Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” While this quote is inspirational as it applies to everyday interactions, it turns out this is especially true when it comes to branded content . . . but only if that content is personally relevant to the consumer.

Eighty eight percent of consumers say that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about the brand, according to a joint study by OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group. More than two-thirds of consumers say that branded content is at its best when it educates or informs them, but of the 1,500 US consumers surveyed, only 17 percent named entertainment as the most important factor.

“More than ever, consumers expect and demand a personally relevant experience wherever they go and whatever they do digitally,” said Adam Weinroth, chief marketing officer for OneSpot, in a press release. “Findings from this research reinforce the need to make personalization a strategic priority for brands to remain relevant to consumers. Digital marketers who leave this irreversible trend unaddressed are missing a tremendous business opportunity and placing their brands and business results at risk.”

Source: OneSpot

Brands who produce thought-provoking content make the most impact, the study found. Consumers find content that “informs” (40 percent) and “educates” (28 percent) to be the most valuable. Surprisingly, only 17 percent say branded content that “entertains” is the most valuable while 11 percent want to be inspired.

“I really like how-to videos,” one respondent said. “Showing common and unusual uses for a brand gets me thinking about how I might be able to solve one of my own problems with the brand.”

Above all, content needs to be relevant, OneSpot warns. Forty five percent of consumers won’t spend time with branded content if it’s not relevant to their interests. This is especially true for reaching a millennial audience—51 percent of millennials are less interested in a brand’s products and services if branded content it doesn’t fit the bill. Getting it right yields plenty of rewards, though, with 88 percent of consumers responding that personally relevant content improves how they feel about a brand. Likewise, this type of content increases purchase intent for 78 percent and 50 percent say they would pay more for products and services.

When citing the most important categories for personally relevant content, consumers ranked health and wellness at the top with 72 percent, followed closely by food (71 percent) and electronics and technology (66 percent). This is interesting, because food brands have debuted quite a few branded content series this year.

The Earliest Show
The Earliest Show, presented by Quaker, focuses on the story of a news anchor’s very public break-up while periodically promoting Cap’n Crunch through purposely zany infomercials. (Source: Quaker)

Nutella and Starbucks, for example, both decided to create inspirational content for its audiences in 2016. Nutella’s feel-good series Spread the Happy tells the stories of individuals who make the world a better place by spreading kindness to others. Starbucks began a similar campaign in September with Upstanders, an original series that aims to inspire positive change amidst cynicism in the United States.

Meanwhile, Geico and Quaker have taken the entertainment route for its customers with comedy. Geico promoted its eSports sponsorship of SoloMid with TSM’s New Neighbor—a comedy series about an obnoxious neighbor who can’t get enough attention from the professional gamers. Cap’n Crunch teamed up with Funny or Die to create a comedy series called The Earliest Show that targets millennials watching TV in the middle of the night.

If you’re wondering where consumers are discovering this type of content, 50 percent of consumers surveyed cited Facebook as a primary discovery channel, followed by email and search—both at 29 percent, respectively.