What is Branded Entertainment?

What is Branded Entertainment?

What is Branded Entertainment?

What is Branded Entertainment? 366 222 Shlomi Ron

First off, what is Branded Entertainment?

“For us, it’s true original content that is being financed or co-produced with a brand partner for the purpose of entertaining an individual.”

-Chris Stefanyk
Head of Global Brand Partnerships, Wattpad

If you’re looking at the landscape of visual storytelling you may find two core areas:

  1. Branded Content, that is larger in scope and is designed to inform audiences using newsletters, podcasts, blog posts, photos, videos, or infographics.
  2. Branded Entertainment that is designed to entertain audiences using filmed entertainment products such as long-form cinematic films across genres (e.g., documentary, action, comedy, etc.), video games, or TV shows.

Both types allow brands to combine medium and message in support of larger brand narratives and achieve a wide range of business goals.

Unlike product placement where products are integrated into a finished script, in branded entertainment, brands are involved from day one in shaping the entire visual storytelling experience around their values (see The Lego Movie).

To help me further unpack this exciting space and in particular branded entertainment, I had a great time chatting with Chris Stefanyk, Head of Global Brand Partnerships at Wattpad.

It’s all in the latest episode of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast.

A bit about Wattpad

Wattpad is a leading social storytelling platform and home to a community of more than 94 million people who spend over 23 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories.

Chris and the Brand Partnerships team work with the world’s biggest brands to connect with Wattpad’s massive global community of more than 90 million people, of which more than 80% are Gen Z.

Wattpad’s Gen Z expertise and insights have helped brands like National Geographic, Microsoft, Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s, Sony, Netflix, Lionsgate, and many others connect with this group. Brand Partnerships has been recognized with industry awards, including Content Marketing and User-Generated Content awards from Digiday (2018 and 2019), a Shorty Social Good Award (2019), and an Influence THIS Award (2019).

We talked about his impressive journey in visual storytelling, what is branded entertainment, his process, notable projects, challenges, his top 3 tips – and much more (see full topic list below).

Watch the full video recording of this interview:

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Topics we discussed:

Use the time stamp markers on the above video to easily navigate.

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 3:15 What is your backstory?
  • 7:21 What is visual storytelling?
  • 9:26 What is branded entertainment?
  • 10:10 What is branded content?
  • 11:36 What’s the process?
  • 13:45 Repurposing content
  • 16:07 Data analytics
  • 17:05 Examples
  • 20:03 Target emotions
  • 20:46 CPG examples
  • 22:58 Short vs. long form films
  • 26:09 Business goals
  • 27:53 Integrated approach
  • 29:55 The audience role
  • 31:46 Success metrics
  • 33:33 UGC vs. pro studio
  • 35:50 Distribution channels
  • 36:57 Next projects?
  • 38:58 Streaming service?
  • 40:29 Top 3 tips

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

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