Online publication Business Insider has partnered with business management software company SAP in a larger deployment of a branded content initiative.
Known as Brand Insider, Business Insider's new suite of tools allows marketing partners - which, to date, have included Brown-Forman, Dow Chemical and IBM - to promote branded content on the news site. This content includes videos, text posts and image galleries. With the addition of the SAP partnership, it now also includes editorial content.
According to Pete Spande, chief revenue officer of Business Insider, Brand Insider promotes branded content like Business Insider promotes editorial content, but with a few distinctions. That includes transparent notification that the content is a sponsored post from an advertising partner.
However, while previous Brand Insider partnerships have resulted in stand-alone sponsored posts, the SAP collaboration is the first example of content from both the brand and Business Insider integrated into a unified presentation on a topic, writes Business Insider president and chief operating officer Julie Hansen in an email.
The SAP series will feature more than 50 pieces of editorial content and about half as many pieces of content from SAP over the course of the collaboration, Hansen says.
According to Sara Larsen, senior director of digital marketing for SAP Americas, the SAP content will include videos, interviews, slideshares and images that tell a story.
The content will be featured on a brand blog on Business Insider. Previous Brand Insider posts were more like editorial content in that they lived on Business Insider's home page for a day and became harder to find as time went on, Spande says.
"The Brand Insider suite is really meant to again have that content be discovered and consumed and ideally people like the content and are sharing that content through the same tools for any other posts we have," Spande says. "It's a great vehicle for advertisers looking to have business leaders discover and amplify content."
The SAP content initiative is slated to launch next week.
Larsen says the program allows for a dialogue on topics like consumerization of technology, new generations of buyers, impacts of new economic models and regulation and a new experience economy powered by technology.
SAP-sponsored editorial content will be created by a separate Business Insider team.
"It includes topics that we typically cover, all presented under the umbrella of "The Future of Business,'" Hansen says.
Editorial topics include: The Death Of The Cash Register In Retail; Ready To Download Your Next Pair Of Shoes?; How 3D Printing Is 'Turning Atoms Into Bits'; - Here's Everything You Need To Know About How Mobile Wallets Work; and Harvard Lecturer Explains How To Achieve Extreme Productivity At Work.
While the editorial content is created by the editorial team, the SAP content is created by SAP and is edited by a separate team - the Business Insider Studios team, she adds.
"We work really hard to make sure that the reason this series has been created is to identify part of the sponsorship. We're calling that out very proactively and transparently, but it is by no means commissioned content or an endorsement of that brand," Spande says. "It's branded content created by a separate team with a clear separation between editorial and custom content."
Brand Insider will not be exclusive to SAP over the course of the collaboration - Business Insider is open to additional partners. Spande says the company looks for partners that can provide content that is more than a quick pre-roll ad or a promotional blurb.
"We're looking to create for our audience the expectation that sponsored content is content they can consume and hopefully enjoy," Spande says. "It has to meet that threshold - there's no precise definition about what is and isn't content. You know it when you see it."
Previous partner content in this vein has included Jack Daniel's talking about how its cellar masters determine what part of the whiskey stock becomes single barrel whiskey.
"The audience on our site is very willing to consume all kinds of content," Spande says. "We think some of the best applications where advertisers get the most benefit are people marketing services and solutions that have a bit longer of a buying cycle." That includes B2B and luxury brands.
SAP says it is working with Business Insider because it wanted to connect with readers who may not traditionally think about SAP in addition to its traditional technology-orientated audience.
Business Insider is hiring 6 additional employees for Brand Insider.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014