How Much Branding Is Too Much?

The notion that too much branding leads to a loss of credibility isn’t always true. Google’s viral video, Dear Sophie, is an advertisement for Google Chrome that contained a significant amount of branding for applications like Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps. According to a survey with more than 900 respondents undertaken by BuzzStream and Fractl, the Google brand gained credibility with the video. However, 86% of the respondents incorrectly identified the brand that was supposed to be the focus of the video. As part of the survey, respondents had to watch the video without seeing the Chrome logo appear at the beginning and end of the video. The Google advertisement had so much variety in terms of branding that it confused viewers, leaving 80% of them thinking that the focus of the video was Gmail. Is this a case of too much branding? Although viewers didn’t identify Google’s Chrome browser as the focus of the video, it still had a positive impact on the overall perception of the brand.

Although the level of branding in Laphroaig’s Opinion Matters video was low, 79% of the respondents correctly identified the brand in the video. And unlike with all of the other videos that were used in the survey, respondents identified the Laphroaig brand via sound elements. Brands are more often identified with visual cues, but a video can be just as persuasive by using sound to capture interest. The risk with relying on sound to capture attention is that the branding may go unnoticed.

The level of branding in Hi-Tech’s Liquid Mountaineering video is more strategic than in Laphroaig’s video, but it can easily go unnoticed. Respondents said that the branding in the video was strategic and memorable. Yet 56% could not identify the brand. In the video, the Hi-Tech logo subtly appears on the hats, jackets, and shoes worn by the actors in the video, but competes with other logos appearing throughout the video such as Yamaha (waverunner) and Jobe (wetsuits). In the end, while only 44% of them could identify the brand, respondents felt that the brand gained credibility with the video. Regardless of the level of branding, it’s important to create content that is memorable and interesting.

Bud Light’s Big Order and UPS’s Driver for a Day videos were highly branded. Unlike with Google’s Dear Sophie video, respondents correctly identified the brands. Why is that? Google’s video features a variety of Google applications, highlighting the utility offered by each. Bud Light’s and UPS’s videos, on the other hand, each featured one brand message and product. The survey-takers said that Bud Light’s branding was intrusive and generic, which may be why 91% were able to identify Bud Light as the focus of the video. Familiarity is generally good for brand awareness, and Bud Light used this to its advantage in its viral video.

Brand Awareness

Sticking to video content can be beneficial for your brand, and not only because people tend to identify brands with visual cues. According to 45% of the survey respondents, video is the most effective content type for brand awareness, followed by images, paid advertisements, and infographics. The least effective content type for brand awareness is long-form content, according to 27% of the respondents. Conversely, the survey-taker’s responses indicated that paid advertisements were the least effective content type, followed by guest- and list-posts.

The platform used to advertise brands can also have a significant impact on awareness. 45% of the respondents said that Facebook is the most effective social media platform for brand awareness, followed by YouTube, Twitter, and Google+. According to 30% of the respondents, SlideShare is the least effective platform for brand awareness, followed by Vine, Vimeo, and LinkedIn.

Some tactics have been proven to work very well for generating brand awareness. As expected, social media (not including blogs) and videos are at the top of the list, followed by mobile applications. As the digital landscape changes, certain tactics are also expected to no longer be as effective. The tactics that got the least number of votes for brand awareness are webinars, microsites, and virtual conferences.

Want to dive deeper into content marketing best practices? Learn more about our industry research at