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Branded content: More than only content – Josep Darnés

As an entrepreneur, you might have a more or less defined strategy to reach your audience. This strategy, known as content marketing, consists in producing as much quality content as possible regularly. So well, neither quantity nor quality nor regularity do not guarantee anything. We are so overloaded buy content, advertisements and remarketing that more creative, experiential and specific tools are needed to catch the audience interest. That’s why today it’s time to talk about branded content.

Branded content: Más que contenidos

“In the end, if your are not different… you are cheap”. ~ Guy Kawasaki


What do I mean with creative, experiential and specific? As consumers, our tolerance when it comes to the time we dedicate to a content is going lower and lower. There is so much content, so diverse and specialized, that we go from one to another in a few seconds without noticing. This lack of attention has made the brands struggle to rethink consumer engagement and take it to the next level, which has to lead to improve sales. Branded content was born with this goal.

Branded content consists generating high value content related to the brand to connect it to the audience. Unlike advertisement, which only presents and sell our product or service, branded content’s goal is to empower the brand with no need for talking about the brand and what we sell. Somehow, the aim is to generate affinity and notoriety and create a relationship of trust between the brand and the consumers. But the ROI is even better when you make it in a honest and accurate way.

I’m not saying advertisement has died. In some sectors, specially those which are not so mature and the most disruptive ones, it might have sense to explain our product and sell it directly. Nevertheless, in the rest of the sectors there might not be necessary to sell, so engagement has to be reached with more emotional and inspirational methods.

In fact, when we want to know the specifications of a product, we are more likely to look for them in platforms such as Amazon or in blogs rather than in adverts. Furthermore, according to a report, 36% of consumers find online advertisement annoying and intrusive, 29% of them do not mind and just 17% of them say it is useful for them to decide buying a product.



“Branded content brings infinite possibilities to entrepreneurs as we can create any kind of content for any kind of media”


As entrepreneurs, branded content brings us infinite possibilities as we can create any kind of content for any kind of media easily, even though we might Como emprendedores, el branded content abre un mundo infinito de posibilidades ya que podemos crear cualquier tipo de contenido por cualquier tipo de canal con los medios que tengamos a nuestro alcance, aunque como norma general we will rely on one of these premises:


Brand values + Participatory culture + Transmedia storytelling


I’m gonna use an example which is very far from entrepreneurship but will help us understand it. Like every summer, Estrella Damm has created an audiovisual advert. If we look back at other #mediterraneamente short movies and adverts, we notice they were not branded content, since the brand appeared in an unnatural way. They were closer to product placement and traditional advertisement than to branded content.

In the 2019 campaign, the brand’s communication has changed radically and has turned into pure branded content. The brand has not only released a few videos in which they basically try to transmit love towards the Mediterranean Sea and its entire ecosystem, it is also complemented by sustainable changes in the company (green energy, local product, biodegradable materials, etc.) which includes the collaboration with NGOs that help the Mediterranean such as Save the Med.

Therefore, we see that this case meets the three previous parameters: From a storytelling, it tells us about the values ​​of the brand (not to mention the brand), opening up to collaborate with other brands (environmental NGOs). This with a participatory culture or horizontal communication. That is, that the audience talks about it by commenting, praising criticizing, exchanging ideas, even generating more content in blogs and other media. Without forgetting that all storytelling is still entertainment and that it should aim to capture the interest of the audience with good content. Estrella Damm understood that proposing a marketing that transcends the brand itself – going beyond what is the sale of the product itself – has many more benefits than advertising to use and if not, look like every summer, get people talk about them.


Branded content: Més que continguts


“It takes years to build a good brand reputation but we can lose it in just one day”


The debate is often opened on whether this type of branded content is nothing more than the usual advertising but with an image cleaning. It is not the objective of this article to discuss this, but I will say that branded content is only sustained in the medium and long term if there is an alignment between what you tell and what you do. The customer is not stupid and a falsehood when we talk about values ​​will have dire consequences for the brand reputation. Recall but the case of Volkswagen in 2015 and its lies about the pollution of its vehicles. As they say: It takes years to build a good brand reputation but we can lose it in just one day.

But let’s get back to the harsh reality. As an entrepreneur you might have no resources or equipment or time to invest in your branded content. But it doesn’t matter much if you put the focus on the three concepts that I mentioned at the beginning of the post:


  • Be creative and present very specific content to your real or potential consumers, a content that goes straight to their emotions.
  • Propose them an experience, meet them in an event, record a podcast in which you express yourself, generate co-created content together with your audience.
  • Be generous and give them something useful such as an ebook, suggest them to play in an app… Gamificate yourself!


Nowadays, fortunately, there are a thousand ways to reach your audience thanks to the democratization of media. The key is to discover what to do and how to do it.

In a future post we will address transmedia storytelling deeper. As a summary, here you have a text by Seth Godin, global expert in transmedia marketing, who said: “How to write a viral message? The best way is not writing things which turn viral. The best way is writting for one single person. Impact one single person. Even better, don’t let them sleep that night unless they decide to impact another one sharing your message with them. The rest will work out by itself”.

Josep Darnés

Josep Darnés (Figueres, 1976) is a civil engineer, has a master of Digital Business in ESADE and it's a CREC coworker. He has projected public work, has produced video clips, has lived in many countries and has been addicted to self-help and personal development. About this matter, he wrote the book "La burbuja terapéutica" (Arpa Ediciones, 2018). Now, apart from writing his second and third books, organizes punk talks and creates memes. You can visit his website in:

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