The likes of technology giant GE and energy drink brand Redbull may have become content powerhouses in their own right in recent years, but they were hardly pioneers in branded content.

“There were a whole host of brands who were doing this already,” said Lexi Jarman, the global director of content solutions for Financial Times, at the Advertising Week Asia 2018 conference held in Tokyo last month.

She disclosed that the FT embarked on a “quest” in early 2017 to study what quality branded content meant to audiences, in partnership with UK-based research company Kadence. A “two-stage approach” was taken, firstly through talking to a two-week online community of 50 high-net-worth individuals and decision makers, followed by an online survey and interviews with over 500 global respondents.

Here are a few key findings from the research:

1. Quality drives branded content, more so than the brand itself

When it comes to driving branded content, the brand takes a backseat to the quality of the content; the FT’s research showed that 64% of readers believe the quality of branded content is more important than the brand sponsoring it.