Branded content continues to be the favorite of brands across all categories. Lately, we have witnessed some pieces of branded content that were outstanding and looked like seamless brand integrations, while on the other hand, we also came across some pieces that appear to be forced integrations and the brand is missing. connection with the content item. spoke with publishers, brands, and branded content experts to uncover the thought process that goes into creating any branded content. We spoke to a publisher, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, who publishes branded content on their platform.

Asked about the main challenges it faced, the publisher said that brands and media agencies have specific requirements related to brand presence on screen. Requirements vary from having the brand logo or product present in the first seconds of the play or having it for a specific number of seconds on screen or that the brand name must be spoken a specific number times, so on and so on.

As a result, creativity is compromised and the purpose of branded content is lost.

To counter it, a veteran marketer, who again does not wish to be named, said marketing is all about the numbers. The seasoned marketer said that if he spends a lot of his marketing spend on branded content, then it’s a must for him to get the brand to appear/be mentioned as many times as possible.


Vineet Kanabar

While sharing his thoughts on this, Vineet Kanabar, host of the Story Tellers & Story Sellers podcast, said, “There should be meaningful integrations. Instead of pushing meaningful integration, brands want to take a more shared advertising approach where seconds on screen equals understanding or seconds on screen equals awareness. This is where it gets problematic because what you’re doing then is taking the user out of the scope of the story they’re there to consume.

Kanabar continued the conversation with an example – TVF Tripling where the creative brief was to have Tata Tiago appear as the fourth sibling in the story.

“It’s about finding a meaningful, organic connection for your brand within that story that also aligns with your marketing objective. If my objective is – The user needs to understand that these are the characteristics of my car, then I can meaningfully integrate them into the story. For example, the car has a great navigation feature. I can show that these guys don’t get lost and use the navigation feature to figure out where they want to go. Or if he has a great music system, I can show these guys listening to great music in the car like in the web series – they park somewhere, have a little campfire, and the guy who owns the car shows car speakers,” he added further.

Not only that, but Kanabar also discussed the Flipkart campaign where they were made to say the name of the e-commerce platform five times in a 7-8 minute video. “We made a mistake. This specific case is incidental,” he added.

The two examples above show a stark contrast between meaningful brand onboarding and forced onboarding.

Another editor, who again did not want to be named, said: “The brand managers, CMOs and marketing leadership team are very close to consumers and they understand what their consumers are looking for. I meet both brands and agencies. I see this change that they don’t want over the top advertising, but more and more brand integrations. »

Objective and figures

Ankit Khirwal

Ankit Khirwal, VP, Marketing, upGrad, believes it all depends on the purpose of the alliance, but added that meaningful brand integration remains the top priority. He said: “These things are totally dependent on the objective. If you’re trying to build awareness, you’d want the brand to continue to appear on screen more often.

At upGrad, the goal now is to –

1. Build consideration for the brand that hey! You come to try our brand.

2. To create a need for further training, which is more lucrative in terms of income.

But, for the latter, we need to create much more meaningful narratives in branded content. 100 people connecting with the brand through a meaningful presentation is better than 200 people only seeing the brand name. These 100 people could come and make a purchase on my platform.

When asked if the goal behind branded content assets isn’t always quantifiable ROI, but sometimes it’s about building a long-term brand, he replied, “It’s said because you can’t measure effectiveness. If they could measure, they would.

Another industry expert who spoke on the grammar of measurability said, “Today, measurability occurs based on the number of times the brand has been mentioned or displayed in content. But, if someone wants to change the narrative, he will have to change the measure.

Marketers these days need to understand that in branded content, the user is there for a bit of entertainment and not for their brand. So they should try to focus more on organic brand integration rather than forced integration. And to do that, marketers need to engage with content creators at an early stage to integrate the brand seamlessly.

Publishers, on the other hand, also need to ensure that the creative is not compromised and that the big-money brand is integrated and presented well in the content.