With the popularity of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, the growth of online content platforms such as YouTube and the explosion of social media sites such as TikTok — the “old school” ways of reaching consumers through TV spots sandwiched into your favorite sitcom are becoming less viable in our increasingly bite-sized attention span. Branded content might offer a breakaway win that a company needs.
Remember the 1993 debut of the Anaheim Ducks, the NHL team owned by Disney? Just one year earlier, Disney released the movie The Mighty Ducks about a down-and-out youth hockey team that sticks together through thick and thin. The movie franchise turned out three films, spun off a cartoon, and a TV series. Fiction became reality and the real-life NHL hockey team benefited from all the showbiz sizzle surrounding the movie.
It was a big win for the brand — says Mateusz Zabierowski — a partner and CEO of Admind Branding and Communications — the largest branding agency in Poland.
Not every company has deep pockets to generate branded content via Hollywood, but branded content doesn’t have to be as mighty as a movie, it can encompass all sorts of content from blog posts on company blogs to promotional videos featured on YouTube and Facebook, to a popular social media star doing a live “unboxing” on Instagram.
The main aim of these activities — says Zabierowski — is audience engagement.
One example of the increasing popularity of branded content initiatives is the Grand Video Awards that launched in Poland in 2018. A contest for video content creators, the Grand Video Awards attracted 91 video submissions in the branded content category. Internet creators such as G.F Darwin, Krzysztof Gonciarz, and Martin Stankiewicz proved that you can showcase a brand without compromising artistry or the audience. The award for Branded content in the inaugural year went to Marcin Nguyen, on behalf of the Emce kwadrat duet for the promo video 69.90 made for Netflix. In cooperation with Polish YouTubers, the video was modeled on the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror. It featured Krzysztof Gonciarz, Martin Stankiewicz, Grupa Filmowa Darwin (The Darwin Film Group) and Emce kwadrat, among others.
You’re only limited by your imagination — adds Zabierowski.
Admind is proud to represent clients all over the world including the Formula E championship series for electric cars. One of our key roles is making sure the brand is fully engaged during Formula E races. Our experts consider the unique nature of each of the races and the architecture of the circuit all over the world. We provide both the Augmented and Virtual Reality platforms as well as the VIP Hospitality zone, paying special attention to audience interaction.
This is precisely the direction that branded content will continue to develop. Sensory experiences and innovative technologies will gain in importance and the brand experience will continue to expand its possibilities thanks to 3D technology — adds Zabierowski.
According to research conducted by Pressboard, a tech company that enables brands to get their stories out there in top publications worldwide, the appeal of branded content is twenty times greater than that of traditional advertising. On average, users spend 36 seconds in each encounter compared to 1.6 seconds in the case of a standard advertisement.
Branded content is certainly not new. Its history dates back to the golden age of radio. In the 1930s, Procter and Gamble first launched a series of scripted radio programs that weaved the company’s soap products, into the dialogue of the characters. Their popularity grew and the programs eventually became known as “soap operas.”
Visual representations such as logos hearken back to a time when humans communicated via symbols. Research shows that we can remember a well-made logo in less than 0.5 seconds. A well-constructed visual communication can increase the value of a brand by 15%, regardless of other factors at play. Furthermore, a successful brand can also have a positive result in a company’s stock market ratings.
Companies based in Germany and Switzerland along with other parts of Europe are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the visual realm when it comes to brand management strategy — notes Zabierowski.
In Poland, Admind is currently working with several companies on brand transformation and brand migration of their established trademarks. This approach of incorporating branded content as part of an overall brand management strategy is gaining popularity around the world.
Whether it’s a hockey team that’s given the Hollywood star treatment or a soap product that sparks an iconic form of entertainment, branded content is a dynamic way for a company to share its unique story with the world.