How Emotionally-branded Content Converted Software Users

Using disruption to reposition and advance a challenger brand.

There are thousands of technology tools and platforms available to enable marketing and sales organizations. Nothing does a more effective job at connecting with an audience and motivating them to respond than great stories that appeal to the heart. This is not about features and benefits. This is about disrupting expectations and offering a deeper, more engaging experience with customers.

The best stories are about experiences that an audience can relate to. Branded stories should inspire an audience and provide a meaningful point of view that could influence the way they feel about a brand, product, service – or experience.

Branded content is playing a much larger role in shaping the voice of a brand to an intended audience, regardless of the industry that brand serves. Over the years, we have learned that the most effective branded content informs, entertains and creates an experience that connects people and business communities together.

Content is quickly becoming a more participation and engagement based approach. Brands share informative and entertaining content to create a more immersive, personalized, emotional and fun experience. Branded content is tied to the conversion process and purchase consideration funnel, and can use a variety of tools and assets to acquire a bigger return on investment.


According to an AdWeek article by Molly DeWolf Swenson:


“If a story is moving, no one is going to care that it’s brought to you by a brand. Rather, they’re going to be happy the brand brought it to them.”


This is not about advertising. In fact, as you will learn from the following example, our goal for the branded content series we developed for a global software client was purposely designed not to sell a product or a software platform. The primary intention was to inform the audience and share personal insights, and ultimately draw the industry together by providing meaningful information presented in an entertaining and unexpected way.

As former motion picture marketing executives who have spent many years in the entertainment industry, we relied on finding disruptive and emotionally compelling ways to connect movies to audiences. Over the last three decades, we have applied that experience to help challenger brands create more impactful brand experiences and positive financial outcomes.

Consider the following.

GRAPHISOFT is a global software company specializing in innovative solutions for the architecture, engineering and contracting industries. Dominant in Europe, but a small challenger brand in the US, they needed to rapidly stem loss of the North American market share to Autodesk, the largest software brand in the industry, without the benefit of a large marketing and advertising budget. As a result, they were forced to find unexpected and disruptive ways to create greater awareness and revenue growth.

In searching for the most effective ways to disrupt the market, our first goal was to uncover unseen patterns of behavior and the overarching emotional dispositions of architects, engineers and IT managers in the architectural and engineering space.

The behavioral research we conducted revealed that purchase decisions go far beyond features and benefits. Central to this was the finding that our audience places a surprising emotional investment in the technology they select based on how it fits their self-image, ability to realize career goals and the community of fellow users they were interested in joining.

We realigned the GRAPHISOFT brand to focus on innovation vs. software, and eliminated advertising in favor of a branded content series called By Design. The digital series connected the brand to the audience’s emotional triggers by exploring the underlying themes that inspire architects — challenging assumptions, breaking rules and fostering disruptive ideas.

By Design placed GRAPHISOFT at the center of topics and challenges of strong interest to the architecture industry, with the brand and its technology positioned as the enabler of how featured subjects were realizing their vision.

In less than six months, we created a first season with four episodes surrounded by secondary content built for rapid-fire sharing, and promoted it through a 360-degree marketing push that included digital advertising, paid and organic social messaging, live and virtual experiences, media partnerships and more.

To date, By Design has used the branded content videos to help close new clients. Revenue has increased in the US by 20 percent and lead conversion by a huge 225 percent.

Season 2 is now in production.

Want more facts?

Here are a few more interesting facts that reveal the effectiveness of developing original branded content vs traditional marketing tactics.


Conversion rates are six times higher for companies and brands using content marketing than those that are not. (Aberdeen Group)


80 percent of decision makers prefer to receive information about a company through content rather than ads (Stratabeat)


95 percent of B2B service and product buyers consider content as trustworthy when evaluating a company and its offerings (DemandGen)


50 percent of buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they feel it is relevant to their life. (CEB/Google)


The annual value of an emotionally connected customer is 52 percent higher than a customer who is simply satisfied. (Motista)


Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates three times the volume of responses. (DemandMetric)

Branded content is here to stay. For more information, please contact Glenn Sagon.


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