Crafting compelling narratives

Video branded content strategy

Crafting compelling narratives

Crafting compelling narratives:
The importance of a video branded content strategy

In the ever-evolving landscape of advertising, brands are faced with a staggering challenge. How do you create an original and compelling strategy to engage audiences? One of the ways is through immersive and authentic storytelling. Read our interview below, and dive into the realm of branded content, an effective tactic that puts your brand story at the centre of your digital strategy and is helping to transform advertising. Join us for an insightful conversation with Aaron Ries, Senior Manager of Content Strategy & Partnership at CBC/Radio-Canada Media Solutions, based in Toronto.

Aaron Ries, Senior Manager of Content Strategy & Partnership at CBC/Radio-Canada Media Solutions, based in Toronto.

Aaron Ries

Senior Manager of Content Strategy & Partnership at CBC & Radio-Canada Media Solutions, based in Toronto.

What makes branded content unique, as opposed to “Traditional Advertising”? Why should brands consider a video content-based approach?

Creating a branded content video strategy is an opportunity to create story-first content, with a human centered approach. Video content constitutes 65% of internet traffic1, preferred by audiences for consumption2. To succeed, brands require a comprehensive video strategy, not just a single piece of Brandsell creative. While hero ads remain important, they're insufficient on their own. Audiences are craving to spend more time with the brands they love - almost 70% of people follow brands they love on social media2, and 80% consumed a piece of branded content in the last year2 - there's a demand for more stories from the brands that we love. Longer content capitalizes on this, yielding up to 22x more time3 spent compared to traditional ads. Video Branded Content elevates your advertising, crafting compelling stories that meet audiences where they are, in native, embedded placements.

How do you make engaging content? What are the key things to keep in mind to create a compelling piece of branded content?

When crafting engaging content, we begin by identifying the common ground between brand objectives and audience interest. What is the big, bold, inspiring story that audiences are going to want to click on right away? Unlike traditional video ads, Branded Content flips the storytelling approach. We capture attention upfront, establish trust, and then guide the audience through an organic brand narrative, striving for prolonged engagement.

Our focus is on stories that align with the brand's goals while offering fresh insights or compelling inspiring stories. 'Content' to us means providing something new and educational. Consider BMW's Forces of Nature campaign—showcasing their electric vehicle shift through stories like Robert Kabera's journey from Rwandan genocide survivor to an AI startup founder that can detect where the next big hurricane might damage municipal power infrastructure. BMW's product mirrored the narrative, seamlessly aligning sustainability and intelligent design.

A natural alignment yields substantial results. Our research across 9 signature Branded Content campaigns (2020-2023) reveals that post-consumption, 81% better understood the brand's message, 79% improved their impression, and 72% displayed a higher likelihood to purchase from the advertiser. This strategic blend of storytelling and brand alignment proves rewarding.

How do you measure success for content-based campaigns? Is it worth the time and effort?

Defining success is crucial for content-based campaigns due to the substantial effort involved. Align goals with partners, focusing on story-driven video branded content for heightened Brand Awareness, understanding, and intent to purchase. These factors are measured through Brand Lift Studies with our CBC Toronto Research group, The sweet spot for these types of campaigns is top and mid-funnel. If you have a business challenge you need to address, and audience understanding that you need to shift to grow revenue - this is the right tactic for you. A recent Nielsen report of CMO's from around the world showed that growing brand awareness was the #1 top priority for Marketers going into this year4. While chasing sales-attribution performance based digital tactics can only get you so far, prioritizing memorable campaigns that impact Brand Awareness and Understanding is key. Aside from these, we assess metrics like time spent, engagement, and digital interaction to define the success of our content, correlating it with Brand Lift for a comprehensive performance view.

What are your favourite campaigns that you've worked on?

Two favorites come to mind. BMW's Forces of Nature campaign with us was a bold, brash GEM series that was a real pleasure to work on. We traveled North America to find inspiring individuals that aligned with their sustainability transformation. Or, Desjardins Meet our People, this video based campaign was a bit different - we tried to humanize the leaders at Desjardins Insurance as a B2B play to showcase the benefit of working with them. Getting to know other people passionate about their profession, and creating interesting portraits, and to create a content campaign with the added goal of creating B2B message with video content vs. a mass audience play, was a fun and rewarding challenge.

1. Hura ANWAR (2023). Video Accounts For 65% Of All Internet Traffic, New Study Proves. In Digital Information World.
[Online],-Dr.&text=A%20new%20study%20by%20Sandvine,currently%20seen%20on%20the%20internet. (Page consulted on August 17, 2023)

2. Jordan TEICHER. (2021). 2021 Contently Report: What Buyers Want from Content Marketing. In Contently.
[Online] (Page consulted on August 17, 2023)

3. Leah BJORNSON (2019). 16 Branded Content Stats that Prove Its Value. In Complete Guide to Branded Content.
[Online] (Page consulted on August 17, 2023).

4. NIELSEN. (2022). Brand awareness remains global marketers' top priority, but mass reach isn't what it used to be. In 2022 Annual Marketing Report
[Online] (Page consulted on August 17, 2023)

Partner with CBC & Radio-Canada Media Solutions to craft captivating video strategies that resonate with modern audiences, tapping into the demand for engaging narratives and elevating your brand's presence.


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