Content marketing: a branding stake above all?
Internet users and, by extension, consumers, are inundated by content. It is already difficult for them to consume all of the content that is offered to them. Consuming all the goods and services associated with this content is, thus, even more difficult. The content shock raises the question of the interest of content marketing for advertisers: in the end, is it just a simple branding tool?
Content marketing: a branding tool by definition
The term “branded content” means content that is produced by brands with advertising purposes, but that is not necessarily promotional. Content marketing was indeed intended to provide visibility to brands, to consolidate their position, and to strengthen their image — all of this while informing, educating, and entertaining. It is more about attracting people than beating them over the head. Suggesting rather than affirming. Seducing rather than selling. By definition, content marketing is, above all, a branding tool.
What is content marketing’s ROI?
Therefore, the question is to understand — and measure — the value generated by content marketing in terms of branding. It is a value manifested in the form of a digital marketing asset on which the brand can capitalize with a view to:
- Traffic — attract people.
- Visibility — make people discover the brand.
- Conversion — make people buy.
- Loyalty — make people come back.
Building a brand over time: this is the real challenge of content marketing. Its ROI, as such, must be measured not only by itself, but also in comparison to that of mass media campaigns.
The Lovemark Campaign: an example of a sales-generating campaign.
In 2014, Volkswagen was elected consumers’ favorite car brand in Turkey. For the occasion, the German manufacturer wished to thank their fans through a campaign combining branded content, social media, and user-generated content. What was the underlying principle? Users were invited to post on the brand’s Facebook page pictures of Volkswagen cars “surrounded” by a heart formed with their hands.
The result of the campaign, brilliantly summarized by our friends at Creapills:
505 users posted pictures on Facebook and 1,505 promotional codes were sent. Among these codes, 957 were converted into sales for Volkswagen. The operation was so interesting in terms of sales that the brand decided to offer coupon codes to all of its fans. 18,856 additional codes were generated and 4,694 were converted into sales. Results of this operation: 5,651 people bought a vehicle from Volkswagen Turkey’s Facebook page in just 3 weeks.
Yes, branded content is primarily a branding issue. Branding is, itself, a value creation tool for brands. This must be remembered.