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How to Create Branded Content to Boost Awareness of Your eCommerce Brand

How to Create Branded Content to Boost Awareness of Your eCommerce Brand

Branded content is an undervalued marketing technique. But it’s so powerful that it can build brand awareness for your brand. Ultimately, it can make your customers identify with you as a company and help you create deeper connections with them.

Don’t worry. You don’t necessarily need big teams and budgets to create branded content. At the heart of this type of content lies storytelling and creating immersive experiences. Even with just a few resources, with creativity and a strong understanding of your audience, compelling branded content creation is possible.

This comprehensive guide will delve into how you can create branded content to boost brand awareness.

What Is Meant by Branded Content?

Branded content is created in partnership with an advertiser, a social media influencer, or any other publisher to showcase your brand in a new, unexpected way. It aims to convey the company's values and ideas in a subtle yet convincing manner.

Unlike commercials and ads that attempt to directly sell a product, branded content is meant to create positive associations with the brand. So, even if sometimes a company’s products are displayed in branded content, these don’t typically take center stage and aren’t rammed down the viewer’s throat. They are instead shown in a more subtle manner and take a backseat to the branded content’s primary message.

It’s also important to note that branded content is not product placement often seen in traditional advertising. In a traditional advertising campaign, a brand simply pays the publisher to include their product in existing content. Product placement doesn't use storytelling around the product or the brand, an important component of branded content campaigns. It is this storytelling component that ensures increased audience engagement. That’s why businesses posting excellent branded content on their social platforms can increase their Facebook followers and boost IG likes in an instant.

Here are other key characteristics of branded content:

  • It appeals to emotions
  • It provides value to the user

A great example of branded entertainment is the Barbie Movie. Mattel collaborated with Warner Bros. to make a movie that showcases the brand's values.

barbie branding

Apple also uses branded content as part of its marketing strategy. The company created its own entertainment streaming platform to produce and distribute movies and TV shows that showcase its products subtly. Most electronic devices in Apple TV shows, such as The Morning Show, are their products.

For any type of business, branded content is important. It can help them establish a unique brand identity, which is vital in a competitive industry. Through storytelling and creative expression, brands can create a memorable and distinctive presence in the minds of consumers.

Why Brand Awareness Matters

Because of its unique characteristics that ensure engagement, branded content can help boost brand awareness. But why bother with brand awareness in the first place?

Brand awareness ensures your brand's recognition and visibility in the marketplace. A staggering 46% of consumers tend to choose the brands that come to mind when they need a product or service.

What’s more, brand awareness helps a brand build trust. Consumers often associate familiar brands with reliability and credibility. As a result, it’s easier for a brand to edge out its competitors.

Brands people have an increased awareness of are, ultimately, more likely to receive repeat business. The familiarity and positive experiences of a well-known brand contribute to customer loyalty. These loyal customers become willing to try out new products offered by the same brand. At the same time, they become brand advocates, and spread positive word-of-mouth for the company.

With this organic promotion, you can further boost your brand's reach and influence. Furthermore, if you leverage the services of a retail or SaaS SEO agency, you can also enhance your branded content’s search engine rankings, resulting in even more exposure for your brand.

brand awareness

Ultimately, building and maintaining brand awareness should be a priority for businesses aiming to establish a lasting and positive impact in the minds of their target audience.

6 Tips to Create Winning Branded Content

We now know branded content can be invaluable in boosting awareness of your brand. Let's look at six tips to follow to ensure a foolproof branded content strategy and winning campaigns.

Research your target audience

The first step in branded content creation is researching your target audience. By conducting this thorough research, you will be able to uncover valuable insights that will allow you to design a campaign that resonates.

What information about your audience do you need to know exactly?

As you conduct your audience research, take note of the following:

  • Audience pain points
  • Target audience demographics such as age range, expertise, location, job title, hobbies
  • Audience psychographics such as interests, hobbies, values, beliefs, attitudes, lifestyle choices
  • Purchasing behaviors

You’ll also want to know where your customers spend the most time online. This is vital because it will determine where you should disseminate your branded content and marketing messages.

You can use online analytics tools to help you uncover these valuable insights. Platforms that can prove useful include:

  1. Google Trends
  2. Answer The Public
  3. BuzzSumo
  4. BrandMentions

You can also conduct surveys and interviews, or use social media to engage people and gather feedback.

Once you have all your data, create an audience persona. An audience persona is a fictional representation of your ideal audience. It looks something like this:

audience persona

Use this to guide your branded content creation.

Determine the message your brand wants to say

Every piece of branded content you create should naturally communicate a key message to your audience.

This message will depend on your goal for the branded content campaign in the first place. Do you want to establish a deeper emotional connection? Or maybe you want to showcase your values? Perhaps your goal is to correct brand misconceptions.

Assume your goal is to correct the misconception that your brand is only for millennials. Then your branded content’s core message could be something like this: “Our brand is for everyone, so you should try us out.”

Birkenstock's "Ugly for a Reason" campaign is a great example to mention here. The company wanted to correct misconceptions that its products were made to look “ugly” just because.

So, Birkenstock partnered with The New York Times and created a three-part documentary. The documentary sought to explain that there’s a reason related to functionality behind its products’ appearance.

Birkenstock

Once you determine what your branded content’s core message is, it’s easy to determine what the actual content format and content should be.

In Birkenstock’s case, for instance, it decided a journalistic investigation into foot and foot health would be the best content format to get its message across. The documentary included interactive graphics, insights from subject-matter experts and esteemed scientists, and real-life narratives from customers who experienced the comfort and satisfaction of wearing Birkenstocks.

If you think about it, the documentary format and content made sense in this case. It’s pretty hard to break people’s perceptions and stereotypes. You need a format and material that’s perceived as credible to effectively break misconceptions.

Create content that directly addresses people

Crafting content directly addressing your audience is key to building a strong connection. When you create content that directly speaks to them, you can expect them to consume it in the first place. That’s key to them understanding your core message.

How do you make branded content that speaks to your target audience? Just make it relatable. Check your audience persona, and see what your target viewers’ preferences and interests are. Then create content that aligns with those.

Dove is an expert here. Its target audience are empowered women who shun traditional stereotypes. So Dove’s branded content pieces revolve around shattering beauty stereotypes as well. Check out its #showus campaign, which compiles stories from women around the world who feel different but are proud of it:

dove human ad ecommerce branding

Dove campaigns also involve real women literally speaking directly to viewers, making the content even more relatable.

You can repost your branded content on your other marketing platforms. This can help you reach an even wider audience for more engagement.

Collaborate with the right people

You could create your branded content on your own. But in most instances, you’ll need someone to partner with. That someone can be another brand that’s an expert in creating that type of branded content you’re eyeing (Birkenstock, for instance, partnered with the New York Times, which is an expert in creating documentaries) or the people you’ll film for your content (the women around the world for Dove’s #showus campaign).

When choosing the people to collaborate with, you need to check:

  • your branded content message
  • audience persona

Then ask yourself these questions: Who is the best person/people to communicate your branded content message given your target audience? Will it be regular customers or company CEOs? Who is the best person/organization to create this content? Will it be you or will you outsource it to a marketing or advertising agency? Or maybe you’ll partner with an influencer your target audience relates to?

Once you have an idea of the people or brands you’ll collaborate with to create your branded content, it’s time to reach out to them.

In most cases, you’ll find their contact details online. But if you don’t, you can just use an email finder to get their contact details and send your pitch. You can also use social media to reach out instead. Whatever channel you decide to use, just make sure you highlight the benefits these potential partners will get from collaborating with you (for instance, added exposure, monetary incentives, etc..).

By partnering with the right people, you don’t just ensure effective branded content that gets your core message across. You also ensure audience engagement and new growth opportunities.

Use storytelling

At the heart of effective branded content lies compelling storytelling. Authentic storytelling can help you create a bond that goes beyond transactional relationships. Storytelling helps in creating an engaging and memorable experience for the audience.

But how do you incorporate storytelling into your branded content? Just develop narratives that evoke emotions. For this, you can:

  • Share your brand's journey
  • Highlight individual stories, how they started out before they reached success

Nike does a good job of incorporating storytelling into its branded content. Nike's campaigns typically revolve around individual stories of hope. Instead of overtly promoting products, Nike educates and inspires with the content by highlighting an individual’s challenges and showing how they rose to the occasion. Check out this campaign featuring Serena Williams:

Nike legacy

The clip tells the story of how Serena started out as an athlete and managed to “change everything” just by staying true to herself throughout her journey. In essence, the shoe company tells the compelling story of a real heroine who managed to beat the odds because she practices that important Nike trait.

Create value content that resolves problems

Offering high-value content that resolves issues can help you establish your brand as a trusted authority.

You can make your branded content give this type of value, too.

Ikea's campaign "Ikea Home Tour" program is a great example of this type of branded content.  It's a three- to five-minute show where five Ikea retail employees travel across the country, to redecorate homes and showcase the results in short videos online.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oqap_wWUzk

With this type of branded content, you don’t just get to establish yourself as a go-to resource. You also engage your audience and foster trust and loyalty in just the same way as the other forms of branded content.

Conclusion

By understanding your audience, aligning your brand values with their interests, and using subtle messaging to engage without overtly selling, you can create powerful content that resonates with your target market and drives engagement. This is branded content.

But you need to follow tips to create effective branded content in the first place. Research your target audience and determine the message you want to tell them. Create content that directly speaks to them, resolves problems, and incorporates storytelling. Also, collaborate with the right people.

Now take your cue from brands like Nike and Birkenstock, and embrace the power of branded content. With compelling pieces, you can nurture lasting consumer relationships that drive success and elevate your marketing efforts.

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