Neal Zuckerman, partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group, focused his presentation at the INMA World Congress around branded content.

“Where do we think the next source of growth could come from?” Zuckerman asked the audience. “We think branded content.”

However, the exact definition of branded content is still unclear, he added: “When you Google branded content, you get 72 million results.”

Zuckerman defines it as this: content with a consumer benefit in an authentic environment in the service of a brand.

For branded content to be effective, the environment it’s placed in must be natural and relevant. He used the counter-example of putting a diaper ad in a teen magazine. The two do not typically go together.

After conducting a 4,500-person survey, consisting of answers from people of various ages, countries and ethnicities, Zuckerman found once they encountered branded content, 86% found they liked it. In addition, 65% demanded and sought out the branded content.

However, the survey also found that if a person already dislikes a brand, then the branded content makes a person dislike the brand even more.

“After consuming branded content, trust increases,” Zuckerman said.

He wrapped up his talk giving a few tips on what attributes are critical for branded content: credibility, design, humour, thought-provoking and short content: “As audiences change over time, branded content acceptance will, as well.”