October 19th, 2018

Branded Content vs. Equity Content: Which Should You Use?

Author: Laura Lynch
Laura Lynch
Director of Marketing

Understanding the difference between branded and equity content offers businesses an advantage.

Content Marketing for businesses can be difficult, especially if they are just starting out and trying to write the content on their own without the help of any agency. The biggest hiccup we find with our clients is that they do not have a clear understanding of the different types of content they are creating for their brand, or where to use each one. This post will lay out the differences between branded and equity content, and where and when your brand should use these types of content.

What is branded content?

Some people argue that branded content is just advertising. In fact, branded content gives a product a voice in order to connect with its consumer without just yelling “buy me, buy me.” This voice also tells the buyer why they need this product and how it will add to their life experience. When creating branded content, you also need to know who your target audience is. If you are a skincare brand coming out with an anti-wrinkle serum, you wouldn’t target college students. Knowing your audience and curating branded content around that audience will make “advertising” your brand that much easier.

When the digital shift hit the marketing world, news broadcasters had a difficult time transforming. Two questions came into play that branded content answered. How were they going to get a full hour of news stories into short clips, and how could they get TV viewers to watch and subscribe to those short videos? YouTube was the frontier for videos. Now we have Instagram TV, and Facebook TV. How does your brand know which platform to post on? How do you capture the audience’s attention in such a short amount of time? That is where equity content comes into play.

What is equity content?

Equity content stems from brand equity. Think of the old saying, “first comes love, second comes marriage.” You can’t have the latter without the primary or the foundation. Inc.com has said, brand equity is “the public’s valuation of a brand.” Equity content is established when your brand has built up that equity—or awareness, in this sense—has gained recognition from the public, and also has constructed customer loyalty. Having a strong brand equity can also be developed as that brand being known for an entire category.

For example, think about when someone goes to search online for a specific query. The typical statement is “I am going to Google that,” no matter what search engine they use. They could actually be using Safari on their iPhone, but the most commonly known search engine is Google. Google has built up their brand equity to the highest degree, where they are now the most known search engine.

Find the platform that works best for branded and equity content.

Brands need to know the difference between branded and equity content. That way they aren’t reproducing the same content for each platform. Side note: cross-posting is fine in some instances, such as posting a new blog post across a few different platforms. That works great for link building, but that’s not the point of today’s blog, so let’s get back to content.

Producing original content is the way to go for each platform, since Facebook is different from Instagram, and Twitter is different from Snapchat. What are your goals for this campaign? Would it produce more results on Facebook or Snapchat? Utilizing branded content allows your brand to bond with your target audience, reinforce the purpose of your product, and demonstrate how it can enhance their lives.

Let’s say you have a makeup brand. You wouldn’t post on Twitter that you have a new line of eyeshadow pallets. Instead, you want to show the new colors and palettes via an Instagram story. You also want to create a tutorial video using the eyeshadows which visually shows how they blend together on your brand’s YouTube channel. This establishes the brand, showcases the product, and then enhances the product’s function and purpose on digital channels. This type of branded content will show your audience why they need what you are showing them. You aren’t even necessarily trying to sell it to them. In this instance, you are showing them how your product can give them the “look” they’re going for.

User-generated content produces sales.

When executed to the fullest, branded content produces sales and recognition. The important fact for brands to understand is how to influence brand equity and loyalty. If brands can create custom content to generate user engagement, 90% of their job is done. That custom content will create sales without the buyer fully realizing that they are responding to an advertisement.

How many times have you been scrolling through your Instagram feed, seen an ad, clicked the call to action link, and purchased the product? I just did today. Instagram video ads get me every time. I am a sucker for branded content. Perfectly-generated content that is curated for your target audience will succeed every day. Show them why they NEED your product, and they will hit the “buy it now” button.

So, to answer the question of which type of content, branded or equity, is best for businesses to use, the solution is that your brand needs both. Once your brand has built up its product awareness and established brand equity, producing branded content will be second nature. Just remember to always speak to your target audience.

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