Branded Content, Celebrity Partnerships and Best Practice - What we can Learn from the Repucom Conference

12/03/2014

Branded content is becoming the buzz phrase of our time – with giants like Red Bull and Mondelez pushing the boundaries of the content spectrum.

Barney Price Sponsorship Manager London Branded Content Celebrity Partnerships Repucom
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Barney Price, from the Media Partnerships team, attended a Branded Content conference last week hosted by Repucom, global leaders in marketing research behind advertising – particularly the areas of sponsorship and non-traditional marketing.

Here they explain what they learned from the conference, which featured representatives from creative agencies, broadcasters and right holders.
Brands are slowly dipping their toes into the murky waters of branded content and as part of the Branded Content work stream it’s our job to make sure we are as well versed as possible to provide an expert opinion on the area. The Repucom conference last week showed us how the latest technology and data can help us produce the very best in branded content.
 
Celebrity ratings for brands
 
Which celebrity fits best with your brand? At the Repucom conference, we first looked at the data behind a programme called the Celebrity DBI (Davie Brown Index). The tool is named after Davie Brown, the former Chief Exec of Pepsi who noticed a gap in the market of evaluating the fit with celebrities with marketing endorsement; so he took the initiative to fund the production of a tool which uses market research to quantify consumer perceptions of brand endorsements. 
 
Developed in 2006 by the celebrity talent division of The Marketing Arm, an Omnicom Group, it was merged with Repucom in 2013 and now covers 13 markets.
Today the tool can be used to narrow down celebrities to a specific marketing group or smaller UK celebrities – not just global celebrities and athletes. 
 
Repucom took us through how the DBI allows celebrities to be scored against a number of brand metrics, which can be defined by the client, to assess the synergy between individuals and the brand to match the appropriateness of the fit. Repucom continually refresh the celebrity index, which can allow for a brand to potentially catch a celebrity or athlete on their way up in consumer perceptions and benefit from their increased status down the line.
 
We learnt that Andy Murray moved up 200 places after winning Wimbledon whereas Nigella Lawson dropped 300 places after her trust score decreased by 9 following the recent drug controversies. Whilst these might be seen as obvious public perception swings, the DBI allows for precise science behind the art, documenting which areas have changed – rather than simply relying on client or marketer hunches! 
 
This insight can also be used to measure perceptions and comparisons between markets, providing insight and recommendations based on locally researched data.
 
Best practice in branded content
 
The second half of the conference turned into a roundtable discussion between all attendees and provided a very useful insight as we were the sole representatives from media agencies.
 
Creative agencies, broadcasters and rights holders gave us an insight into the different challenges and objectives from other parties in getting branded content, and especially ad-funded programming to work.
 
We started to look at finding best practice within the sector - ideally for the rights holders to increase the number of branded content deals - which reached a conclusion that branded content can’t be evaluated and shouldn’t be sold in based purely on media value.
 
Both Sky (broadcaster) and Shine Group (production agency and licenser) spoke about the recent Max Factor product placement and sponsorship partnership with The Face, providing insight on how the deal came about and the client’s perception post-campaign.
 
Whilst research provided by SPA proved the positive effectiveness of both the sponsorship and PP, it was actually the on pack connection that was of the most benefit to the client, and what defined it a success. The relationship that Max Factor had with retailers dramatically improved because of the activity, giving them larger shelf space and the upper hand in negotiating their trading deals – something that new TV creative would never be able to affect.
 
As Carat’s relationship with our clients adapts to be more aware of their business objectives and trying to shortening the path to convergence, branded content allows for a fantastic opportunity for us to offer more than just outstanding media value, but also to help brands improve their other business challenges, challenging the commercial model to the benefit to all parties involved.
Barney Price Sponsorship Manager London Branded Content Celebrity Partnerships Repucom
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