The pure concept of branding, that started with the advertising itself, has grown into something way deeper and sophisticated than the first concept that purely meant to be remembered by consumers. As seen in the first post of this series, the definition of branding according to the Wikipedia claims that “Brand is the name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one sellers' product distinct from those of other sellers. Initially, Branding was adopted to differentiate one person's cattle from another's by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal's skin with a hot iron stamp, and was subsequently used in business, marketing and advertising."
Fact is, what started as a burning symbol on an animal’s skin and grew as a memory in the consumer’s mind turned to be into fulfilled needs and core values of products and services. And this is not a change that the digital world brought: the digital world only potentiated it to its maximum. The main objective of branding nowadays is bringing the memory of a product in the consumer’s heart. And there is no better way of doing that than online video advertising and all the infinite ways of playing with content branding, branded content, and all the possible variations we can give to the word “content”.
All these terminations may be a little bit confused at the end of the day, in times where “native”, “trendy”, “branded”, and whatever the next expression will be are just a new way of calling an old thing. What matters here is to understand how the mechanism of bringing value and touching the heart of the viewer through the screen actually works. It seems there is a recipe for the cake: it is called “branded video”, or “branded content”. In the past few years it was easy to realize that online video advertising brought in a new way of making up content: mixing up the concept of the service within the content. Premium video created for online viewing is often branded, meaning that a sponsor or brand was involved in its creation. Branding goes beyond sponsorship. A sponsored program has ads - static or video - placed around the content. Branded video, on the other hand, has products integrated into the content, and those brands may have steered the content’s direction.
Again, is really easy to get confused and think that maybe this is a new trend inside advertisement, that decided to turn online video into short movies: we’ve seen so many lately (some of them really good, by the way), that we ask ourselves who comes first? Short movies or marketers trying to be a little less aggressive? Neither, I would dare to say.
All of this is just a new way of transmitting the message, a message that was overexposed and that was not heard anymore. The internet asked for this new way, and marketers came up with a new idea: in the last few years a new type of ad has gained recognition and challenging the types of commercials that have become an established part of the online video industry. Native ads are nothing more than videos that are within a publisher's original content stream and ask the audience to interact rather than automatically rolling before or during a content video. Viewers are much more likely to react favorably to a native ad because they have made the choice to play it rather than being forced to watch it.
This fact puts us back into the old discussion of non-intrusive advertisement: we all know we should not underestimate the viewer. We all know how doing it, as the good advertising and marketing professionals we are. The point here is that native advertisement is still underestimated, as much as the viewer itself is not anymore: not only because of lack of knowledgement but mostly because the industry does not believe that this is more than a trend soon will be forgotten as many others.
The Branded Clip
Well, the numbers are here to guarantee that this is not a trend and Native came to stay: native ads are exemplified in an October 2012 study conducted by Nielsen for native social video distribution firm Sharethrough and Stolichnaya Vodka. The companies measured viewers' reactions to a Stolichnaya ad campaign, "The Most Original Night," featuring three music videos showing people drinking Stolichnaya.
Among the findings: the campaign drove an overall 30.8% brand lift in purchase intent among those who were exposed to the video through both paid placements and shared views, a dramatic increase that prompted Nielsen to proclaim that online video is becoming one of the "hottest topics" in online advertising.
Remember we are talking about video clips, where there is a subtle mention of the product: one of the best example of native advertisement and branded video one could ever think of. So, we better re-evaluate our definition of native – tailored, yes. Customized. And any other definition we might want to use, as long as we assimilate it is not a trend, it’s another tool to boost branding through online video advertising. Do you agree?