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Brand Content: Understanding the Essence of Branding
A brand content strategy aims to create content directly related to a brand, with the objective of enhancing its value.
Understanding brand content and its significance
What is brand content?
Brand content refers to a marketing strategy that involves generating and disseminating content that showcases a company or brand, with the purpose of engaging prospects and customers. Unlike content marketing, which is often confused with brand content, it explicitly highlights various aspects of the brand: its story, values, key messages, news, and evoked emotions, among others.
This approach relies on branding, which encompasses all elements that enable the public to identify and remember a brand (name, logo, slogan, visual identity, etc.). Additionally, it involves producing diverse content, all with the same goal: establishing a trusted relationship with prospects and customers. Ultimately, the aim is to turn the brand into its own media platform.
Why is the concept of a “brand” essential?
Brand content is based on a simple idea: once a brand is clearly recognised by the public, it can become its own selling point. Numerous examples exist of brands that are so recognisable that they no longer need to capture consumers’ attention. For instance, people “buy” Apple, Nike, or Starbucks. This recognition is made possible by a strong “brand image” that facilitates commercial success. When a company’s conveyed image becomes its primary mode of communication, the ultimate goal of brand marketing (of which brand content is a lever) is achieved. In some cases, the brand image even manages to detach itself completely from the associated products or services!
Brand content vs content marketing
- A brand-centric approach
- Focused on selling the brand, conveying values, and creating a sense of belonging
- Emphasises storytelling
- Short-term campaigns
- Content directly related to the brand
- Interactive, editorial, or corporate content (such as images, videos, infographics, case studies, press releases, etc.)
- Aims to build brand awareness, increase visibility, and drive sales
- Aims to create brand loyalty and build a community
- Broad targeting
- The brand is clearly identifiable as the content sender
- A customer-centric approach
- Focused on selling a product or service and its benefits to the end consumer
- Storytelling may be absent or secondary
- Long-term strategy
- Provides useful and relevant content unrelated to the brand
- Objective and informative content (such as articles, white papers, webinars, etc.)
- Aims to generate leads, conversions, and sales
- Aims to encourage action, such as subscription or purchase
- Precise targeting
- The content sender may be discreet or even initially invisible
of consumersmake purchases based solely on the brand name.
of purchase decisionsare influenced by the subconscious, highlighting the importance of positive emotions surrounding the brand.
of the brand imageis shaped by what the company says and how it says it.
What is the purpose of brand content?
Brand content designed for audiences
Branding and advertising are often confused. Branding indeed focuses on highlighting the brand, but it’s not inherently promotional. It doesn’t directly talk about the product or service. On the other hand, advertising does precisely that by conveying arguments in favour of a product or service. Content produced within the framework of brand content should be entertaining in the sense that it aims to provide value, evoke emotions, and educate consumers about the brand and its vision. These contents must accurately align with the interests of different audiences, which requires well-developed personas (typical customer profiles).
The 6 Key Principles of Brand Content
Tell a story
Brand content is closely linked to the concept of storytelling. It’s important to tell the story of the brand by choosing a narrative arc that engages the audience and allows them to identify with it. Audience identification with the brand is the key to the success of a branding campaign.
Emotion is the lever that triggers decision-making. It’s because the audience is “touched” by a message that they are likely to take action. This emotion can be positive or negative, but for the company, it requires using the right language and working with values that resonate with them.
With brand content, the discourse is centred around the brand and is largely embodied by its values. A real estate developer doesn’t just construct residences; they “build a better world.” An energy provider “cares for well-being.” Here, values matter more than the product or service.
Brand content campaigns can take various forms and be distributed across all platforms. The brand has the opportunity to diversify its communication by creating videos or podcasts, issuing press releases, conducting street animations, organising sports or cultural events, and more.
Today’s consumers enjoy being involved. They willingly share their opinions, participate in surveys, and create their own content on social media. This collaborative approach, which connects a brand with its customers, is at the core of brand content: it is the consumers who contribute to amplifying a brand’s presence.
Building strong bonds
For brand content to deliver results, it needs to resonate with the audience. The brand must establish strong bonds with its audience by telling a compelling story, conveying meaningful values, and evoking genuine emotions. The goal is to create a tightly-knit community of prospects who will convert and eventually become brand advocates.
The advantages of brand content
Brand content: building trust and engagement
Instead of selling products or services directly, brand content focuses on selling the brand’s image. But for what purpose? After all, the primary goal of a company is to generate conversions and increase revenue, rather than merely building a community of prospects who don’t make purchases. However, consumers no longer rely solely on the promises conveyed through advertising. Before making a purchase, they want to connect with the brand and establish trust. Brand content plays a crucial role in this new relationship dynamic, helping brands shape their image, move away from overly commercial approaches that consumers reject, and establish a foundation of trust to encourage engagement and ultimately boost sales.
The benefits of brand content
Content with high viral potential
In the age of social media, brands no longer have full control over the dissemination of their content. It’s the consumers who decide whether to share and promote it within their communities. Fortunately, brand content has significant viral potential. This means that the content is likely to be shared by a large number of users, thereby increasing brand visibility.
Messages that drive engagement
“Engagement” has become the holy grail of marketing. Engaging content motivates consumers to take action and interact, creating a meaningful exchange between the brand and its audience. This is precisely where brand content excels: delivering messages that inspire audiences to engage with and endorse the brand.
A natural acquisition tool
Similar to inbound marketing and closely related to content marketing, brand content avoids being intrusive. Instead, it’s designed to meet consumer expectations, build relationships, and foster a sense of community. As a result, customers who choose to purchase a brand’s products or services do so naturally and willingly.
An essential cornerstone of trust
Trust lies at the heart of business relationships. However, trust cannot be established without a clear and genuine positioning, free from promotional clichés. Brand content allows for the clarification of the brand’s positioning (through conveyed values, chosen symbols, established partnerships, etc.), thereby creating an indispensable foundation of trust upon which a long-term brand-consumer relationship can be built.
of consumersindicate that they are willing to make a purchase after watching a branding video on social media.
of marketersbelieve that brand content is more effective than press relation campaigns.
of consumersaffirm that values form the basis of a trustworthy relationship with a brand.
Developing a brand content strategy
Content that speaks for the brand
Times have changed, and so have consumers. Advertising is becoming less effective, even in the digital realm, with 34% of French internet users employing adblockers while browsing the web. Brand content is a powerful tool to counter this waning enthusiasm for traditional advertising by offering users content that focuses not on products or services, but on the brand itself as an independent entity. A well-crafted brand content strategy can help establish the brand in consumers’ minds and solidify its position in the market. It’s no longer just about capturing the attention of a target audience with a single product or service; instead, it has the potential to draw attention to all products or services associated with the brand. So, how does one go about implementing such a strategy?
Developing a brand content strategy: step-by-step
Establish clear objectives for your brand content strategy, whether it’s building awareness, increasing visibility, driving traffic, boosting conversion rates, fostering customer loyalty, or encouraging engagement. Having well-defined objectives is essential for guiding your efforts.
Identify target audiences
Tailor your content to specific target audiences, segmenting them based on geographical location, age groups, and socio-economic categories, as well as their unique challenges, needs, expectations, and interests.
Position your brand
Define the positioning of your brand, which reflects your unique value proposition. Clearly articulate what you offer to your target audience and the values you embody.
Evaluate the competition
To differentiate yourself in the market, start by evaluating your direct competitors. Identify their value propositions and gain an understanding of how each organisation communicates with its audience.
Solidify your brand image
Refine your branding to guide your communication: everything that helps people recognise and remember your brand (logo, colours, fonts, tone of voice).
Create compelling content
Brand content relies on creating engaging and valuable content. Choose the right formats that resonate with your target audience and have the potential to generate high engagement.
Promote your content
Content serves no purpose if it’s not seen. Promote it across your owned media, earned media, and paid media channels to maximise its reach and impact.
Establish a calendar
A well-executed strategy requires consistency. Set up a schedule for publishing your brand content to ensure regular and timely delivery.
Choose the right channels
Select the most appropriate distribution channels based on your target audience, whether it’s in the B2B or B2C space. Adapt your content to suit the unique characteristics of each selected platform.
GOOD TO KNOW
In brand content, a strong brand identity is crucial for a successful strategy. Create an authentic and distinctive brand identity, and ensure that the associated content reinforces it while fostering a sense of familiarity.
Effective brand content strategies: real-life examples
Practical applications of brand content
The concept of brand content might seem confusing at first. How can you showcase your brand through content—and what type of content should you use? How can you evoke emotions and engage your audience in a genuine relationship? How can you speak to a wide audience while making each individual feel personally connected? To provide clarity and illustrate our guide, we’ve handpicked four remarkable examples. Each of these brands has successfully achieved its objectives using distinct approaches, but they share a common thread: the brand itself gradually took precedence over the underlying product or service.
A brand that became its own media platform
Red Bull is often hailed as a prime example of successful brand content. Its thrilling campaigns are hard to miss. Red Bull completely transformed its image by partnering with athletes, events, competitions, and festivals. As a result, the brand has become distinct from the product it sells, establishing itself as an independent entity with a strong identity. Today, whenever we witness extreme sports or extraordinary events, Red Bull inevitably comes to mind. It has truly become a fully-fledged media platform.
Stories that outshine products
Apple is a master of storytelling, a skill it has showcased since its early days. For instance, the garage in Palo Alto, where Steve Jobs started the company, is a pivotal part of Apple’s official creation narrative, representing the idea of a “company born from nothing.” Apple’s entire communication strategy, including its cleverly produced advertisements, emphasises emotions and the human experience rather than just focusing on its devices. In essence, Apple sells stories rather than products.
Airbnb is renowned for its meticulously crafted storytelling. The story of three friends struggling to find accommodation and founding Airbnb has captured global attention. However, what truly sets Airbnb apart is its intelligent marketing approach centred around user experiences. The company places its users at the core of its communication, exemplified by “Host Stories,” short videos published on YouTube that showcase members of the community. By humanising the concept of renting, Airbnb subtly draws attention to different destinations while emphasising that its hosts are regular people, just like you and me.
Diverse channels and strong values
Lego’s brand content stands out due to the reflective nature of its strategy. While Lego’s iconic bricks empower children worldwide to tell their own stories, the brand itself becomes a conduit for narratives. This is evident across multiple media channels, including Lego-branded video games, construction guidebooks, and theatrical films. Additionally, Lego seamlessly integrates themes from popular culture, such as Star Wars and Harry Potter, blurring the boundaries between different forms of media. Lego’s pervasive presence allows it to convey strong values centred around imagination, creativity, and family.
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Brand content is a strategy aimed at showcasing the brand through dedicated content. These contents aim to share a vision, convey values, and evoke emotions, with the goal of building strong connections with consumers, establishing a foundation of trust, and fostering engagement. It involves promoting the brand itself rather than its products/services.
A brand content approach helps create a strong and easily recognisable brand identity for consumers, particularly through storytelling (the art of narrating the brand’s story to enhance identification) and user-centric promotion. A strong brand becomes a complete media entity capable of building a community and fostering loyalty solely based on its name. Get in touch with our brand content agency to benefit from our expertise.
A brand content strategy can leverage various types of content, including images, videos, editorial content, and more. The key to success lies primarily in the approach (highlighting the brand itself) and the selection of distribution channels (tailored to the target audience of the campaigns). The most powerful brands in terms of branding are not hesitant to diversify formats and use multiple communication channels to reach a large number of consumers.