This post is by Sandra Peat, Strategy Director at ONE TWO FOUR.

More than ever before, consumers are in the driving seat when it comes to brand communications. They are both savvy and cynical, making it ever more challenging to produce content that cuts through. Content can be a fantastic way to build relevance and engagement with your audience, leveraging their interests through credibility and awareness. However, in this day and age, it's essential that brands think beyond the obvious content options and be more creative with how they speak to their audience, while still adding value. To hit the sweet spot, brands must therefore create a balance between their objectives and listening to its audiences' passions - and deliver content when and where they want it.

Adrian Pettett, CEO of Cake, recently made the statement that "There's never been a greater need for boldness and disruption. Ultimately it's about brilliant ideas, now more than ever." Brands need to be more creative and bolder in their approach to content today to stand out and appeal to their audience. More often than not, content is viewed as a sure fire way to deliver messages but brands are not accurately observing how their audience consume content and in what way.

We recently asked 2,000 UK consumers what their views are on branded content, why they think brands create content and what methods are most effective. Our research showed that exactly half (50%) claimed that when brands produce content that is intrusive, they are likely to think less of a brand, whereas 45% said content that is entertaining is most memorable. From our research, it is clear that brands need to give content more attention to ensure they are adding value to their consumers, while of course meeting the required objectives for their brand.

Red Bull is a brand that emulates this brilliantly and genuinely gives a unique experience to its consumers. With the creation of The Red Bull Music Academy, it has united its core fan base with what is most important to them - the power of music. Its series of global music workshops and festivals are a collaborative platform that brings together the brand's core values with people who are passionate about music creativity. Red Bull has achieved a status beyond giving consumers 'wings' in the form of its taurine-fuelled energy drink and created a place for itself in contemporary culture. It has given real-life experiences to people across the world that are deeply entwined within the participants' lives, making it almost impossible to separate where the brand experience starts.

It's critical that brands have a clear vision of what their content needs to achieve to ensure they are using the right creative mechanism to create a memorable connection. Finding a way to say something interesting to your audience which enriches their experience through entertainment and creativity will prove you have a genuine reason to speak to them. This in turn will strengthen your relationship with them as they entrust you with their attention. Getting the balance right between the messages you're communicating and how this plays into your overall strategy against what your audience is most interested in will be the deciding factor in making content cut through.