Branded content consists of creating advertising content that provides value for the consumer. It is a non-intrusive type of advertising that creates an emotional connection between a brand and consumers.
The concept is described as a fusion between advertising and entertainment to integrate a single marketing product into a company's global strategy and be distributed as quality leisure content for the brand.
Branded content can offer value to consumers from different perspectives. This article points out some of the most relevant ones that can be applied to the toy industry.
Inform and educate
This perspective is focused on generating information that helps to educate the population in general or a specific target group on the characteristics or objectives of the brand.
The content generated in these campaigns can be quite broad: from providing information that makes the day-to-day lives of consumers easier, to improving their knowledge of a specific subject (like parenting), to giving advice on how to improve the use of the products.
This kind of branded content can be provided through different channels: podcasts, e-mailing, guidelines, e-books, videos, videogames, and so on.
This strategy offers content that provides fun and enjoyment to the consumer. In this regard, some brands are generating content similar to that created by entertainment production companies.
Over the last years, there has been an increase in movies, shows, and media content based on evergreen toys (The Lego Movie, Playmobil The Movie, Barbie shows on Netflix, …). Also, toy companies have been producing content that supports the production of new toys and licenses. A great example is Spinmaster with shows such as Paw Patrol or Mighty Express. All of this can be watched on different forms of media: TV, Netflix, Disney +, YouTube, social media channels, company websites, et cetera.
Digital games (videogames, apps, web games, …) are increasingly used by brands to generate playful content of value to consumers. The toy sector is based on creating fun products to play with, but with this strategy, the consumer has more options to interact with the product, experiencing more contact with the brand.
There are plenty of examples of this, such as Learn & Play by Fisher-Price, Play-Doh Create ABCs, the NERF Mission App by Hasbro, Ravensburger Puzzle the jigsaw collection, etc.
To apply this strategy, brands need to investigate topics of interest and figure out how the target group likes to spend their leisure time.
Support interests and build a brand community
Branded content has yet another important potential, which is to support the interests of consumers, often generating communities, whereby the brand is the connecting link.
Brand content strengthens the emotional bond
Consumers are aware of the persuasive objective of advertising and become irritated by repetitive and invasive messages. However, branded content seeks to reverse this process, since its purpose is to see the consumer approach the brand by offering some type of useful content.
By applying a range of different formats (digital books, web series, movies, apps, video games ...), brands are connecting with consumers on a much higher emotional level than they had been able to achieve until now through their traditional advertising campaigns.