Historically, the marketing industry has remained divided by sectors. With each sector split into different agencies, which in turn have their own divisions, which again are split by expertise. However, we are now seeing the rise of an integrated model, one which maximizes full potential by bringing a variety of skills under one roof and having specialists work directly together. This has contributed to a new category of work: branded content.
In branded content, entertainment meets marketing. A video is produced to promote a product whilst delivering a message not specifically about that promotion. The rise of branded content is one the most exciting breakthroughs we’ve seen as a result of integration, bringing together specialisms found across the industry.
As people’s attention spans shorten year on year, and we take the attitude of ‘I like what I like’, branded content needs to engage its audience in innovative, creative ways. Recently, a popular electronics brand helped a footballer say goodbye to his old fans and hello to his new, in a video produced following his transfer. This is an electronics brand breaking sporting news, whilst previously this would have seemed out of place, thanks to branded content it remains relevant and the brand continues to receive high engagement rates.
Brands are starting to break news of game releases, films and highly-sought products. Their content is seeded on social media along with on-demand web video services. This includes interviews, music videos, documentaries, short films and many other types of content that aren’t directly about the brand (although product placement or a smart logo in the corner of the screen may give it away).
Alongside this, the rise of social media and piracy means the traditional news and entertainment industry’s direct funding from the consumer is in decline (see the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report for findings). The need for these traditional outlets to seek out new income is continually increasing, meaning their need to work with brands is amplified.
All of this adds up to a new way of using news. Brands can now break news and create conversations without being the central talking point themselves. Instead, their channels become a forum for opinion and conversation, giving their engagement rates the potential to rise significantly.