TOKYO: Branded content is an opportunity for media owners when the reputation of the publication itself and content quality are top of mind for readers, according to research by the Financial Times.

In partnership with research firm Kadence, the FT study took a two-stage approach, firstly through talking to an online community of 50 high-net-worth individuals and decision-makers, followed by an online survey and interviews with more than 500 global respondents.

When it comes to driving branded content, the brand itself takes a backseat to the quality of the content because the study found 64% of respondents believed the quality of branded content is more important than the brand sponsoring it. (For more on how media owners should approach branded content, read WARC’s report: Getting branded content right: Insights from Financial Times.)

“Quality was considered by the vast majority to be more important compared to the (host) publication or the sponsor,” said Lexi Jarman, global director of content solutions for the Financial Times at the Advertising Week Asia 2018 conference.

“We found that the brand was actually less of consequence than both the quality of the content and the publisher themselves,” she added.

This makes it paramount for brands to choose “the correct publisher to work with, and that the publisher is willing to take responsibility for the audience’s expectations”.

Three-quarters of respondents said they would only read a piece of branded content if they considered it to be good quality: “If the piece of content in front of them is not actually going to be good quality, they would really turn off, and very quickly,” Jarman said.

“Quality is understood to be the driving force behind successful branded content,” she added. “If high quality isn’t maintained in all aspects, then quite simply, the audience will not engage in it, which is really detrimental for all concerned… It must be clearly stated it’s branded content, be impartial, be based on facts.”

Sourced from WARC