How to Create Branded Content on a Budget
Branded content used to be something that only bigger companies could afford.
Certainly with video, a piece of branded content would be something that brands would use to entertain their audiences without there being a heavy sales message. Branded content would never feature USPs or core value propositions or any of the usual things you’d find in corporate videos. As a result, brand videos have gained a reputation for being a luxury item.
However, you can tell by the amount that familiar brands are investing in branded content that they work really well – especially in the B2C space. It’s a market that’s only going from strength to strength, so why should it be a marketing strategy only reserved for large brands? Why can it not be something that smaller companies and B2B brands use?
At Bold Content, we believe that branded content in the B2B space is a huge opportunity for brands brave enough to take the leap. Once such brand was our client Holland Properties, a real estate agency based out of Canary Wharf. Their Creative Marketing Manager contacted us because they were keen to use the power of branded content to open them up to new markets and new audiences who might not otherwise be reached by traditional sales-based marketing.
Because Holland Properties is not a global brand with a huge budget, they couldn’t justify committing their whole budget to a video, so they reached out to us to see if we could help them with a campaign that would be impactful and make some social difference without blowing their marketing budget.
As Holland Properties has sponsorship in place with a charity called Peckham BMX, their brief was to create a documentary-style video that raised awareness of the sports club and the amazing work the charity does.
We went through a process of creative development getting to understand Holland Properties’ goals for the project and working out how we could meet those goals and create a powerful piece of branded content that could also raise awareness about the social enterprise they support.
Holland Properties wanted the brand video for their launch event, which was also a charity fundraising event for Peckham BMX – so we knew we had to find an authentic and exciting way to tell this story that would capture the attention of their audience.
We soon discovered that Peckham BMX does more than just help to keep kids off the streets. It trains young people to become athletes and teaches them that they can achieve great things when they put their minds to it. Operating in a low income area, Peckham BMX is helping to buck the trend that British Olympians only come from privileged, suburban backgrounds. The club is nestled between two tower blocks and is fast becoming the country’s number one club for the sport. Since it started in 2004 the club has contributed 7 British Olympic team members, including Kye Whyte who won a silver medal in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
As this charity is very special, we didn’t want to produce your usual, corporate documentary.
We had a 2 day shoot in Peckham, starting at sunrise. The narrative was planned and storyboarded in advance, as we knew the story we wanted to tell because we had pre-interviewed our protagonist Shani over various video calls beforehand. We planned to interview Shani, her mother Mary, and another rider called Kieran – to give a broad overview of the charity and the impact it has on the community.
But the narrative changed whilst we were filming the interviews because Kieran ended up saying some amazing things in his interview that we wanted to feature. As a result, we knew we would end up using him more than we initially thought, which meant we had to get footage of him going around the track.
On the day of the shoot we attached a GoPro to Kieran’s bike and filmed a back-wheel-eye-view of him as he was pedaling. We also had a FPV drone following him, which got really close to him whilst he was flying around the track (don’t worry he had a helmet on so it was safe!) FPV drones are amazing because they can capture really exciting shots. Our operator was at one end of the track wearing VR goggles, whilst Kieran was at the other end of the track, and they were trying to compete with each other in terms of who could go fastest over the jumps on the track. Whilst this wasn’t planned, it resulted in fast-paced dynamic footage that was full of fun and character that we used in the final cut.
By using the drone and the Gopro, we were able to elevate the genre of documentary beyond a stuffy talking head video and make something more youthful and exciting that also reflects the subject matter of the video. This is a specialism that we’re really proud of at Bold Content.
We love to help our clients create something that isn’t your average video. This CSR documentary was very music-driven, almost becoming another character in the film. We used a track by a drum and bass artist called Black Sun Empire who kindly said we could use the track in return for a donation to the war effort in Ukraine. This meant that we were able to support another cause in the process of producing this video.
We worked pro-bono on the project, donating our time to pushing this video above-and-beyond the standard corporate video. The equipment we used was sponsored by FOMO Rentals who provided a free high-end camera with some anamorphic lenses which made the whole production look super professional. This is one of the benefits of creating content with a social purpose, as we can usually stretch the budget further because other people are willing to get onboard and help.
Holland Properties premiered this video at their launch event. They had various sporting celebrities and members of Peckham BMX in attendance and showed video on the night and hosted a raffle to help raise money and build the profile of Peckham BMX.
The primary purpose of the video was to generate excitement around their charity sponsorship and show people the brilliant work that Peckham BMX do and the impact it has on people in the community. As a result, the return on investment that Holland Properties would get from this video would be brand recognition. The video underlines the fact that Holland Properties are supporting Shani, a young rider who could go on to big things and they are going to get brand uplift because of the positive association of doing charity work.
But the secondary purpose of this video was to create footage that could be used online.
For example, Holland Properties is very active on LinkedIn. As a B2B sales channel, this type of branded content is going to stand out massively from other estate agent content. One of the hardest things to do online is to break through the noise, but when people are scrolling through their LinkedIn feed and see an exciting drone shot going above a BMX track and a character portrait of a young rider, they are going to be far more compelled to watch that than they would a traditional estate agent video.
Holland Properties can also use short clips for their Instagram and other social media channels like TikTok or Snapchat, using drone shots or exciting shots of riders going past the camera. Using short form content on social media also gives them access to a different audience and maybe get them in front of people and put Holland Properties in places where you wouldn’t typically expect to find an estate agent.
This is something that we love to do as a video production company: help brands cut through this noise on social media by producing content that is surprising, emotive, story-based and has a CSR element to it. These are all our specialisms so this project really hit the sweet spot for us in terms of doing something good for the community and having a real marketing impact for our client.
It’s our hope that other brands could feel inspired to take up the challenge and create their own branded content in order to make a splash online. Get in touch if you would like to know more about how we could help you!