Branding and content marketing: ingredients for a strong brand

Did you know that every second, about 60 hours of video content is uploaded on YouTube? And that there are about 2 million blog posts published every day? All of this online noise makes it more difficult to reach the right audience online. On top of that, people are becoming increasingly critical about the content they consume. So, how can you position your brand to stand out from the crowd?

Dare to be different

Strong brands like Coca Cola, Nike and Spotify are successful because they dare to be different in both their brand and their message. We use the following unique mix of ingredients to build a strong brand:

  1. Authentic value: what makes you or your brand unique, real and genuine;
  2. Value proposition: what makes your story unique compared to someone who does exactly the same (work);
  3. Interested audience: a group of people who share the same needs, interests, problems, and frustrations;
  4. Effective medium: a combination of the right channels and resources to spread your message.

We use content marketing to shape these branding ingredients. Content marketing is the creation and distribution of online marketing material (such as blogs, videos, social media posts) in which the brand itself is not explicitly promoted but the content is valuable and relevant to the audience that consumes it. This powerful tool originated from the fact that, because of technological development, people are able to choose what content they want to consume nowadays. It all started with one simple invention – the remote control.    


Power to the people

In 1989, Nikola Tesla invented the remote-controlled boat. About 60 years later the remote control was first being used in US households. This invention made it possible for people to decide what they wanted to consume on TV for the first time.  

Due to the rise of the remote control, marketers could reach their audience with segmented messages. Back then in the day, there were just a few channels to choose from which made it quite easy to reach a specific audience with advertising. Nowadays, TV is losing popularity. The way people consume information shifts more and more to ‘on-demand’ and online video. A study conducted by Cisco shows that the amount of consumed video content will increase even more in the next couple of years. It’s expected that by 2019, video content is 80% percent of all internet traffic. No wonder more marketers are aiming for channels like YouTube and Vimeo. They reduce their TV-budgets and invest annually 43% more into online video content.

The problem is that there are so many other channels and social media outlets, it is getting harder to find the right people. How do you make sure you reach the right people? A few tips.

Be memorable

Brands stand out when their message is different from what their audience would expect. They need to find a way to be memorable to their specific audience and stay true to their authentic brand at the same time.

Create valuable content

The time of boasting about the greatness of your brand is over. If you want to be noticed online, your content needs to be interesting and valuable for your audience. Because they now decide if your content is interesting enough to like, share or interact with.  

Know your audience

To find out what valuable content means to your audience, you have to know their needs, interests, frustrations and problems. To discover that, you can look for your content that resonates with your audience. Especially momentum is important. People don’t want to be interrupted by content anymore. Another strategy is to look for content that evokes resistance like the use of traditional advertisements such as banners, sponsored messages and (moving) pop-up screens. An increasing amount of people gets annoyed by this type of content.


Branding and Content Marketing: a successful business case

A great example of branding and content marketing combined with success is a campaign designed by Jasper van Zandbeek. He was assigned to put the city of Eindhoven on the map and to reach a larger audience (inter-)nationally. He created a campaign, called ‘AnOther Citytrip‘, focused on men and women between the ages of 25 and 45 years old. The most effective medium to reach this group of people appeared to be Instagram. This audience was strongly represented on this platform and the daily user density was high.

That’s why an influencer campaign was set up through Instagram, in which 18 relatively unknown (inter-)national Instagramers, took part. They shared pictures of the most famous places in the city (in the categories food, fashion, and general) with their followers, so they could experience the energy of the city, in 24 hours. Content was shared by these so-called ‘influencers’ at the same time but independently from each other, so they could tag each other to reach a bigger audience.

For this campaign, the ingredients for a strong brand have been cleverly executed. Content marketing was used to put the city on the map as a hot touristic hotspot. It looks something like this:

1. Authentic value: What makes your brand unique, real and genuine

Eindhoven is the city where technology, design and knowledge come together which creates a unique and creative energy.

2. Value proposition: What makes your story unique in addition to someone who does the exact same thing (work)

Other (city)branding campaigns often use a top-down approach in which the content is being determined in advance. Eindhoven wanted people to experience for themselves how design, technology and knowledge come together in the streets, hotels, restaurants, studios and shops of the city.

3. Interested audience: A group of people who share the same interests, frustrations, problems or needs

Men and women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are interested in food, fashion, travel and lifestyle want to discover all the new / still relatively unknown places.

4. Effective medium: Choose the right channels and resources to share your message

(Inter)national Instagramers experienced and shared the energy of the city in 24 hours with their following.

In this case, the approach to combine personal branding with content marketing turned out to be the key to success. The expected impressions of this campaign were 6.5 times higher and the engagement ratio was also 4% higher than previously aimed for.  



Content marketing is an effective way to position your brand effectively and to reach your ideal audience. Especially in the current era where ‘old school’ marketing tools, such as ads, are becoming less effective. Due to the increasing amount of (online) content, it’s important to create and provide different but relevant and valuable content if you want to get noticed by your audience. After all, they are the ones to decide if your content is interesting or not.


Angèl Nijskens is the owner of Nijskens Branding Agency. Her agency advises professionals and public figures about personal branding and positioning for better (online) visibility.  She writes about branding, (content) marketing, PR and online publicity.


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