King Content blog 'Lessons on creating branded content from ‘Dumb ways to Die’

If you’ve read my earlier post about Australia’s most shared viral video, ‘Dumb Ways to Die’, you’ll know that it was kind of a big deal. So what can we learn from a cheeky, offbeat music video that depicts a series of cute cartoon characters dying in rather horrible circumstances?

Here’s why the campaign works and how you can use these elements to create your own successful branded content.

Focus on audience first

The ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ campaign does this very well by recognising straight away that this audience wants to be entertained – not lectured about rail safety! The cute and funny approach was created with the audience front of mind and it works.

Avi Savar, Cannes Jury President for Branded Content & Entertainment, says, “Successful branded content programs have to identify the passion points of our audience and connect to their stories first.”

Think about the needs, challenges and interests of your audience and aim to satisfy these first. That way you’ll become a useful, valued and trusted advisor.

Offer something of value

Whether it be information, advice or entertainment, content works best when it offers the user something genuinely useful, valuable and relevant. ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ offers the viewer great value in the form of entertainment, humour and social currency. It has “worth beyond the marketing message”.

Become a storyteller

In today’s cross-channel, multi-screen world, it’s harder than ever for brands to connect with consumers using interruption-style marketing methods. People switch off or avoid disruptive advertising at all costs. By becoming a storyteller, rather than a seller, brands can engage with consumers and build relationships over time. Avi Savar says, “A truly successful branded content program will interconnect people stories and product stories in a very organic and natural way.”

So don’t just tell people about your products – tell them a story. Combine your brand story with their own personal stories. Allow users to engage with your organisation and tell you their stories.

Make it shareable

Ensure your content is easy to share and discuss so that it will grow and take on a life of its own. Don’t limit yourself to one platform. McCann created a downloadable song and pushed it out through iTunes and SoundCloud, launched a video on YouTube and created animated gifs for Tumblr.

Be genuine and unique

Brands who can develop their own unique voice and aren’t afraid to get involved in the conversation will excel. Be honest and real in your communication with consumers. Talk to people, not at them. We all want to engage with other humans, so bring those human qualities into your content.

Humour is both human and genuine. If you can be as real with your content as Metro Trains has been, there’s every chance you’ll earn the respect of your audience.