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How Branded Content and Native Advertising are Different?

Branded Content and Native Advertising

The preferences of today‘s generation are no longer the same as they were in the past. They have changed over time, and as a result, marketing has changed too. Traditional ways of advertising are no longer effective as millennials don‘t respond well to intensive selling techniques. They are more attracted to brands that provide a pleasant experience. Based on their skills, they build a relationship with the brands they like. It is more about relevant and meaningful connections than just buying something and forgetting about it at the end.

Brands do just that using branded content. In an era when the audience is blocking the 24*7 advertisement chase using ad blockers, branded content has become a saviour that has a positive impact on people.

Let’s know more about it in detail and differentiate between branded content and native advertising.

Branded Content

We all know that ‘content is king“ But you need to keep in mind that every type of content isn’t king. According to a study, 34% of customers are more likely to take an unplanned purchase decision if a brand personalizes its content. Right here, the idea of branded content kicks in.

Differentiating between branded content and native advertising is crucial for any marketer. Though they are both similar, they serve different purposes and should be used as such.

Branded content is a new term in the marketing sphere, but many people confuse it with native advertising. Branded content is any type of content that enhances a consumers experience and helps in establishing a relationship with the business. This can include anything from a video, article, graphic, podcast, or any other form of content.

A branded content piece evokes emotions in the audience regularly and influences them to go to the brand. The brand doesnt reach out to the audience as much as the content does. The content is created in such a way that it does not focus on making a sale. Instead, it educates, engages, and entertains the audience on a different level.

Lego Movie is one of the best examples of content marketing at its finest. Of course with branded content! The building blocks of childhood turned out to be the building blocks of success for the company.

Of course, the use of logos made the emotional connection bigger. The brand brought our yesteryear’s plaything to life and presented it to us in an entertaining way. 

This brand-specific content had people so much fun that they forgot it’s a marketing trick. There have been a couple of more movies like the Lego Ninjago and Lego Batman.

The Lego Movie

The following are the attributes of branded content which differentiate it from others.

It generates conversation

One of the most critical factors of branded content is that it creates a buzz focused on the brand, not the sale. If people mention, share and view your content that means it has established a conversation with them. You can use the same key metrics to measure the success of your campaign.

It targets the value propositions, not the product

Today’s audience is smarter than ever. So, branded content helps them find some value either in an informative or entertaining way. It’s the kind of content people are attracted towards and look forward to consuming it.

It evokes emotions

As said earlier, branded content doesn’t focus on sales; it attracts the audience by evoking their emotions. Instead of providing rational arguments, it connects the audience on a personal level.

It tells a tale

The Lego Movie is one example of content marketing at its finest. Of course with branded content! The building blocks of childhood turned out to be the building blocks of success for the company.

It is data-driven

It’s the era of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Marketers are done with the guesswork to create a campaign. Data helps a brand to create a story and measure its response through its campaign. 

It includes collaboration & sponsorship

Brands collaborate with influencers or other brands regularly as a strategy to amplify their reach. Branded content helps in that.

Effectiveness of Branded Content

Traditional methods of marketing a product to the audience are becoming outdated. Marketers have started newer methods of introducing content to the audience. For example, sponsored posts on social media, billboards, advertising emails, display ads and a lot more. However, you won’t check each of them proactively, would you? The only way to get those types of standard ads to work is if you really focus on the advertisement design to ensure it stood out. And since that’s typically hard, hence branded content or even native advertising works better.

But there are some content pieces that you would go after and look for. Let’s talk for an example: Dove’s Real Beauty video campaign. It’s yet another example of branded content. This video showed an artist drawing the sketches of women based on their descriptions. Over 1050 Procreate brushes were the brushes selection that the artist used in sketching.

In the next phase, the artist created the same women’s portraits. However, this time, strangers described them. The difference between these two sketches was outstanding. This video campaign went viral as expected and garnered 50 million views in just 12 days of its release.

When branded content puts forth such a story, it also makes you come back for more. Since it doesn’t revolve around a forceful sales concept, the audience gains trust in the brand. That’s how branded content works effectively.

Branded Content vs Native Advertising – Differences

People often get confused between these two terms. But there lie differences between the two. Understanding the differences helps in getting the message out in the right way at the right time and right place.

Native advertising comes into play when marketers understand that the customers have evolved and can quickly figure out the purpose of an ad.

Native advertising is a form of online advertising that is designed to blend in with the surrounding content. This type of advertisement can take many different forms but is often designed to look like an article or piece of content from the publisher. Native advertising is a popular way to reach consumers because it can be less intrusive than other forms of online advertising.

Suppose that you’re specialized in logo design. If you give logo design ideas to other designers using interactive Facebook sponsored posts, but in a subtle way, you ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, it is native advertising.

Here is an example of native advertising.


KPMG appearing on the BrandVoice page of Forbes is a brilliant example of native advertising. The platform is dedicated to sponsored content. Along with KPMG, many other brands such as Deloitte, SAP, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and more have their dedicated BrandVoice channels.

With the “The Great Rewrite” campaign, KPMG has revolutionized its native content. The appearance is big and bold (ideal for native advertising), and it has a different topic related to various industries. It shows how those topics are rewritten after innovation. The campaign is easy to navigate with a rich look and feel.

What’s important to note is

Remember, the campaign makes a point here. It focuses on connecting the brand with upcoming innovations while adding new topics about different sectors. In every chapter, you will find different types of content such as featured articles, videos along with content recommendations. That’s a brilliant example of native advertising.

The sole purpose of native advertising is leading to creation and sales generation. It leverages other platforms besides the brand’s own platform to place a paid ad like you want to place an ad on Google AdWords for book cover designs or other products or services. On the other hand, the branded content is published on its channels.

Here is the most apparent difference — native advertising is “sales” in nature while branded content is all about storytelling.


Don’t bother about which one of these two is better. It’s because you won’t find the right answer. The only way is to understand both to draw the attention of your audience. The most crucial factor is to understand your goals and the ability to spend on every campaign.

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Anne Carton

Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplaces. She has authored several blogs, articles, and editorials on various topics related to interactive content, concerning the design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing, and e-commerce.

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