Branded content provides value

by the BCMA and Daniel Bô

The BCMA is in a privileged position to have access to the leading experts and pioneers of the branded content industry. This interview is a part of ‘For The Love of Branded Content’ series which brings together ‘thought-leaders’ from across the globe to share their ‘love’ and advice on what it takes to succeed in the ever-evolving world of branded content.

Read views from Daniel Bo, Founder and Managing Director at QualiQuanti a leading expert in “brand content” as he likes to call it.

1. Why do you love branded content?

I prefer brand content because “brand content” designates the fact that a brand creates a content library
, able to be featured in brands’ contact points: stores, exhibitions, social networks, private media, etc.

Brand content provides value (service, information, and entertainment): it is interesting in and of itself, independent of a product purchase, presents itself as a special power addressing people; it extends beyond a commercial function to involving individuals in an enriching experience.

Conventional advertising is governed by a completely different rationale: focusing on a single element of the product or brand, typically addressing buyers, made up of short messages to be memorized and repeated.

2. What do you love the most about branded content?

Brands have become symbolic resources that contribute to defining peoples’ identity:
consumer buying is a playing field where people express their singularity or uniqueness.

Far from being purely material, consumer buying is significant and culture-based by consumers identifying with brands that become identity models just like gender, age, nationality, profession or religious affiliation.

To answer the question “Who am I?” and be recognized socially, people must become aware of the models to which they belong. The choice itself is a type of asserting one’s individuality: whether consciously or not, preferring one brand over another is « performing » the brand as a cultural model.

Brand content is one of brand culture’s channels of expression, amongst the many other brand manifestations: products, publicity, sales outlets… The ultimate goal of a content policy is developing a cultural strategy. Content is essential to build a dense brand and to convey this culture.

Producing editorial content is a special way to build a culture, express one’s view on the world and to fulfil one’s role as a cultural agent.

More than just an energy drink, Red Bull expresses super-performance. Consumers need to identify with brands they feel close to and relate to their symbols, ideologies and practices, social and psychological recommendations.

3. One piece of advice you’d love to give someone undertaking branded content?

Firstly have editorial ambition and sincere involvement in content.

Content is considered a gift, and giving wilted flowers would be unacceptable! Content’s quality gives it legitimacy. In competition with other editors for an over-stimulated audience’s attention, brands must offer the best « value for money » or value for time.

Brands are a spawning force: Brands are expected to pave new ways by exploring new practices, fields and talents. Being a leader in one’s cultural field is achieved through innovation outside of the box.

Audiences must experience a direct connection with the brand, which is often achieved through codes and content itself.

The entire system must also be connected with other expressions by the brand, and be consistent with the brand.

Sincerity and long-term commitment build legitimacy and promote connection with brand. Good editorial strategies give rise to a library with critical content mass. Brand content must be generative, increase in number and roll out at all points of contact.

However, brands must avoid »one shots« and isolated events which tend provide little to no benefit to brands.

4. What is the best example of branded content you love?

Luxury goods are inherently linked to brand content because consumers identify luxury brands through three characteristics:

1. Legendary know-how;

2. Invitation to escape and dreams, made concrete through access to a wondrous world;

3. A preferred relationship with them, that is established and respectful.

Content creation reinforces and extends these perceptions. It is the ideal way to expound on legendary know-how (craftsmen’s work, product history, etc.), creating a fairy-tale world, where brands hold a special place.

More than just commercial enterprises, luxury brands are perceived as figures of wealth and generosity, kindness and magnanimity.

As such they are endowed with social responsibility: They are considered charitable and are expected to invest in humanitarian and environmental causes, taking inspiration from the great royal patrons of the Renaissance.

They are expected to support artistic initiatives by buying and/or financing artworks and promoting young artists.

Considered as a gift, content goes beyond a simple commercial relationship.

Seeking preferred status and consideration, the public wants to be included. Brands should give priority to content that showcases their competencies and essence. The public also wants luxury brands to grant them access behind the scenes, through content that reveals the complexities involved in designing and producing luxury products.

To see more, check out:

Luxury brands should take exceptional initiatives, capable of amazing and initiating consumers to unique aesthetic and cultural experiences.

The most innovative brands include Hermès (Le Saut Hermès, les ailes d’Hermès, le monde d’Hermès, Wanderland, la Maison des Carrés), Chanel (Chanel News blog, Inside Chanel, Culture Chanel, Mademoiselle Privé, Colors of Chanel, Make-up revelations), LVMH Group and Louis Vuitton (Fondation Louis Vuitton, Nowness, city guides Vuitton, Les Journées Particulières, Volez, Voguez, Voyagez in Grand Palais), Dior (Dior Homme Men’s short film with Jude Law, Dior et moi, the Lady saga with Marion Cotillard), Ralph Lauren … and also Red Bull, Oasis, Coca-Cola, Evian, Pernod-Ricard, Heineken, Picard, Weight Watchers, Johnson & Johnson, Axe, Dove, Leclerc, Leroy-Merlin, Castorama, Macy’s, Quechua, FNAC, IKEA, H&M, Mac Donald's, PMU/Equidia, Benetton, Nespresso, GoPro, Lego, Michelin, John Deere, Steelcase, Apple, Google, IBM, Intel, Adobe, Dassault Systèmes, Pantone, Orange, AXA, Xerfi, Chipotle, Honda, BMW, Audi, …