Road To 2022: Content fatigue on the rise - Is Branded Content losing its creative edge?

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Ritesh Ujjwal

Ritesh Ujjwal of Kofluence shares his two cents on how marketers and content creators can rise above the clutter of content, in the endless sea of sponsored posts which lead to content fatigue.

With content consumption scaling up and attention span reducing every day, marketers are doubling down their brand visibility on various social media platforms. Brand Managers are increasingly shifting previously allocated marketing budgets from traditional paid advertising channels to branded content and hoping to jump on the 'vitality' bandwagon.

The result? An oversaturation of uninspired sponsored posts, that more often than not misses the mark with its ultimate delivery.

Before influencer marketing gained traction, celebrity endorsements were all the rage, with marketers capitalising on a celebrity's existing mass appeal for brand outreach. As audiences craved for the 'relatability factor', a new breed of content creators emerged, namely 'influencers' who provided them the real-life correlation that they desperately needed.

Also read: Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns that broke the clutter

Influencer Fatigue Is Real

However, the reality in 2022 is that consumers do not blindly absorb content anymore and 'Influencer fatigue' is growing. In a world of sponsored content; from pregnancy announcements with brand partnerships, children promoting toys to 15-year-olds promoting arthritic gummies, how do we discern what's authentic and what's not?

As consumers become more intolerant of the endless conveyor belt of branded posts on social media, it is now more important than ever for brands to step up their creative strategies and engage their audiences without them feeling sold to.

How can marketers and content creators rise above the noise?

Storytelling Over Selling

Creating effective branded content starts with identifying stories that are important for your target audience, finding ways to relate it with your brand values, and by extension your product/service offerings. Making it more about the consumer and less about the product, triggers a favourable response from the users, whether it be a simple like on the post or a direct sale.

When crafting the message, it is important that marketers give it an approachable tone, keeping instruction-led 'selling style' language to a minimum.

Using a multi-sensory-driven approach for delivery through audio and video formats further adds to higher brand recall and retention among consumers. With new social media trends emerging every day, the number of marketing tools and channels available is endless but the core idea remains simple- Keep it interactive, accessible and value driven for the ultimate end-users.

Also read: Samosa Talks: How Branded Content on Instagram moves business outcomes

One size does not fit all

What many brands fail to realise is that the same creative cannot be refurbished and circulated across different platforms. For any branded content to have maximum impact, they have to be specifically tailored to the social media channel it appears. For example, while a 280 characters based pitch might work for Twitter, it might not bode well for Instagram, which is dominated by images and snackable short video formats.

Brands should first identify the singular creative strand that will run through all their influencer activities, and then tweak the campaign creatives accordingly to be well optimised as per the respective social media channel algorithms.

Transparency On Sponsored Posts

Content creators must label their sponsored posts with tags such as #ad or #paid in alignment with ASCI guidelines and brands/agencies should support the initiative not just for compliance purposes, but in the interest of protecting consumers from being misled.

Brands fear that full disclosure on sponsored posts may impact its authenticity and turn off users, however it does more good than bad in the long run since there is a greater level of transparency and accountability between all participants. It also eases the users mind and makes them more receptive to branded content.

User Generated Content For More Authenticity

Choosing a bunch of Influencers and asking them to parrot a brand-scripted voiceover verbatim with minimal variations is exactly what not to do when aiming for authentic content. Most social media users relate better with creators who can provide their genuine product or brand feedback on an individual level without being too 'salesy'.

It is extremely important that creators do some basic research and try out the products themselves so they are in a better position to talk about it on social media. Brands in turn should provide more creative control to the influencers and allow them to share their personal experiences in conjunction with their respective briefs and guidelines.

Synergy In Collaborations

A true sense of partnership must exist between brands, agencies, and influencers for authentic collaborations to shine through. While creators should not abuse campaign timelines and deliverables, brands should look at creators as creative partners who know their audiences better than anyone.

For content to come across as genuine, it must compliment the influencers profile and personality type. Brands must do prior checks to shortlist influencers who fit the brand narrative.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid creators who treat their feeds as a revolving door of various sponsorships.

Once all parties are on the same page, creating genuine content becomes a collaborative process, yielding much better outcomes. Long-term partnerships over one time collaborations are growing and for good reason.

Closing Thoughts

The global Influencer marketing industry is projected to reach up to a $26.4 billion market size by the end of 2025, therefore needlessly to say it's not going anywhere. If mobilized correctly, influencers are a valuable commodity for brands to reach new audiences.

However, in this endless sea of sponsored posts cluttering our feeds, users are looking for authentic content now more than ever. Both content creators and brands alike must constantly upskill themselves to keep up to date with the burgeoning consumer demands. Creators who bank on their authenticity and creativity will start apart from the pack. While brands that leverage creators as true partners will withstand the increasingly competitive landscape of influencer marketing.

This article piece is authored by Ritesh Ujjwal, Co-founder & CEO, Kofluence as a part of the Road To 2022 series.