Cut Through the Clutter: How Marketers Can Wield Branded Entertainment to Make an Impact

By Camille Blanchard, VP, Head of Innovation, West Cary Group

It was bound to happen. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated, and the traditional methods of advertising are losing their foothold. Annoyed by interruptive, unwanted and overwhelming media campaigns, consumers are increasingly tuning out. Now they’re clamoring for content that’s unique to brands and that actually enriches them personally.

In fact, last year, Captora reported that 61 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that create custom content. With this in mind, marketers need to turn from a “push” mentality to a “pull” when it comes to video content. There can be no better solution than branded entertainment.

Though it may sound like the buzzword of the day, branded entertainment is simply content marketing at its finest. If carefully curated, it integrates brand moments without being heavy handed. If well executed, it makes your audience fall in love with your brand without ever realizing it was being wooed.

So what should marketers keep in mind when creating a branded entertainment campaign? Here are three tips:

  1. Bolster the brand story. One of the beauties of branded entertainment is that businesses are no longer the sponsors of content. They’re the creators. And with great power comes great responsibility. It’s not about giving your brand a bigger voice; it’s about giving it a better one that’s rich and worthy of being heard.
  2. Focus on engagement. There’s an emotional exchange that comes along with well-executed branded entertainment. It’s an opportunity to make dynamic, memorable moments for the user. Prime examples of this are Under Armour’s I Will What I Want campaign starring Misty Copeland or Red Bull’s Imaginate campaign starring Danny MacAskill. The brands were barely mentioned, and yet they both incited attachment from viewers. And when veiwers become more engaged, they’re more apt to share with others the campaign that moved them. 
  3. Make it count. YouTube. Netflix. Hulu. Amazon. iTunes. What do all of these businesses have in common? They all can be used to launch branded entertainment campaigns. There are a staggering number of media channels that brands can put to work for them. One great benefit of such a stunning list of online alternatives is that they’re so disparate in tone and audience that they permit highly targeted distribution opportunities.

Another is that, by benefit of their digital nature, campaign performance can be assessed almost instantaneously. Just be sure to establish your own Key Performance Metrics at the start (views, engagement level, leads, shares, earned media), analyze your performance and fine-tune your campaign accordingly.

Branded entertainment has the potential to drive the success of a brand because 80 percent of consumers recall branded entertainment more than traditional marketing. That’s why WCG Innovation (WCGi) is whetting our marketing sword to carve out unique brand space for our clients. If you want to put us to work for you, let us know. We love cutting through the clutter.

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