What is Branded Content? And why is it so effective?
Branded Content is compelling content that creates an immersive experience for the consumer. Generally the content will exist on its own platform, instead of interrupting an experience on somebody else's platform like advertising.
One way of looking at it is to say that everything a brand does is Content Marketing, from presentations to leaflets, brochures, web sites and social media. Branded Content stands separate from this in that it should attract its own audience, on merit, something a leaflet rarely achieves. The job of the marketer therefore is to draw an audience towards this content and make sure that the content is associated with the brand.
Choccywoccydoodah in Brighton is a fascinating case study of brilliant content marketing and superb branded content. The business sells chocolates and cakes and became well known in Brighton for their elaborate designs and window displays. Visuals are as important as the taste and the visuals are very good indeed. The changing of the shop window draws crowds, built up over the years into a local event. This is pure content marketing.
The game changer for Choccywoccydoodah was the TV show. The Good Food Channel commissioned a series and asked our Creative Director Vivianne Howard to produce and direct it. This was never going to be an ordinary recipe driven show although cake mixes featured heavily - this was the shop window on steroids.
The art of creating content that works for a brand is to take the qualities, values and stories of that brand and amplify them. The result of applying this sensibility to Choccywoccydoodah was a rococo phantasmagoria of celebrity, chocolate and cake. Designed to perfection, the show took off like a rocket.
Shrewdly, the owners simultaneously launched a social media campaign capitalising and amplifying the success of the show and drawing people towards the Choccywoccydoodah brand. Social media channels were permanently manned and every question, comment and like was immediately answered.
The show sold globally and launched the brand as an international phenomenon. Today they have an emporium in Carnaby Street and a global presence.
What made it so successful? The brand was strong to begin with. The magic ingredient was already there, but it took the right person to realise that instead of diluting it with manufactured jeopardy and second tier celebrities, it could be given wings by amplifying the strengths. The result was an international hit and a supercharged brand.
There is no formula for successful branded content, but the same principles will work for many brands. Stories draw consumers in and the challenge with producing branded content is to find really memorable material. Without a narrative, visual content is often not compelling. Visual wallpaper doesn't work. In this case the visual elements were already in place, they needed a framework to support the narrative over a half hour period. This became the story of a cake, from order to delivery with all the near misses, jollity and japes that the producers could find.
Vivianne Howard produced and directed the first three series of Choccywoccydoodah