your next project.

What is Branded Content?

What's branded content and why does it work so well?

Marketing techniques and advertising practices change constantly, and in this new landscape, most people have a very low tolerance for anything that sounds even close to a sales pitch. Branded content does something a bit different. So, what is it anyway?

Branded Content Definition

What is branded content?

Branded content is content that is linked to a brand that allows consumers to make a connection with that brand. It is a marketing technique that does not involve traditional advertising. Its purpose is to drive engagement through content and often exists in mediums such as videos, podcasts, articles, and even live events. Branded content does not focus on the actual product as it does the quality of the brand itself.

The content usually tells a story, evokes an emotional response, is entertaining, or is making a social statement. Branded content is less focused on sale conversion and more interested in creating conversation around the brand. It is not a sales pitch nor is it an invasive form of marketing. Because branded content appears more consumer focused, trust can be built between the consumer and the brand, becoming a very effective marketing technique.

What can branded content marketing do?

  • Engages through emotion or entertainment
  • Implements storytelling
  • Makes a social statement
  • Uses multiple mediums (including live events)
  • Highlights brand’s values, building consumer trust

Design and Art Direction, or D& AD, is a British educational charity that celebrates global creatives in the design and advertising communities. Below is a preview of some of the best branded content campaigns in the world, and why they’re so impactful.

Caption goes here...

Emotionally Charged Storytelling

Branded content avoids side-by-side competitor comparison, instead it tells emotionally driven stories to engage with consumers. These stories often lead to the next aspect.

Makes a Social Statement

In this political climate, brands have found incredible success in connecting with people’s primal needs and values. This is also where branded content gets a bad wrap. Is it just pretending to care?

While insincerity is an obvious possibility, many brands do try and make a statement about topics they actually believe in. When the content is in video format, this is especially impactful because it allows for more visible inclusion and diversity, at a level we have never seen in mainstream marketing. It also doesn’t hurt that 61% of millennials feel a personal responsibility to make the world better, and so they’re much more likely to shop with a brand that shares their values. You’ll see some examples in the next section.

Uses Multiple Mediums

Branded content can take many forms from videos, podcasts, video games, events, and even interactive mediums like virtual reality. It’s easily accessible and can be quickly spread through social media.

Use Live Events

Any company, no matter what size or status can achieve success using branded content for their events. Interviews, footage, speeches, or any other content gathered from live events can be used on your own company’s site as a form of branded content. This works as advertising for you but it also may get you more attention and attendees to your next event.

Builds Consumer Trust

One way to build trust with consumers is to humanize yourself. How? Show real people engaging with your brand. 89% of millennials say they trust testimonials from real people more than the brands themselves.

As mentioned, if the user of the brand gives their two cents, this is likely to build trust if many professionals appear to be embracing the brand. Co-creating is common with branded content. And as we can see, it doesn’t always have to be big names partnering with other big names, (though that happens very often).

Also, because branded content is more emotional and less sales pitchy, that alone builds consumer trust.

If all, or most, of the above mentioned are checked off, branded content can be very effective.

Let’s take a look at some of the most powerful branded content from the last few years. What are they implementing to engage their consumers?

(Video) What Is Branded Content + Examples

Branded Content Examples

Successful branded content campaigns

The content that works best is the content that hits on all points - it tells an emotional, meaningful story that has lasting impact.

Below are some of the best examples of branded content that have come out over the last several years. As you’ll see the medium of the content will vary, but it’s the impact it has on the viewer that seems fairly consistent. And that consistency is of a compelling variety that makes this content some of the best branded content to date.

Getting Real with Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign

I’m going to start with a fairly popular branded content example - The Dove Real Beauty campaign that started in 2004. The entire campaign centered around the idea that “beauty was for everyone” after Dove researched a kind of disturbing statistics that only 4% of women consider themselves “beautiful.” Wanting this sad stat to change, and to make a difference in women’s lives, they managed to use it to their advantage making for an incredibly lucrative campaign. Their sales increased from 2.5 to 4 billion in just three years.

But I want to highlight one video from the campaign, in particular. It comes from 2013, and it really stuck out to me.

The video included an FBI sketch artist who asked several women to describe themselves, physically. He listened to each woman and drew them based on their descriptions. The FBI sketch artist then listened to how a stranger described that same woman. The difference between the drawings were often astounding. The video went viral and hit about 50 million views in under two weeks. Now, it’s up to about 180 million views. You can watch it below.

(Video) Best Branded Content Campaigns in the World 2018

Dove 2013 Real Beauty Sketches

I have a connection to this first one for many reasons, but also because I really remember it. That may seem funny but I really remember it.

The amount of ads and other content I consume in a given day makes this a little rare.

Emotional Storytelling, The New York Times & VR

The New York Times is very active in branded content campaigns. In fact, in November 2015, they became a front runner in implementing the technique. They created a virtual reality application for its users, giving them access to an incredibly cinematic VR story called, The Displaced. The chilling story about refugees highlighted the pains of millions of families and children across war-ridden regions, and was a piece of genuine art and social commentary within a branded content campaign. You can watch The Displaced below.

Virtual reality story: The Displaced

Social Awareness, Netflix and The New York Times

During the first year of Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black, Netflix wrote an article about women inmates in the United States prison system, and the challenges they experience while being incarcerated. While this article touched upon the show, it didn’t focus on it.

Instead, the article was a way to garner interest in the topic amongst the 1 million Times’ readers who saw it, effectively bringing more viewers to the show.

Marvel: Co-Creating for Entertainment

Another branded content campaign comes from the collaboration of several, very unrelated, companies. Marvel, the ride sharing company, Lyft, as well as Hulu, partnered up to create the Marvel Runaway Series. This may seem like an odd partnership but sometimes the market demands a bit more than a quick one-off collaboration.

All three helped to create engaging, entertaining content, while increasing all three of their revenues. Watch the Season 2 trailer below.

(Video) BRANDED CONTENT Brand Storytelling Strategies That Work Effectively

Even an original series can be branded content

Rethinking the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Branded content isn’t always successful because it’s emotionally driven. Victoria’s Secret, the infamous American lingerie company, has a continual branded content campaign that has taken on a life of its own. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is a gala of the garments - it’s a highly anticipated annual event showcasing outrageous attire that is hardly product placement. While the models wear the lingerie, the event has become such a pop culture staple, it is much more than traditional advertising, and stays one of the best examples of live event branded content to date.

Some branded content can become iconic

However, this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has been cancelled. Why? Well, there are a lot of rumors flying around, but it all comes back to branding. This is a great example of how to use branded content when consumer’s values are no longer in line with your content. Do you stop the show all together? Try and reframe it, or simply just take it off cable television and make people subscribe for it.

If consumer's values change, branding follows suit

This last spring, (May 2019), the Times reported that the show would no longer air on television. CEO, Les Wexner told CNBC that the company was “rethinking” the show in favor of a “new kind of event.” I guess we’ll soon see what that looks like.

(Video) Branded Entertainment | Case Study

Early Campaign Considerations

Using branded content

If you’re even a little inspired to start a branded content campaign, here are some quick tips to get you started.

Goal Set

I know it sounds mundane and “you’ve heard it before,” but make your goals as clear as possible by asking yourself the right questions. What is the purpose of this campaign, what is the objective? What are you trying to solve? Or simply, what message are you trying to send? Do you have ROI goals, some number you’d like to hit? Throw that all in the brainstorming stage.

Developing a Story or Concept

Every campaign is different, and you’ll likely be working with many other heads to get this done. But again, hopefully everyone in the room is asking themselves and each other, what kind of story do they want to tell, who is the audience, what are the brand’s values, and why does this matter? This step will take time and is incredibly specific to whatever the campaign is.

There are tools that make this process easier, especially when it comes to collaboration and goal setting. If you use StudioBinder’s production calendar and workflow tool, you can manage any campaign, all in one program, and assign tasks as needed.

What is Branded Content? Examples from Successful Campaigns (1)

View production calendar

You can try this powerful project management software to keep your tasks, documents, conversations, and collaborations in one place. As straightforward as it is simple, you'll never have to dig through fragmented emails, files, and notes.

Branded Content Marketing Association

Get some extra help from the BCMA

The Branded Content Marketing Association is an incredible resource for learning more about branded content. The BMCA is an organization run by advertising pros. The organization hosts workshops, events, and gives us great insight into industry professionals.

What may be most helpful to you, is the service they provide called the Content Monitor. This is an online tool that determines better ways to run your campaign. It also gives case studies on branded content.

Here are some of the features:

Helps determine your return on investment (ROI) by researching how your campaign is performing against key brand metrics.

It lets you know which parts of your campaign are the strongest, and it shows you different tactics for optimizing your ROI.

If you’re new to this, don’t let the competition scare you. Branded content can be a powerful tool, and anyone with a value for people and perspective can create an effective campaign.

Related Posts

  • The Most Inspiring Ads to Learn From →
  • How to Make Facebook Ads That Work →
  • The Ultimate Guide to Production Calendars →

Up Next

Kickstart Your Social Media Ads

Just because branded content is often more effective than generic ads, there are ways to make those ads, well, less generic. If you want to expand your business, no matter the size, social media is probably already your go-to. If it’s not, it probably should be. The next post provides some insight into how to jump start your advertising across multiple key platforms.

(Video) 8 Examples of Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Up Next: Kickstart Social Media Ads →

FAQs

What is an example of a brand campaign? ›

These are often multi-million dollar endeavors, and have brought us such memorable advertising campaigns as: “Just Do It” – Nike. “The Most Interesting Man in the World” – Dos Equis. “Where's the Beef?” – Wendy's.

What is branded content in advertising? ›

Branded content is the practice of marketing via the creation of content that is funded or outright produced by an advertiser… (it is) designed to build awareness by associating (the brand) with content that shares its values.

What is a good example of content marketing? ›

Content marketing examples include media like newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, and videos. All of these forms of content are meant to provide useful and relevant information that delights users and attracts them to your brand.

What is TikTok branded content? ›

Branded content on TikTok (“Branded Content”) is content that promotes goods or services where you will receive (or have already received) something of value from a third party, such as a brand, in exchange for your post, or which you might otherwise need to disclose to comply with laws or regulations.

What is Facebook branded content? ›

On Facebook, we define branded content as any post—including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos and Live videos—from media companies, celebrities or other influencers that features a third party product, brand or sponsor.

What was the Nike Just Do It campaign? ›

The campaign embodied Nike's image as an innovative American icon associated with success through the combination of professional athletes and motivational slogans emphasizing sportsmanship and health. This led to customers associating their purchases with the prospect of achieving greatness.

What makes a successful brand campaign? ›

Effective brands are easily recognizable by consumers and rely on a cohesive message across marketing efforts. On the other hand, a campaign refers to a marketing initiative that aims to promote a service or product. Campaigns typically cater to a more targeted audience and are usually timely and short-term.

What is a successful marketing campaign? ›

A good marketing campaign will appeal to a large customer base and make those customers interested and excited about that campaign. Whether you want to market a service or a product, you need to know how to make your campaign really pop.

What are the key elements of a branded content campaign? ›

A history of award-winning videos. Experience in the conception and promotion of branded content. Ability to pinpoint the essential attributes of the company and its audience. Identifying the target audience and how to approach product placement.

How do you define brand content? ›

Branded Content Definition

Branded content is content that is linked to a brand that allows consumers to make a connection with that brand. It is a marketing technique that does not involve traditional advertising.

What is branded content on social media? ›

Branded content is a type of social media partnership where a creator or publisher produces an Instagram or Facebook post and shares it to their profile in exchange for products or payment from a business.

What is an example of an content? ›

Some examples of content include blogs, emailers, newsletters, social media posts, case studies, and more. 2. Is content writing easy? Apart from the necessary skills, motivation and passion are crucial to write content that compels audiences to take action.

What are 5 examples of marketing? ›

29 Examples of Marketing
  • Branding. Developing a valuable identity that customers can recognize in a crowded market.
  • Advertising. Paying to reach your target audience with a message.
  • Direct Marketing. ...
  • Alliance Marketing. ...
  • In-Store Marketing. ...
  • Showrooms. ...
  • Customary Pricing. ...
  • Flat Pricing.
30 Jan 2018

What are examples of content creation? ›

Content creators are everywhere! They are the people who create videos on YouTube, write blogs, make viral TikToks, and share a glimpse into their daily lives. These content creators know how to build a personal brand online and share it with the world.

What is branded content on Instagram? ›

Branded content is content for which the creator has been compensated, either with money or something else of value, by a business partner. Creators must tag the relevant brand or business partner when posting branded content, whether posting from a creator, business or personal account.

What is branded video content? ›

Branded video is marketing content that's sponsored or created by a brand that — while sharing in the brand's values — does not directly advertise or promote the brand. It aims to monetize on positive association, rather than self-promotion.

What is TikTok branded mission? ›

Branded Mission is TikTok's new advertising solution, and the idea is pretty simple: Branded Mission enables brands to select their advertising requirements, and then creators can submit original videos that meet those requirements.

How do you create branded content? ›

How to create branded content
  1. Understand the role of branded content. It should educate and inform, rather than promote your brand in a blatant way. ...
  2. Listen to your audience. ...
  3. Be true to your brand's voice. ...
  4. Be strategic. ...
  5. Be focused. ...
  6. Monitor feedback and respond. ...
  7. Be timely and timeless. ...
  8. Make someone accountable.

What is the difference between branded content and content marketing? ›

Content marketing is made for an audience, whereas branded content puts the business itself in the spotlight. Branded content uses immersive storytelling to generate an emotional reaction from the audience.

What are branded content tools? ›

Instagram branded content tools allow you to manage and track your paid partnerships directly within the app.

What is the Adidas slogan? ›

Impossible is Nothing” is the concept behind Adidas' brand positioning “forever sport” that clearly and emotionally communicates our passion for sport. He added, “As an athlete you always strive to go further, break new ground, and surpass your limits.

Why is Mcdonalds slogan I'm lovin it a good slogan? ›

The appeal of “i'm lovin' it” spoke to the simple pleasures of everyday living in which McDonald's had a role to play. It reminded everyone that McDonald's was part of their lives and their culture and that McDonald's overall experience was one of warmth and a real slice of everyday life.

What is the tagline of Apple? ›

15. Apple: "Think Different."

How do you know if a marketing campaign is successful? ›

Here is a list of 21 KPIs that can help you measure the success of any campaign, no matter the type, medium or channel you use:
  1. Return on investment (ROI) ...
  2. Cost per win. ...
  3. Cost per lead. ...
  4. Cost per conversion. ...
  5. Customer lifetime value. ...
  6. Cost per acquisition. ...
  7. Conversion rate. ...
  8. Website traffic.

What is content marketing campaign? ›

Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it's time to buy what you sell.

What are the 5 common components of a marketing campaign? ›

I've explained the steps to creating a marketing plan.
...
5 Components of a Successful Marketing Plan
  • Market Focus. ...
  • Product Focus. ...
  • Concrete, Measurable Specifics. ...
  • Responsibility and Accountability. ...
  • Reviews and Revisions.
26 Oct 2021

How do you run a successful campaign? ›

6 Simple Steps for Successful Campaign Planning & Examples
  1. Define the Victory. It's important that everyone agrees on the core goal or goals of your campaign. ...
  2. Evaluate the Campaign Climate. ...
  3. Chart the Course. ...
  4. Choose Your Influence Strategy. ...
  5. Message for Impact. ...
  6. Manage Your Campaign.
27 Jan 2022

What is branded content strategy? ›

So, what is branded content marketing? Put simply, is the opposite to that of a traditional advertisement. Branded content sets out to impact the audience and spark conversation around the brand in a way that traditional advertising cannot.

What are three components of a successful marketing campaign? ›

Here are the 3 elements of a successful marketing campaign:
  • 1) The Business Objective. This fuels the others and sets the stage. ...
  • 2) The Creative. The words, imagery, and video need to support the objective, and bring the campaign to life. ...
  • 3) The Numbers.
14 Apr 2020

What types of content make up an effective digital marketing campaign? ›

The five most important elements of a digital campaign consist of mobile considerations, organic search, social media marketing, content marketing and lead nurturing. All of these elements combined make up a cohesive digital marketing strategy.

Why is branded content important? ›

Some of the advantages of branded content are: It is noninvasive: Traditional digital advertising methods, such as banners that slow down navigation, are usually being rejected by users. Branded content, on the other hand, attracts consumers naturally and makes them want to get closer to the brand.

What is branded content and how it is useful in influencer marketing? ›

On Instagram, branded content is defined as “a creator or publisher's content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value." In essence, if a brand partners with a creator or influencer to post content, the person posting the content must disclose it as a "paid partnership".

What is branded content on a website? ›

Branded content is a piece of content that has been created by or on behalf of a company in order to promote its product or service. It can take many different forms, including articles, videos, infographics, and even social media posts.

How do I promote branded content on Facebook? ›

To create a branded content ad:
  1. Go to Ads Manager and create an ad.
  2. Pick an objective that is available for branded content: ...
  3. Continue creating your ad. ...
  4. At the Ad level, click on Use Existing Post. ...
  5. Choose the branded content media that you want to boost.

How do you use branded content on Facebook? ›

How to use Facebook's Branded Content tool - YouTube

Is branded content effective? ›

After the company analyzed consumer responses to more than 100 pieces of branded content, they discovered that, yes, it is more effective in several ways: It drives higher brand recall and lift than pre-roll ads. Consumers view brands more favorably when they enjoy branded content.

What are the 3 types of content? ›

Developing a Content Approach

The best way to look at the kind of content you're using across your digital landscape, including social media and email marketing, as well as social media and your blog, is to divide it into three types. They are: Creation, Curation, and Creative Curation.

What are the 4 main categories of content marketing? ›

There are four content categories used in content creation and marketing—attraction, authority, affinity, and action. It's important to note that the four content categories are not mutually exclusive, and a single piece of content will often fit in multiple categories.

What is the most successful marketing strategy? ›

If you are looking for the overall most effective marketing strategy for small business, content marketing is the winner. Content marketing encompasses blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, webinars, and more – basically, any type of content you can distribute online falls into this category.

What kind of marketing is most successful? ›

Social media marketing is one of the most popular types of marketing strategies. And, it's also one of the most effective to build awareness and increase sales. And it's not hard to understand why when more than 2.8 billion people use social media platforms. That's approximately 37% of the world's population!

What is an example of content social media? ›

Social media content is content which is created by individuals or companies for social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. These platforms are of particular interest to companies because they allow a much more direct interaction with users than classic marketing measures.

Who is the most famous content creator? ›

PewDiePie

PewDiePie (real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg) is the number one content creator on YouTube. Despite bad publicity due to some controversial videos he published, his channel still has over 111 million subscribers.

What is branded content on social media? ›

Branded content is a type of social media partnership where a creator or publisher produces an Instagram or Facebook post and shares it to their profile in exchange for products or payment from a business.

What are branded content tools? ›

Instagram branded content tools allow you to manage and track your paid partnerships directly within the app.

Why does Instagram think my post is branded content? ›

Instagram policies “require creators and publishers to tag business partners in their branded content posts when there's an exchange of value between a creator or publisher and a business partner.” This is meant to provide transparency when influencers and creators are posting content for which they've been compensated ...

What are the key elements of a branded content campaign? ›

A history of award-winning videos. Experience in the conception and promotion of branded content. Ability to pinpoint the essential attributes of the company and its audience. Identifying the target audience and how to approach product placement.

How do you define brand content? ›

Branded Content Definition

Branded content is content that is linked to a brand that allows consumers to make a connection with that brand. It is a marketing technique that does not involve traditional advertising.

What is the difference between branded content and content marketing? ›

Content marketing is made for an audience, whereas branded content puts the business itself in the spotlight. Branded content uses immersive storytelling to generate an emotional reaction from the audience.

What is branded content strategy? ›

So, what is branded content marketing? Put simply, is the opposite to that of a traditional advertisement. Branded content sets out to impact the audience and spark conversation around the brand in a way that traditional advertising cannot.

Why is branded content important? ›

Some of the advantages of branded content are: It is noninvasive: Traditional digital advertising methods, such as banners that slow down navigation, are usually being rejected by users. Branded content, on the other hand, attracts consumers naturally and makes them want to get closer to the brand.

Is branded content effective? ›

After the company analyzed consumer responses to more than 100 pieces of branded content, they discovered that, yes, it is more effective in several ways: It drives higher brand recall and lift than pre-roll ads. Consumers view brands more favorably when they enjoy branded content.

What is branded content on a website? ›

Branded content is a piece of content that has been created by or on behalf of a company in order to promote its product or service. It can take many different forms, including articles, videos, infographics, and even social media posts.

How do I promote branded content on Facebook? ›

To create a branded content ad:
  1. Go to Ads Manager and create an ad.
  2. Pick an objective that is available for branded content: ...
  3. Continue creating your ad. ...
  4. At the Ad level, click on Use Existing Post. ...
  5. Choose the branded content media that you want to boost.

How do you use branded content on Facebook? ›

How to use Facebook's Branded Content tool - YouTube

How do you qualify for branded content on Instagram? ›

Our policies require anyone, no matter if they're on a creator, business or personal account, to tag business partners in their branded content when there's an exchange of value between a creator or publisher and a business partner.

How do you promote branded content on Instagram? ›

Enable Businesses to Boost Your Branded Content
  1. Create a post.
  2. On the screen where you write a caption, tap to toggle on Add paid partnership label.
  3. Tap Add brand partners.
  4. Search for the brand partner that you want to tag in your post and tap Add.
  5. Tap Next to allow brand partner to boost.
  6. Tap Done.

Do you get paid for branded content on Instagram? ›

What's a Sponsored Instagram Post? A sponsored post on Instagram is paid for by the poster to reach a wider audience. There are two main types of sponsorships: In one, a brand creates a post and pays Instagram for access to a custom audience.

Videos

1. Brand Storytelling.tv | Kate Santore | The Sweet Pleasures of Coca-Cola's Storytelling
(BrandStorytelling.tv)
2. 5 Social Media Campaign Examples From Big Brands You Want to Be
(They Ask, You Answer taught by IMPACT)
3. Best Marketing Campaigns of the Last Decade: 2010 - 2020 - Digital Uncovered
(Digital Uncovered)
4. What is Branded Content?
(YouTube Creators)
5. 5 Tips to Optimize Your Creator Marketing Campaigns
(Meta for Business)
6. Examples of successful branded videos. (Branded Entertainment Class - Week 3)
(Internet and Mobile Media)

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