Takeaways on Elevating the State of Brand-Funded Content


Elevate, the industry-building retreat for brand marketers and their partners, was designed to address the opportunities and challenges facing marketers in a media environment where interruption is increasingly less effective. The Elevate Trails addressed these opportunities and challenges, each featuring a group of hand-selected advisors and partners whose strengths lie in the investment, support, distribution, and measurement of brand-funded content. Each of these topics was introduced and discussed on stage by an expert panel, followed by breakout sessions in which small group conversations amongst industry leaders aimed at developing best practices, strategies and tactics took place.

I took the opportunity to sit in on these discussions and hear what the people at the heart of the content marketing world are really talking about, from what excites them to what’s holding them back and everything in between. The following is a distillation of the discussions on the subjects of investment and support into the most salient points necessary for brand marketers to be effective in their pursuit of creating effective brand-funded content for a marketing purpose.

As interruptive messaging becomes less effective, how do we choose what to invest in? How do we evaluate content, formats, medium? This discussion focused on how to make the right investment decisions. There are a lot of choices out there for marketers with constant innovation and an ever-expanding palette of mediums and formats – contributors discussed how to evaluate the landscape, from content types and formats to partners and platforms:

  • Last year, conversations revolved around 6 second video and keeping content short. But in that time, things have changed. Today, more brands and creatives are getting away from social only bite-size video and are focused instead on longer form “legitimate” content.

  • While format and platform trends have changed, the content goal remains the same: to connect emotionally with the consumer.

  • An idea alone is not enough to present when seeking investment

  • ​Doubling down on data at the investment stage brings strength to a pitch.

  • Measuring performance and recycling it back into data collection can provide long-term value for additional projects.

  • Building in a monetization component will appeal to the C-suite as well as improve the ability to measure content performance upon completion.

  • Leading with what you intend to measure and how by setting objectives and KPIs is essential when pitching the C-suite.

  • Be clear upfront – brand-funded content and commercials are not the same, and therefore shouldn’t be budgeted the same way.