The more I talk about brand journalism and branded content marketing, the more examples of branded content I seem to find. It seems that more and more brands are jumping on the bandwagon and using content marketing to drive their customer engagement. Brands are becoming synonymous with publishers and the content they are producing ranges from blogs, to photos, to videos, to infographics and so on.Branded content, when done right, has a tendency to go viral, raise brand awareness, and get people excited about a company or product. Because I seem to find so many examples of this type of digital marketing, I thought it only fair that I share a few of those examples.
Here is my personal take on what I consider to be the best branded content of this week:
Red Bull – Anything related to the Stratos Project
Red Bull really leaped into history with this incredible stunt. Risking the life of one of their sponsored athletes, Felix Baumgartner, Red Bull entered new marketing territory with the Stratos Jump. If you live under a rock and haven’t heard about this, here’s the short version. Baumgartner stepped out of a balloon-borne capsule into a 128,000-foot free fall to earth. He broke 3 records and Red Bull produced an amazing event that more than 8 million people watched on a live YouTube stream (also a record). There is no doubt in my mind that other brands will be clamoring to re-create a piece of content as engaging and viral as this.
Target- Falling for You
A few weeks ago I wrote about Target’s “shoppable” video and how it has the potential to change the future of advertising. The 12-minute film called Falling For You is a superb example of a seamless integrated digital marketing strategy. While watching the videos, viewers can purchase the Target merchandise worn and used by the actors. Search, social, content – they all come together in one piece of content that is entirely made up of Target’s products and dedicated to promoting the brand’s message.
Bodyform – Facebook Rant Response
This little escapade is a great example of how you can turn just about anything into a piece of branded content. Bodyform is a UK company best known for their feminine products. On October 8th, a man named Richard Neill posted this little gem to the Bodyform Facebook page.
The snarky posting gained some serious attention from the public. Bodyform could have easily sat back and watched Neill’s post travel the realms of the Internet, but instead, they chose to respond. The video response features a fictional CEO talking directly to Neill in an equally snarky tone, and the result is actually quite hilarious. Bodyform took advantage of branded content to escape a potential PR nightmare.
Comodo Restaurant – Instagram Menu
The New York City restaurant Comodo found a unique way to take advantage of the hipster’s tendency to photograph and filter images of their food on Instagram. By using the #comodomenu tag, diners in the restaurant can upload images and search for images of the dishes on the menu. Without spending any money on software development, Comodo found a way to offer customers a virtual and visual menu experience. The best part? The digital menu is not only branded content, it’s branded content curated and published by the very audience Comodo is looking to engage. I predict that other restaurants will be quick to implement a similar strategy.
Google – Where The Internet Lives
This week, Google opened the doors to its very private data centers to allow the world to see one of the most powerful server networks in the world. In a wonderful display of transparency, Google has created some very unique branded content that allows them to engage a large audience. A number of different pieces of content have been generated to promote this including a separate website to display a photo gallery and a special Google Street View offering anyone he opportunity to tour their facility in Lenoir, NC. Whether you’re into this kind of thing or not, the photographs are really quite stunning. Google gave Wired.com the exclusive story, but I have a feeling this content will take on a life of its own as more and more people find out about the unique opportunity to see this side of the search giant.
There you have it, the best of this week’s branded content. The formats are varied and the intended audiences are different, but there is no doubt that each piece is both engaging and shareable. Branded content should be an important part of your marketing strategy, as it will help promote your brand’s message in a positive and exciting way.