To put it simply, brand content is the content that a brand creates to improve its image and gain popularity. The objective of this strategy is not to promote a product, but to share the entire universe specific to a brand, its values, and its vision.
In 1900, the company Michelin offered one of the first examples of brand content: the famous Michelin guide. Originally, we find in this leaflet intended for motorists, practical information such as garage addresses, local points of interest, city maps, etc. In this way, it encourages to see the country and therefore to get a car (equipped with Michelin tires).
In addition to helping to boost tire sales, this guide is a tool designed for motorists, making it easier for them to travel. The brand managed to create a strong connection with its audience, without even highlighting its main product.
To sum up, the main characteristics of brand content are:
Content based on the brand and the experience it offers to its customers, not on its products.
The use of storytelling to convey a message.
Creating an emotional connection with the audience.
What brand content is not
Brand content VS traditional advertising
Unlike traditional advertising, brand content is not used to promote a product or service. It is of course not excluded to show a product in the content, but this is not the central element. Brand content aims to promote the brand itself, the experience it offers to its customers, and its vision.
In addition, brand content is not aggressively distributed like traditional advertising can be. The content offered must be voluntarily consumed by customers, and not imposed. Brand content can also be subject to buzz and be widely disseminated by the media or shared on social networks. To conclude on these differences, note that 86% of consumers remember a brand better after seeing brand content rather than a pre-roll video
Brand content vs content marketing
While brand content is centered around the brand, content marketing is centered around consumer expectations. As part of a content marketing strategy, the brand will step aside to offer its customers content that answers their questions and is useful to them.
Brand content VS Product placement
Product placement aims to highlight the said product explicitly, which is not the case with brand content. As with product placement, the brand is a passive actor.
Finally, product placement does not use storytelling. In this type of project, the story told is neither about the product nor about the brand. The product is simply there as a decorative object.