Branded content is a unique type of marketing. It doesn't include any form of advertising, but rather the brand itself becomes a marketing tool that generates consumer interest all on its own. It doesn't need the help of promotional tactics that come with traditional advertising strategies. Rather the branded content will utilize videos, podcasts, articles and other forms of content-based media to promote the brand. It's advertising, but the consumer gets something out of it.\r\n\r\nStudies have indicated that the average American consumer is okay with advertisements if they are getting something out of it. This is where the idea of branding content comes from. If you can generate interest in the content you are presenting then the advertising doesn't quite feel like a product is being pushed on you. Drive the advertising through engaging content. It's simple. Keep the interest of the consumer and drive their attention to the product by keeping them informed, educated and entertained. A successful branded content strategy can do wonders for a business. However, it requires a successful mix of product, content and delivery strategy to be most effective.\r\nBranded content works better than ads\r\nAccording to a report published in The Guardian, it's believed that approximately 86 percent of television viewers skip advertising. With the birth of digital video recorders (DVR), many consumers simply fast forward the commercials. As a result, branded content was born, in part, to fight the grim reality that DVR watchers couldn't be reached. It's essentially a waste of advertising dollars if you fail to reach your targeted audience. With the advent of smartphones, tablet devices and other forms of multimedia delivery, television is no longer the sought-out advertising avenue as it was it the past.\r\nBranded content history\r\nDon't be so quick to crown today's multimedia and advertising executives as the curators of the branded market strategy. The idea of branded content goes back to the 1940's with sponsored programming that incorporated the brand itself into the actual programming. This old business model was a cornerstone of marketing and advertising back in those days. It wasn't all that uncommon for a brand to create its own radio or, in later years, television content to drive a product into a consumer's hands.\r\n\r\nThink of paid programming. The birth of paid programming was a type of branded content as well. This is not a new marketing strategy. Paid programming, as we all know, pretends to be a television program, but it's essentially a 30-minute advertisement that is structured as content. Some even go as far as pretending they are being interviewed in a newsroom type format to push the product. Branded content comes in many forms. In 2018, branded content is alive and well, but the only difference this time around is the delivery mechanism.\r\n\r\nPortable electronics have changed the way we approach, content, advertising, and its delivery. We deliver this type of content in the form of article, podcasts, web episodes, and even in augment and virtual realities. The ability to deliver content is more versatile than ever. The choices are vast and depending on your targeted audience you can really hone in on your dedicated consumers. This will not only increase awareness of the product but sales as well.\r\nWhy is branded content more effective?\r\nWith advertisements everywhere, consumers are forcing themselves to drown out the messaging because it's become too overwhelming. They have ads of social media, television, public transportation, streaming services, and the list goes on and on. After a while, it becomes white noise to the consumer. They see it but don't react. That's ineffective advertising and branded content experts know this and exploit it for their own gain.\r\n\r\nCleverly constructed and strategically placed branded content is far more effective in today's sea of advertisements. The average consumer will skip through as many ads as possible. However, they might search for a podcast or a funny web series on YouTube. They are getting something back from the branded content that traditional advertisement can't rival.\r\n\r\nThe statistics show a story that favors the strategy of branded content. According to a report published in Forbes, brand recall is a staggering 59 percent higher than traditional display advertisements. People connect to quality content. They can identify with it and as a result, when they are shopping, the brand will speak to them in the way other forms of advertising cannot achieve right now. Brand content leads to brand recognition. The consumer doesn't feel like they are being sold to. This increases sales and profits.\r\nHow good is branded content?\r\nNielsen found that not all branded content is created equal and that there is a proven strategy that works with consumers. Their research says that all successful branded content must include the following components: personality, unique approach and a centralized concept. This is all to create a targeted connection with your audience. They also note that it's important to match the style and tone of the content with the brand you are trying to market. This is, of course, is how you achieve the connection with your audience.\r\n\r\nIt's also important to create a branded content strategy that is optimized for mobile devices. This increases accessibility and exposure to the branded content. Interactive branded content is also a great strategy and can be captured in the form of apps, games and interactive videos.\r\nBranded content spending rises\r\nResearch indicated that 82 percent of Americans ignore online advertisements. Many have installer ad blockers to get rid of them for good. Branded marketing spending is on the rise because strategists view this as a viable source of reaching their targeted audience. The former golden years of advertising are broken. Branded content is the future. It's versatile, has purpose and influences people in ways that traditional print, television and display advertisements have failed to do in recent years. Creators of branded content get results. The statistics don't lie. We expect branded content to evolve, grow and expand to many facets of the consumer market in the very near future.