Branded Content Marketing, Branded Content, Content Marketing, Branded Entertainment each are modern variations of Connected Marketing as it used to be called.
Before the term Social Media was coined there was Connected Marketing, Word of Mouth Marketing, Viral Marketing, Brand Advocacy, Community Marketing and many other skill sets.
The leaders and commentators in the industry now are generally agreed about what constitutes Branded Content Marketing.
Branded Content being more product lead and Content Marketing being more people lead stories.
Justin Kirby at Tenthwave recently interviewed Avi Savar on the subject and he described it as Show me/Sell me versus Help me/ Entertain me.
Arguably I would suggest it is nearly always about selling at some point so it is a case of are you the brand trying to sell it to me or are you trying to inform and engage me so I can decide that I want to buy it. Usually with the latter being a more satisfying process.
So at what level does the brand need to be part of the story for the content to succeed?
While at DBM we completed a piece of multi level activity for EA where the client was incredibly brave by allowing us to have no branding or product placement at all.
It was for the launch of Need for Speed – Pro Street. There was the mention of Pro Street but by making it Pro Street Romania it created intrigue as it was not the EA brand.
To add to the intrigue the destination website for other content was built in HTML and not Flash to add to the story and the owner of that site was listed as one of the racers, Marek.
The client also denied all knowledge of the activity/content initially when challenged to the point where the Editor of De Speigel online sent an email to Marek asking for an interview and if they had other races organised.
Content creative Lee and Dan part of the DBM group
Content marketing DBM – seeded across the DBM site network
The activity was deemed a great success by the client with the story eventually getting out and receiving millions of views of multiple videos and huge buzz online. Resulting in increased sales year on year.
So by appealing to the right audience with relevent content in this case the unbranded content was successful.
I am not sure this could work for any brand or that many clients would be this brave.