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Commercials. Banner ads. Flyers. Buy this. Buy that.

Makes you feel kind of ill, yeah?

You’re not alone. Around the world, companies and agencies of all sizes, structures and philosophies are embracing the knowledge that traditional advertising just doesn’t cut it anymore. Flash-in-the-pan messaging is not only ineffective; it can also verge on being downright annoying thus deterring loads of potential clients.

Even more important is this oldie-but-a-goodie fact that millennials (i.e. anyone born around or after 1982) just don’t respond to adds that often.

So, what’s the fix?

Cue branded video content.

Ah, what?

Branded video content. It’s content that brings about awareness and adds value for customers via a subtle, integrated alignment with brand values, goals and aims. It refrains from the delivery of overtly commercial messages to a mass audience (e.g. via television ads, outdoor billboards and print media).

Importantly, branded content has the capacity to appeal to consumers’ emotions and drive real engagement via incorporation of approaches that seek to enlighten and create conversation.

Okay. Show me.

Sure. Here’s a classic, ever-relevant example:

A masterclass in engaging and highly emotional content, beauty brand Dove has created a video in which women are asked to describe themselves to a FBI sketch artist who, in turn, completes a portrait of each. Next, a stranger describes each woman and the artist draws a second sketch. When complete, the artist places the two portraits side-by-side and the subjects re-enter the room to discover the completed works. Inevitably, we find that each portrait is vastly different to its neighbour.

The takeaway message? Well, perhaps something like beauty’s being in the eye of the beholder, as well as the importance of being grateful for one’s ‘natural beauty... [which] impacts the choices and friends we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children... it impacts everything’.

This video was, and remains, incredibly powerful. In its first month of being, the video generated more than 114 million views making it the most viral example of digital content ever produced. It was also shared over 3.5 million times making it the third-most shared video in the history of the internet. Pretty immense, huh?

How does that happen?

Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches video is a hole-in-one case study for branded content. You can find other examples here (Dollar Shave Club), here (a music video by band, OK Go, riding around on Honda’s UNI-CUB self balancing unicycles), and here (Procter & Gamble).

But why are they so effective? Four reasons:

1. They’re creative (see: unexpected)

In the case of Dollar Shave Club, who expects an ad-cum-comedy sketch in promoting the sale of razors? Who would’ve thought that Honda would get so much publicity via the presence of their products in the OK Go music video?

This content works because it’s bright, sparky, and unapologetically inventive. It does, to be blunt, make traditional advertising look like a right old joke.

2. They’re emotional

Especially in the case of Dove’s Real Beauty sketches, these examples of branded content appeal directly to people’s emotions and personalities. The narrative and concept of the Dove video is quite gripping and emotional, that’s for sure, but a big part of the overall impact of this piece is also the music bed that’s used.

Watch the Dove video again. What meaning does the music add to the video? Think about how you can maximise impact by adding amazing music to your own branded content.

3. They’re shareable

Each video has one clear area of appeal: it’s either emotional, funny, topical/political, or wickedly creative. Either way, the videos appeal to certain aspects of people’s identities, identities that can either be strengthened or expressed by sharing the videos – the branded content – on individuals’ social media platforms. That is, when an individual recognises content that aligns with their personal identity, it is to their advantage to express that publicly.

Put simply, good branded content can act as an expression of both the brand and consumer’s identity, highlighting the crossovers in both. Importantly, great branded content mean consumers will end up doing some of the legwork for you.

Smart, huh?

4. They’re aligned with brand values

One need only take a quick glance at Dove’s Vision Statement to see how beautifully the Real Beauty Sketches video aligns with its brand values and expectations. Take one look at Dollar Shave Club’s website and you’ll see it has frank, deadpan comedic approach written all over it.

In a nutshell, great branded content showcases overt links to brand values, goals and aims. The more aligned the content, the more effective it will be in building your brand: simple as that.

So... got video branded content-related questions? We’ve got answers. Drop us a line to discover how we can help support you to deliver top-shelf branded content for your company.