Try to remember the last time you clicked on a banner ad. Having some troubles recollecting the exact moment? If your answer is never, guess what – you are not alone.
In fact, statistics claim that you are more likely to survive a plane crash than to click on a banner ad. Believe it or not, you are also more likely to climb on the top of Mount Everest than to click on ad as well. Although all of these statistics sound surreal, they are absolutely true.
Today, the traditional marketing tactics are not a reliable option as well. Experts don’t even hesitate labeling them as an almost extinct form of advertising. If you are investing in a TV commercial, for example, you have to count on the fact that the great majority of your audience owns a digital video recorder. With the help of modern technology, most people, if not all of them, will fast forward through ads to the main feature.
While inbound marketing is far more efficient than its traditional counterpart, it is evident that focusing your strategy solely on ads and promotions of such sort is hardly a fruitful marketing tactic. But before we dissect branded content and explain how you can apply traditional marketing strategies in inbound and content marketing in particular, let’s get more acquainted with the focal term of this article, which is Product Placement.
Product Placement: The Basics
To get more familiar with the term, we will use a simple example. When a celebrity is being sponsored by a company, they are usually inclined to wear a piece of wardrobe with the company’s logo on it or use the product of that company in public, but with no direct advertising involved whatsoever. When people spot the brand being used or consumed by their favorite star, they are more likely to opt for that same brand as well.
Although this strategy may seem as a farfetched story, you will be surprised to find out that this approach is proven to be very effective. In fact, 45% of consumers feel more comfortable trusting a brand only after they see it used by someone they admire. Because of this encouraging statistic, many brands invest in product placement significantly.
The same strategy is applied though blockbuster movies. The filmmakers use branded products (usually from sponsors, of course) and place them in such a way that the camera is able to capture it, but no one actually mentions the product. This strategy helps further brand awareness and is usually a form of an incentive for spectators to engage with the brand more. However, transferring this concept into inbound marketing might be a tricky task.
Branded Content: The Ancient Basics
Branded content is probably the best example of how a product placement should be performed. This is one of the reasons why companies love investing in inbound marketing. Through written content, which is editorial-like but written usually in a moderately easy-to-read style, companies are able to push their products through narrative and what is even better – they are using it in context. Believe it or not, 60% of consumers feel more comfortable with trusting a brand only after they perceive it through a positive contextual mention. This means that through a practical explanation of how your brand is perceived and how it can be used, you are pushing not just a product through content – you are also presenting its functionality.
Naturally, a brand should send a transparent message the moment you take a look at the company’s logo. For example, the McDonalds logo, the symbol, the curvy fries, the red color and everything combined – will definitely make you hungry. But this is an established multimillion dollar company. Although certain elements can be a good indicator of what your brand is all about, putting your brand, and your product or service, in a context that will explain its use and benefits is a factor that will definitely influence your sales. By showing an image of a child, in this example, as it is eating a happy meal and playing with a cool toy in addition to that – that is what good product placement is.
It is about your customers, and showing them how your product can be used and enjoyed in. One would think that this is an original strategy, some would even assume that it is a novelty of a suspicious quality, but the truth is – branded content has been around for centuries.
It was Gaius Julius Caesar who used to send news from the battlefield back to his hometown, the Rome. Although his letters were seemingly just reports with an intention of informing the public about his battles and his victories, Caesar used this reports to promote himself; putting his name in a positive context and representing himself as a hero. In that way, he was ensured that the Romans will perceive him in a positive way.
Content on Demand: The Future Foundations
The tricky part about writing content in this particular style and manner is to produce a convincible plot and integrate it in a way that will not just show your brand in an encouraging light, but will also explain the usefulness of it through an inconspicuous approach.
The best example of how to build content around a product is probably the famous movie “Cast Away,” with a leading star Tom Hanks promoting Federal Express in the subtlest, most positive way. If you remember the movie, Tom survives a plane crash, grows a funky looking beard and builds himself a home on a deserted island. When rescued, Tom, the good and honest employee of the FedEx, delivers a package that he saved from a burning wreckage of his plane. Through this concept, we are presented with a positive role model, a heartwarming story, and a company that we can trust to always deliver. So, at the same time, you are enjoying a flick and a two-hour long advertisement that will get this company under your skin.
With consumers searching more and more for brand experiences, reviews and brand stories, content on demand is becoming an extremely popular strategy that can place your product right where you want it to be – in front of your audience. In fact, 92% of B2B decision makers want to find out more about products and tools that are potentially beneficial for them through a series of content. Using product placement is only a smart way to go about it, especially when you know for a fact that one in five of your customers will follow you on your social media profile.
But how are you marketing your business? Are people trusting your brand? Try to put your product in context and watch your conversions improve. And if you need to make yourself available for a broader audience, you know where to find us.