3 branded content trends to keep an eye on in 2021

Trend 1: Brands develop programs inspired by TV-formats

Travel shows, food shows, reality series, documentaries and talk shows are just a handful of the formats that brands went for in 2020.

We call it Branded Programming, and we believe that this type of format will grow even more in 2021, and that we will also see completely new formats such as branded fiction.

More and more brands are experimenting with these entertaining longform formats, to maintain and increase engagement with their target audiences.

Trend 2: More focus on the story and less on the brand

Stories are best told when there is room to unfold characters and plot. This also applies to stories told by brands. Therefore, another branded content trend, that we believe we will see more of, is longer, quality productions. Productions where the history, entertainment, and relevance in relation to the target group are increased. Simultaneously the brand messaging itself is expected to be toned down further.

It takes courage! We call it Brand Braveness to dare to work with entertainment in this way. To build content based on the interests of your target group.

Trend 3: Series and long-form

Binge-worthy series created by brands and corporates will also gain more traction in branded entertainment. Both series with serial action and stand-alone sections, under a common program heading. We predict that companies will increasingly set the tone in the debate and provide both thought leadership and e-learning through entertainment formats.

E.g., ‘Oprah – for Tech’ (talk show). The ‘Press Lodge’ – for Health (debate program). Real life ‘Suites’ by a leading law-firm (workplace reality). Even via their very own formats, which we see from e.g. The Danish Armed Forces, who created a reality series of 4 episodes that provides a real and honest insight into what officers’ education requires. Instead of just talking about what themselves, the Danish Armed Forces has successfully taken their audience engagement further by providing their target group with 35 minutes of binge-worthy entertainment loaded with insights and learning.

Common to series and longform is that they have more ‘time’ available. They’re not trying to squeeze the message down to a 30-second version. Accordingly, more time allows brands to add nuance to their stories and unfold their messages in an in-depth and factual way. Consequently, this allows the brands to claim industry expert roles instead of being dismissed as “mere” advertisers. The target audience will find their way to the “CTA button” if the message and story are relevant enough.

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