The Keys to Successful Brand Integrations in Video

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Cover image for  article: The Keys to Successful Brand Integrations in Video

The way we watch video has changed, but the reasons we watch it still hold true. We watch for the stories that captivate us and to follow the characters we love. Great content that is relevant to viewers holds the power to form meaningful connections with them.

With a multitude of options available to access the content they love, viewers can now consume video at an extraordinary rate. As a result, consumers' attention has scattered across platforms, making it more difficult for brands to meaningfully engage with them.

Marketers must wade through myriad options to find the fit that resonates with key audiences and, ultimately, drives brand advertising and integration. When marketers discover the right context, brands and content can play together harmoniously. Video — both linear and non-linear — provides the opportunity for brands to forge those contextual inroads.

Broadcast television, film, and digital streaming environments have brought brand messaging to life within video content — from Empire with Pepsi, to A Million Little Things with Hidden Valley Ranch, to Hidden Figures with IBM, to Netflix's Stranger Things with Coke, and across Hulu's original series with Miller Coors — the list goes on. Whether integrated into traditional broadcast, film, or streaming episodes, these brands were slotted into the plot and played an instrumental role in each episode's conflict. The efforts seemed organic, rather than contrived, seamlessly fitting into the world of the show or the life of a character.

Recently, Modern Family, the highly successful broadcast television comedy, kicked off its final season with a brand integration for Facebook's Portal. This latest integration comes after a long line of successes with brands such as Apple and National Association of Realtors woven organically into the show's plotline and character stories. Facebook's Portal integration into the premiere episode, however, was less well-received — at least by one vocal commentator — begging the question of what truly makes for successful brand integrations.

At the core, content and media must work hand-in-hand to showcase brands in functional, yet emotional ways. Context remains key and the method of content distribution is critical to delivery. To unlock organic connections with high-value audiences, the following methods have seen success when it comes to brand integrations:

  1. Approach with a storytelling philosophy

Marketers must understand their brand's objective and what assets it holds. This lies at the heart of the process in determining how to pair the brand with a network's or platform's content in the most authentic way. To create a natural synthesis with the platform, brands must appear within the context of an existing storyline. This organic element increases the chances of a viewer cultivating a favorable opinion of the brand.

  1. Don't to go it alone

Partnership marketing can drive incremental value to traditional media placements. The alignment to like-minded entities that connect with the same audiences can create shared value, driving a brand message forward. This effective form of advertising has a diminishing cost as the result of its longevity via syndication, multiplying the total number of audience impressions.

  1. Use product placement as part of the marketing mix, not a one-off

Brand integrations can also serve as the launchpads for larger campaigns by serving as an anchor for a multiplatform approach. Continuity of brand messaging and association with a piece of meaningful content gets extended through custom content creation, digital and social media amplification, and experiences.

Premium video, from its roots in film and television to its evolution into digital streaming, has always been about storytelling that creates an outlet for viewers to inform, entertain, and, in many instances, inspire. The ability for marketers to unobtrusively enter this equation through brand integration opens a whole realm of possibilities, resulting in more meaningful brand marketing.

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