In today’s digital age, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to connect with their target audiences. Two strategies that have gained significant traction are branded content and influencer marketing. Both have their merits, but which is more effective? Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of each strategy.
Branded content is a marketing approach where the content is created primarily for entertainment or informational purposes but is intertwined with a brand’s message, values, or products. Unlike traditional advertising, which overtly promotes a product or service, branded content subtly integrates the brand into a broader narrative, making the promotional aspect less direct and more immersive. This form of content aims to connect with the audience on a deeper level, offering them value while subtly promoting the brand.
A notable example of successful branded content is LEGO’s “The LEGO Movie.” While the film provided entertainment to a vast audience, it also served as a massive advertisement for LEGO, showcasing the versatility and creativity associated with their products without being overtly sales-driven.
Branded Content Pros
Control Over Message: Branded content allows businesses to have full control over the message, tone, and style of the content.
Longevity: Unlike influencer posts that might get buried in a feed, branded content can be evergreen, living on a brand’s website or social channels indefinitely.
Builds Brand Equity: Well-executed branded content can enhance a brand’s reputation and establish it as a thought leader in its industry.
Resonates More With Gen Z: Younger audiences are increasingly sceptical of traditional advertising and overly ‘salesy’ content; branded content can be more authentic and engaging to them.
Branded Content Cons
Can Be Costly: Producing high-quality branded content, especially videos, can sometimes be expensive.
Risk of Being Overly Promotional: If not done right, branded content can come off as too salesy, which can turn off consumers.
Influencer marketing leverages individuals with a significant and engaged following on social media or other platforms to promote a brand’s products or services. Unlike traditional celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing is more relatable because influencers often build their reputation based on authenticity, expertise, or a unique persona. They have a direct and trusted relationship with their followers, making their endorsements feel more genuine. Instead of a brand directly advertising to consumers, the influencer integrates the brand’s message or product into their content, making it feel like a personal recommendation.
A recent successful influencer marketing campaign is the collaboration between the makeup brand Anastasia Beverly Hills and beauty influencer Jackie Aina. Together, they launched an eyeshadow palette that was not only well-received by Jackie’s followers but also introduced the brand to a broader and more diverse audience, emphasising inclusivity in the beauty industry.
Influencer Marketing Pros:
Authenticity: Influencers have built trust with their followers, so their endorsements can feel more genuine than traditional advertisements.
Targeted Reach: Brands can select influencers whose audience matches their target demographic, ensuring the content reaches the right people.
Flexibility: Influencers can present a product or service in a variety of creative ways, from unboxing videos to tutorials.
Influencer Marketing Cons:
Less Control: Brands have to relinquish some control over the message and presentation when working with influencers.
Ephemeral Nature: Influencer posts can get lost in the ever-updating feed of social media platforms.
Potential for Mismatch: If a brand chooses an influencer who isn’t a good fit, it can lead to backlash or ineffective campaigns. Similarly, the brand cannot control the influencer’s future actions or statements, which means that the brand risks reputational damage if the influencer does something questionable later down the line.
Both branded content and influencer marketing offer unique advantages. Branded content allows for a controlled, consistent brand message, while influencer marketing leverages the trust and authenticity influencers have built with their audience. For businesses looking to make the most of their marketing efforts, one of the two strategies or even a combination of both might be beneficial.
For those leaning towards branded content, consider partnering with experts in the field. For example, Perspective Pictures, an East London-based video production agency, specialises in creating compelling branded content that resonates with audiences.
Remember, the best marketing strategies are those that evolve with the times and resonate authentically with the target audience. Whether you choose branded content, influencer marketing, or a mix of both, ensure your message is clear, genuine, and aligned with your brand values.