Marketers Must Pay to Play: 5 Principles to Optimize Branded Content



This event took place at Social Media Week in Los Angeles. Sign up for SMW Insider to access the full video of this event and 50+ other #SMWLA sessions.

“Organic reach is dead,” announced Orchid Bertelsen, a Digital Strategist at Nestle. Along Gabe Gordon, Managing Partner of Reach Agency, Bertelsen came to speak about how to create branded video that will be seen.

“What’s true today will not be true tomorrow.” Digital is a constantly evolving environment in which brands are constantly competing; consequently, “evolving communications skills is crucial” to staying relevant for brands, and brands must create content that is not only engaging, but demonstrates their values, as well.

Bertelsen and Gordon agreed that important takeaways for brands during their session included learning that data drives action, being very involved with media, and optimizing influencers.

In order to optimize a branded content plan, Bertelsen and Gordon presented five principles.

1. Data is the fuel that drives your content machine

Brands must utilize data before and during campaigns, and data should shape creative. Three areas of focus for data research include format, editorial and length.

“Custom audience is the holy grail to smarter media targeting.” Brands should strive for smarter media targeting and take advantage of experimentation. In addition, brands should not be afraid to experiment, because “what was right for your consumer in the past may not be right today.”

When setting content up for success, think about three things. “When are people online? Where are they consuming content? What message are they most open to?”

2. Stop interrupting what people are interested in and become what they are interested in

There is an evolution in brand communication that allows brands to connect with audiences. Gordon provides a formula in which he presents that “information + entertainment + emotion = value to the viewer.”

Great content is like dating. Brands must dress the part and know what format is best for storytelling and who their audience is. They must avoid talking just about themselves, and go beyond the product to talk about the experience. In addition, they must make audiences fall for them by being smart, making audiences laugh and showing that they care. Lastly, they should give audiences “something to write home about” to encourage engagement and shares.

Creative aspects to take into consideration when making branded content include adjusting to no sound videos, autoplay, vertical content and news feeds.

3. Influencers are not media units

Influencers are worth more than their audience reach. People trust what influencers say more than they trust advertisements. In addition to contributing talent, influencers are also media accelerators and true partners.

4. Treat advertising as a service

When looking at digital advertising, marketers must determine the right person, right message and right time for their content.

“Think like a marketer, act like a creator.”

Make powerful content, not PowerPoints

Marketers need to take risks in order to fulfill the needs of a business. Bertelsen and Gordon concluded by encouraging the audience to “make powerful content, not PowerPoints.”

This event took place at Social Media Week in Los Angeles. Sign up for SMW Insider to access the full video of this event and 50+ other #SMWLA sessions.

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