4 Tips for Getting the Most of out TV Brand Integrations

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Television brand integrations — the paradigm of paying a TV show, station or network to book airtime — are about seamlessly establishing your brand into the show through a timely, relevant and compelling storyline — one that becomes a newsworthy part of the program’s infotainment experience. The target audience is already there, ready to be entertained, enthralled or otherwise consume information of interest. Corporate and personal brands become part of the experience that viewers have already shown up for.

Through a strategic approach to TV brand integrations, brand leaders can drive visibility, create positive impressions and build brand equity through credible and authoritative outlets chosen by viewers. In this era of adless streaming, ad blockers and on-demand content through multiple devices and channels, broadcast television programs — and the PR professionals and brand strategists that book into them — have turned to TV brand integrations.

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The most obvious motivations for TV shows and stations are revenue generation in combination with viewer-attractive content. From the perspective of brand promotion, awareness and image building, innovation-minded agencies, companies and experts should evaluate their advertising approaches. When it comes to TV integrations, there are distinct nuances over traditional PR that are important to understand if you want your integrations to be effective.

Here are my four tips for getting the most out of your TV brand integrations:

1. Make your content compelling.

As any seasoned publicity professional knows, no matter how strategic, well-planned and aptly written a press release or pitch letter may be, securing actual media coverage is subject to many factors beyond the control of the publicist. However, a pre-vetted and approved paid integration secures a broadcast commitment with a show or station.

Make sure your content is overtly targeted to the program’s audience and compelling enough to justify the airtime. Execute in collaboration with show producers for a result that everyone is pleased with. Know that the producers help ensure the segment unfolds with demonstrable value, which viewers have come to trust and expect from their chosen show.

2. Pre-arrangement creates opportunity. 

An integration-based TV approach typically gives the expert or company paying for the placement a bit more control over their media message than through more traditional PR processes. Strategic paid placement involves carefully choosing the outlet, the show, coverage format, timing, topic and content.

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Timing relative to taping date, if not live, airdate and the amount of airtime to be proffered is pre-agreed upfront. Think of the visual content elements you may want to request, like video or images for b-roll, on-set props and demonstrations — all arranged in advance. Consider the narrative elements, including the overarching topic and questioning, messaging, positioning and any call to action. This can also be pre-managed along with imagery. The actual broadcast may not follow the specific language you’ve provided verbatim, but the carefully chosen show and its producers have built-in incentives to showcase your brand, as the sponsor, in the way desired. Producers will also work with your brand to ensure newsworthiness standards and journalistic integrity are upheld in the process.

3. Know you may have the potential to re-take.

Many of today’s TV integration opportunities are pre-taped, which can be a comfort for many over live TV. If all does not go as planned in the initial shoot, there is often the possibility of re-taping to get the information right or recover from a flub. In live TV segments, this is not the case.

Of course, re-shoots create more work for everyone, so take care to ensure the guest and everyone else is airtime-ready when that camera starts rolling, especially if you’re hoping to continue doing business with the media outlet. All parties involved in a TV brand integration effort have incentives to produce the best possible product for the audience, so a reasonable request for a re-taping will most likely be honored and probably even anticipated (if not suggested) by seasoned producers.

4. Use your resulting video assets as a marketing tool.

Nearly every TV brand integration placement has the added advantage of becoming a marketing tool in perpetuity. Obtain the rights to use segment clips. You can then leverage these video assets in a multitude of ways: in social media, online press rooms, emails, newsletters, blogs, sizzle reels, webinars and such. Including the “as seen on” declaration, even without the actual clip, also provides a means of demonstrating a sense of third-party verification and credibility.

Make your brand’s TV integration multi-purpose by using elements as a marketing asset. Drive brand awareness and value by continuing to leverage the video asset post-airing in your brand’s social media and other marketing strategies. Then there’s the possibility of amplified placement beyond TV, oft including the station’s own website and social platforms, extending the coverage into the digital realm and vastly expanding prospective reach. If the brand story is executed well within the context of the show, viewer value and effective brand building will likely follow.

As Seth Godin famously is often credited with saying: “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

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