Feeling Comfy with Branded Entertainment — Measurement and Success

What makes a CMO, or a Director of Digital make the move to market using branded content, or branded entertainment? Measurable results and the success seen by early adopters such as Red Bull and Dove give comfort. Who doesn’t love some good numbers to chew on and confirm your existence? I do.

When I speak of branded content or branded entertainment, I mean media created with the intention to entertain/interest a viewer that also aligns with a brand’s core principles. Dove is about simple, natural beauty so that’s why all of its branded entertainment helps women feel good in their own skin. Red Bull’s content of extreme sports feels like a Red Bull fueled adrenaline rush.

Now the numbers to hold onto … in terms of measurable results, we see many more brands talk about “engagement rate”, or the number of people who interacted with a post (Likes and Comments) divided by the number of followers a brand has.

You can see the stats for April for the top Instagram videos that show these figures. The usual suspects such as GoPro and Victoria’s Secret top the list, but what’s fascinating is one of the month’s top ten Instagram videos was from Starbucks, which just showed coffee swirling in a cup.

For campaigns, some brands are taking it further and doing qualitative pre- and post surveys in addition to quantitative results that show increased sales, or length of a video view. One of the first measurement standards I ever saw for branded entertainment is Ogilvy’s BEAM measurement tool. It created a standardized scorecard against which an agency and brand could measure increased exposure, image enhancement, entertainment value and actual sales increases for a branded entertainment campaign. Check it out here. For evaluations of individual videos, we look at length of video view, the engagement rate and shares, but are always tweaking the model. This work is changing so fast that we often need to re-evaluate.

Data aside, I find there’s a general feeling by many brands they can see positive change by adding to people’s existing conversations instead of focusing on breaking through with a sales message. When you have a company as blue chip as IBM creating mini-documentaries that focus on their clients’ stories such as was seen recently during this year’s Master’s tournament instead of pushing a pure sales message, I feel confident that traditions are being shattered.

Marketers, do you see it?