Brand Integrations: The art of promoting authenticity through alignment
We’ve all seen videos, stories, and posts that promote products and services that seemingly come out of left field. Now, these are impressive in their own right, but there certainly is something refreshing, engaging, and impression-making when seeing promotions that fit seamlessly within the content and existing branding of the creator.
But, this begs the question: How does one figure out which sponsorship opportunities might be the right ones?
Well, the best place to start is with what’s already there. All good social media platforms and creators have some sort of unique, personal brand that creators work to establish and maintain with every new upload.
When approached by a brand, the first three questions a creator needs to ask themselves are:
- Would I personally use this product or service?
- Have I already talked about this subject naturally on my platform?
- Would this product or service be as much use to my audience as it might be to me?
If the answer is ‘Yes’ to even just one of these, then the brand in question is definitely one that the creator should, at least, entertain and learn more about.
After learning more about the brand, the next step is to try out the product or service that they are offering. A trial can serve as the deciding factor in whether or not to move forward with the promotion and will, in most cases, lead to a more authentic and brand-aligned integration as the creator can include their personal user experience.
Brand alignment within content is a win-win for both the creator and the brand. By carefully choosing, vetting, and working closely with brands that resonate with their audience and content, creators can maintain their personal branding, and continue being considered a voice of authority and influence to their audience.
Talking about how the creator uses/used a product or service in their life will help the audience to feel as though the integration is less of a scripted sales pitch and more of a life hack.
So, a creator has found a brand that fits their platform, now what?
Content creation is just as important as ensuring the fit of the brand. Yes, the brand is paying for the content, but the content will live on that creator’s channel and interact with their audience for a significant amount of time, sometimes even in perpetuity.
Brands vary on expectations of deliverables, but regardless of the brand’s expectations it is still the creator’s responsibility to ensure that the content remains 1) authentic, 2) accurate, and 3) aligned.
A great way to do this, aside from trial and research, is to integrate the content into an aligned video. For example, if a creator is promoting a health focused brand, it would make the most sense to have the integration within a video that at least touches on health, well-being, balanced-living, etc. versus a video that might be about the creator’s favorite childhood books.
Adding the integration into an aligned video should not disrupt the creator’s usual content either, as the brand should already fit somewhat naturally within it. In turn it will actually contribute to a feeling of authenticity and therefore lead to better audience reception.
What brand integrations often boil down to is authenticity. Nobody likes to be overtly sold on something, regardless of the relevance. Focusing on brand alignment within both the platform as a whole and the content itself will help to preserve creator authenticity, contribute to personal branding, and further the relationship and trust between a creator and their audience.