There is a rise of brands moving towards producing, sponsoring, and being a part of movies and other forms of media. This new trend is brand integration.
We all must have witnessed some form of branded entertainment where the script of a TV show or film media, though entertaining, revolves around a certain brand. Remember how White Castle became an integral part of the movie Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle?
What Is Brand Integration?
Brand Integration allows a brand to reach out to the consumers by integrating the brand within the entertainment media content which is consumed by the users as entertainment. The brand is interwoven within the script, showcasing products, functions and unique features.
Brand integration isn’t a typical brand advertisement. It includes entertaining and engaging storytelling which integrates the brand in such a way that it doesn’t look and feel like a brand promotion.
History of Brand Integration
Brand Integration (also called branded entertainment) has been in existence ever since the launch of the television where shows were linked with one specific brand as the show’s sponsor. This made the promotion more obvious as it is today and hence was transformed into TV Commercials soon.
Branded entertainment is still the trend nevertheless. Brands have found new medium and strategies to showcase the content.
A modern-day brand/product integration is different from as it was in 1950’s. The content is more entertaining, engaging, and the brand is moulded in it in such a way that despite it being an hour long advertisement, people still watch it and have a want for more.
Brand Integration vs Product Placement
The semantics say it all. Brand/Product placement is the placement of a brand or a product in one or more scenes of the film, for example – an actor eating lays chips during a scene, whereas brand/product integration is when the entire scene revolves around the brand, for example – a scene shot in a Domino’s outlet and revolves around a pizza.
Why is Brand Integration beneficial in Marketing?
Brand Integration can be used to fulfil both long term and short term objectives of a business. While on one hand, product placement increases the sale of the product, brand integration helps in increasing the brand equity.
Usual promotional mediums are so saturated and predictable that brands have had to shift to a different and integrated content medium to promote themselves and their product. When we talk about usual ad mediums, consumers can now tune out ads from rest of the content and ads get less attention, retention and benefit as compared to the price brands pay for it.
Unlike advertisements, which push the consumer to watch the content, brand integrations are a content of their interest. This marketing strategy pulls the consumer to watch the content and get a positive image of the brand in their mind at the same time.
Brand Exposure and Engagement
The financial investments involved in executing a brand integration strategy maybe huge as many influencers and strategists may be involved in the production process. But this investment may do wonders for the brand like it was seen in the case of Dell when it made What Lives Inside which generated more than 6 million engagement.
Intel and Toshiba played a similar move when they came up with “The Beauty Inside”. The campaign resulted in an 8 to 12 per cent increase in both brand awareness and purchase intent across all four films.
Videos are more attractive
According to a recent study, viewers spend more time watching digital videos than social networks.
According to a Custom Content Council survey, 73% percent of respondents said that branded content is better than magazine ads, 63% percent preferred it to TV advertising, 62% favoured it over direct mail, and 59% said it trumps public relations.
Users may even pay for it
The high costs of brand integration strategy may be transferred to the user if the brand plays a clever move and release the motion picture as a movie or on any paid platform like Hulu, Netflix, etc.
Future of Brand Integration
Brands are entering a new era where digital innovation is the new trend. They are moving to where the millennials are. Brand Integration is nothing but a form of authentic storytelling which is crafted according to the trend and needs and wants of the consumer and the brand.
To make it more precise, branded entertainment converge the needs and wants of both the consumer (who want more entertainment), and brands (which want more exposure and brand engagement). This along with an increase in video content engagement during the past years have made it easy to conclude about the success of this marketing strategy in the coming years. Many marketers will be seen investing in brand integration practices and users can expect amazing content from them.
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A startup consultant, digital marketer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 20 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.