Outlook: Branded content in 2024
Jonah Gabriel
Issue: November/December 2023

Outlook: Branded content in 2024

Social media has become a dominant force in brand advertising, capturing a larger portion of marketing budgets each year. As this shift continues, brands are beginning to realize that the social media portion of their campaigns can’t simply be treated as a secondary extension of their traditional media campaigns. To be effective on social, brands can’t just repackage their larger campaigns — they must reimagine them.

Cutting down a television commercial for an Instagram post fails to recognize the specific sensibilities of the platform. Not only is the audience different on social media, but by porting over content that was made for traditional media, you’re also porting over the constraints that come with it.

What works on social varies from platform to platform and changes very quickly. So, creating entertaining — and therefore, effective —social content requires an insider's understanding of the platforms and the people who use them. At Real Good, we believe content should be a welcome addition to your feed rather than an interruption of it. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to making great branded content for social media platforms.

Make content that you want to see

Our creative team grew up making and consuming viral content. So, as we begin developing creative for each new campaign, we do so with the goal of making something that would entertain us. From this foundation of genuine enjoyment, we integrate the brand into the work in a way that feels natural and unforced. This approach results in content that feels more like entertainment than an ad.

Work that might feel risky is actually quite safe on social. The content that makes people laugh on social is strange, silly, quick, irreverent and new. Content creators are trying a lot of different things all the time and seeing what sticks. Don’t be afraid to do the same thing as you try to find your brand’s voice on social.

Don’t try to outsmart or ‘outcool’ your audience. By virtue of being a brand on social media, you’re already being viewed as an interloper trying to keep up with the kids by mimicking their vernacular. Effective brands on social media endear themselves to the audience by being self-aware and acknowledging that they’re not automatically invited to the party.

Some creators and brands we think are using social perfectly are Nutter Butter’s incredibly strange Instagram, Doja Cat and Taco Bell’s collaboration on Tik Tok, the Barbie Selfie Generator that everyone used that one week, and pretty much everything that MSCHF does.

As brand advertising continues to shift more towards social media, the need for content specifically tailored for these platforms is undeniable. Brands aiming to stay relevant should be willing to try new things, pay attention and take risks in order to make content that is unique and unexpected and, therefore, at home on our feeds.

Jonah Gabriel is the Founder & Creative Director of boutique creative studio Real Good (www.realgood.tv).