"Branded content is not a format, but a new way of thinking", explains Carla González
Over the last couple of days, you have almost certainly come across, and interacted with, branded content, probably even without realizing it. You have also heard this term before and maybe wondered what it is.
So we asked Carla González (@carlagoon), a digital copywriter specializing in this type of content, to explain the origin, some examples, and the future of branded content.
What is branded content?
Branded content is the result of brands realizing that traditional advertising no longer produces the desired impact. Audiences are in control of what they see and can switch channels or, worse, platforms when something is not engaging or interesting–cough, cough, advertising. In this new reality, brands have no choice but to stop talking about their products and start talking about things that their target audiences find interesting.
What is the first known example of branded content?
Popeye. I don't know if it's the first example, but definitely one of the firsts. Spinach manufacturers in the United States took advantage of the comic strip to encourage the sale of their products.
What do brands achieve with branded content?
A lot of things! They get people to pay attention to their messages and stand out in a world filled with distractions and 2x1 promotions. Besides, they create meaningful ties with the audience. They can even become a "love brand" (which is one of the best things that can happen to a company) and, also, be as memorable as Popeye.
What forms can branded content take?
I like to think that branded content is all the content that interests your audience and can be associated with your product or company: songs, movies, games, documentaries, books... I think it's not so much the form but the intention.
What is your favorite example of branded content?
I don't know if it is considered branded content, but for me, a very "WTF" example is the video game that Burger King created for XBOX, Sneak King. People even paid to get it!
Who can make branded content?
Any brand capable of understanding its audience can make branded content. The big obstacle is that, for years, brands have thought more about the product than about the people they wanted to reach. Any brand that figures how to flip this mentality can do it.
By focusing more on content than on product, branded content puts all companies on the same level. If you can tell a story that your audience finds relevant, it doesn't matter if you are Volkswagen or John Doe's Automotive Parts.
It's already here, but it seems that branded content is also the future. Where do you think it is heading?
Oh, no idea. I wonder about that every day. Nothing is eternal, and I think the best thing branded content will give us is that we will start to understand advertising on a different level. For me, branded content is not a format but a way of thinking.
The world moves too fast, and, from my point of view, we have to stop assigning labels and planning everything.