The Illuminist Blog

Branded Originals: When should brands become broadcasters?

Posted by Jason Hammond on April 20, 2017


Over-the-top networks like Netflix, hulu, YouTube Red and AmazonPrime (those that you get outside of the traditional cable box model) are becoming the preferred means of entertainment for many consumers. This shift in behavior has dramatically impacted the advertising efforts of many brands who now struggle to find their audience as these new mediums circumvent traditional channels, turning traditional ads into an optional part of the viewing experience. To mitigate this trend, many brands have responded by shifting their advertising dollars to creating pre-roll content or serving up ads via social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat. In response to this perceived invasion, many young consumers—who dislike the pervasiveness of digital advertising—have implemented ad-blocking software. More progressive brands, however, are beginning to discover an alternate way of reaching an ad-weary audience when traditional means are diminished.

The question many brands are asking themselves in response to this current media landscape is, “Should we be creating our own content? And if so, to what type of content will our consumers be most receptive, and where should that content be distributed?” Is there tolerance for brands both creating and publishing content on their own branded channel? Brands like RedBull and Starbuck believe so and have already invested heavily in such a strategy—by either creating ownable content or by providing consumers with a smattering of original content from various publishers. This shift from simply creating ads to publishing consumer-friendly content allows brands the ability to reach their customers in a way that they don’t feel sold-to and actually feel like the brands are providing the type of content that they’re seeking.

While this approach clearly isn’t the best strategy for all industries, lifestyle or experience-driven brands whose consumers view their purchase as a commentary on their personal ideology have found an ideal interaction point. When considering a brand-channel style of approach to content creation, there are few key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Stop selling and start broadcasting value—Consumers don’t want to be sold to, they want to see their values reflected back to them. Demonstrate that your brand and their personal philosophy are aligned and they will be drawn to you.
  2. Sponsor insight-packed, entertaining content—If you don’t have the appropriate resource to create this type of content in-house, consider sponsoring an original series that aligns with your brand’s purpose and your consumers’ passion. Put those self-serving messages to the backburner.
  3. Avoid infusing your channel with traditional ads—Today’s consumer will likely tune them out or may begin to view you as untrustworthy. Don’t waste money by showing up where you’re not wanted in the first place.
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Topics: Brand Engagement