Last Updated on September 2, 2020 by Sal Hakim

Creating branded content is quickly dominating the marketing landscape, but how different is it from traditional marketing? Is it worth taking this approach to marketing your brand?

Nowadays the average consumer has access to a plethora of resources at the touch of a button, which has left traditional advertising in the dust. Brands have had to beef up their creativity to engage with consumers in a whole new way. This avenue is known as branded content– while it is not a new concept, it is now just taking off. So, how is traditional advertising different than branded content?

1. Opportunity to Engage with Consumers

Branded content is seen as being more consumer-centric compared to traditional advertising. The focus is not on the product the advertisers are trying to sell, instead it’s more about providing value to the consumer.
Patagonia’s Worn Wear campaign, for example, was the epitome of this concept. In 2013, as Black Friday inched closer, Patagonia took an anti-consumerism approach. A rebel move. They launched a 27 minute video taking viewers to a remote locations like a surf-camp in Baja, Mexico to a maple syrup harvest in New Hampshire.
The video delved into the stories of tattered and discolored Patagonia clothing. It highlighted the durability and dependability of the brand’s apparel, yet the purpose of their campaign was to encourage people to bring in their weathered items in order for them to continue on their journey.
This approach was successful because Patagonia didn’t pressure consumers to buy their clothing, instead Patagonia told the story of their brand and what their items have meant to consumers. Others craved the same experience and viewers left with a higher regard for the brand.

2. It’s Searched and Shared

Advertising is in everything. When people open their email, social media and streaming accounts, they are infiltrated with advertisements. There are billboards plastered with advertisements on the daily commute to work or when you browse the web.
But, people actually search and share branded content. The impactful videos that we see are consistently sought out and craved by consumers. Ultimately, instead of ignoring or avoiding advertising, consumers willingly engage with and seek out branded content.

3. Storytelling and Creativity Driven

Instead of trying to throw a catchy slogan on a billboard, branded content masters the art of relaying a compelling story to the consumer whether that be through a video, blog, livestream, podcasts etc. Before the internet, people viewed advertisements as valuable, now studies have shown that people view traditional advertising as an interruption instead.
“It feels less intrusive because branded content is designed to look and feel like the content surrounding it.”–Stephanie Heitman, LOCALiQ
One of the most pivotal sources of branded content is video and there are so many ways brands have incorporated human interest stories in order to engage the consumer in the story and build a relationship with the consumer.
What makes branded content so different, is that people ignore advertisements and watch the content for the content.