Internet Marketing Analyst eMarketer reported that 39% of companies expect spending on branded content to rise in 2012 and the average company spending on custom branded content has reached its highest level ever.
For the uninitiated, Wikipedia defines branded content as the following…
“A relatively new form of advertising medium that blurs conventional distinctions between what constitutes advertising and what constitutes entertainment. Branded content is essentially a fusion of the two into one product intended to be distributed as entertainment content, albeit with a highly branded quality. Unlike conventional forms of entertainment content, branded content is generally funded entirely by a brand or corporation rather than, for example, a movie studio or a group of producers. Branded entertainment is used in events and installations, film, video games, music, the internet, and television.”
Unfortunately marketers sometimes take the wrong approach. Many consumers see branded content as information with a bias towards that particular brand’s service or product. In one example, imagine you’re reading a magazine article when you suddenly notice the words, ‘Paid for Advertisement’ stealthily listed atop the page. What’s your next move?
While the chances of creating negative consumer sentiment exist, branded content has the potential to be a our (the consumer) best source of quality information and a your (the real estate agent, brokerage) most powerful ally. In order to be effective you just have to create create content that focuses on the needs and wants of your audience.
Some of the best examples of branded content often don’t involve the brand at all. Take for example Louis Vuitton (LVMH). In 2010 LVMH launched NOWNESS, a site dedicated to previewing the latest in fashion, art, cinema, entertainment, culture, music, gastronomy, design, travel, and the world of luxury. NOWNESS indirectly supports the LVMH brand by showing support for contributors representing the ideals of the brand. LVHM seeds the site with great content allowing you to formulate your own opinion of their brand. To quote Nima Abbasi, founding partner of Syndicate Media Group, “It’s a mix of editorial and video with a distinct, independent point of view that you can’t get anywhere else – and that’s what consumers are craving.”
As David Martin eloquently points out this Forbes article, “Instead of creating branded content, we actually need to focus on doing something far more fun. Let’s first and foremost tell a story. Let’s tell a story with conflict, and characters and tension and resolution. We may not be able to force consumers to watch our ads, but what we can do is create something that is so compelling that consumers will feel a need to watch it. And if we really get our story right, we might even make them want to share it with their friends.”
In real estate, the individuals and companies who focus on being a source of unique local information stand the best chance of winning new business now and into the future. When it comes to creating content worth sharing consider the following…
- Real estate agents and brokerages have always been in the ‘pole position” when it comes to local marketing. This collective workforce is familiar with small businesses and community members on the local level. Consider how much knowledge exists collectively within an organization. Find a way to free this local knowledge online and consumers (buyers) will find the content.
- When searching for a place to move, the consumer seeks as much knowledge as possible on the neighborhood(s) and surrounding areas under review. They want what a lot more than what’s being offered in the form of listings (see #1). A point fully supported in a recent study by Nabewise which found “82% of consumers said neighborhood was “as important” or “more important” than the property they were buying or renting.”
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Check out how Halstead Property uses video to share local information: