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Branded content is fast emerging as a recognised form of content in its own right – giving brands and agencies a platform to promote themselves and gain new audiences along the way. But what happens when a client wants to use Virtual Reality (VR) in their campaign and it is just not appropriate? 

How does T Brand Studios at The New York Times and Facebook Creative Shop manage these client expectations without losing business?

At The Drum Studios branded content event last month, this question was put forward to panelists culminating in some interesting responses. Global editorial director of T-Brand Studios, New York Times, Nelly Gocheva responded by saying it largely depends on the client’s objectives.

“Clients come to us and ask whether they can use VR. We always ask them: ‘What is the story you want to tell and your KPIs?’ Let’s first see if VR makes sense for your campaign,” she said. “We try to educate them as much as we can by giving them our advice and recommendations.”

She added: “But you must stay true to your audience as well. That’s why the client has come to us in the first place – because they want access to our audience. You want to make sure you create content that will resonate with the audience as well.”

But managing this expectation can become tricky when the client does not know what they want to achieve out of their campaign – a surprisingly common occurrence. And the potential of using these emerging technologies only enables the client to hide behind it, gaining a ‘shine by association’ in the process, according to Elizabeth Valleau, global creative strategist at Facebook Creative Shop.

“In the old days we used to ask clients: do you actually think you should be advertising on the internet at all? That was back when the internet was still a bit of the wild west and people were going for intimate and authentic experiences.”

She continued: “That turned to brands coming to us and saying: can you do a viral?  Now, brands are saying we would like to get into this branded content/entertainment arena. But what do you have to say? And who cares? You don't need this to succeed.”

For more insights from this event, check out why our panelists thought transparency is key to raising the bar for high quality branded content.  Listen to the highlights of the event below.

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