Defining branded video content can be tricky, as there is often confusion around what is considered to be traditional advertising or sponsored video content. Essentially, branded video content is a form of video advertising that is less obvious and more authentic.

Here’s what makes effective branded video content:

Build a brand narrative

The purpose of branded video content is to build a brand narrative. This is one of the key areas where branded video content is different from sponsored video content. Sponsored video content can be about anything, with the brand logo just appearing at the start and end of the video but with no connection to the content. In other words, that content could have come from any sponsor willing to pay for the advertising.

Effective branded video content is narrative-driven, meaning it puts your brand front and centre and tells the story of how your product or service works. This doesn’t mean a client testimonial or a product demonstration but, rather, the brand becomes the star by telling a compelling and entertaining story.

Produce relevant content

Being socially relevant is how your branded video content elevates above the usual limitations of advertising. When we know we are being advertised to, the message doesn’t seem genuine, no matter how well-executed the content is. That’s why your goal with branded content shouldn’t be to advertise, but to contribute to a discussion with your audience, to entertain or to educate.

If you know your audience well, you should be able to understand the concerns and interests that will currently be occupying them, and this is the discussion you can enter into.

Spark creativity

This is a tip that applies to almost all video content, not just branded, but get creative! There are some great examples of branded video content out there that build the brand with quirky, unexpected narratives. Where the traditional advertising for a brand may have adhered to strict parameters regarding tone and style, branded video content is an opportunity to break away from that and use a bit more personality to pleasantly surprise an audience.

Focus on emotional engagement

Like creativity, all video content should aim for at least some level of emotional engagement with the audience. This can be something that tugs at the heartstrings, makes the viewer nostalgic for a time gone by, or inspires them to take some action and make a positive change in their own life. Creating an emotional connection with your audience will naturally endear your brand to them, just like when we create connections with people out in the real world.

Create a standalone piece that has merit in itself

Branded video content needs to stand alone and not feel like it’s formatted for advertising, like a 30 second TV ad which is only masquerading as online content. Your logo shouldn’t appear in the first 30 seconds and, after watching your content, your audience shouldn’t be able to list your products, services, or facts about your brand.

This may seem counterproductive to most forms of advertising, but branded video content needs to stand alone, leaving your audience with the autonomous choice to seek you out after watching. This means no call to action at the end of the video either; branded video content tells a standalone story that entertains or educates your audience, it doesn’t try to sell them anything.

Educate viewers

Whilst you may be tempted to simply show viewers how to best use your product or service, branded video content is best when you display your wider knowledge that makes you an expert in your field. This should be related to your industry, but broad and current enough that the audience would be interested in learning about it.

Education may be the purpose of your video if you think there is enough interest, but it could also be threaded into the narrative of your story, with the audience learning something like an unexpected benefit when they were only anticipating entertainment.

Whilst branded video content may technically be advertising, to create it effectively you need to approach it without an advertising mindset. This medium is all about letting the content speak for itself and making a genuine connection with your audience. It’s not branded video content if you are using it to sell – if you make an impression on your audience, they will come to you.

To get started, you can view some examples of branded content in our video portfolio.