What is Brand Journalism?

Brand journalism is the perfect union between marketing and journalism. It is a new approach to the valuable content that companies want to provide to the user. Its objective is to increase brand loyalty and trust through original pieces published in their own media.

This video will help explain:


The content generated from this new perspective is current, fact-based, transparent and, above all, provides value to the user. Brands benefit from the diffusion power of this type of pieces, which are much more useful to the user than traditional advertising.

4 keys to understanding brand journalism

  1. It is still journalism and, as such, it is subject to certain rules such as authenticity, transparency and relevant content that journalistic articles have.
  2. It not only complements but takes the brand story a step further.
  3. It can use any type of format and genre to attract and engage consumers, but it is journalism that is best suited to its purpose.
  4. It seeks not only to inform the customer but to go beyond that. They are highly specialized pieces of content that generate conversations on blogs and social media.

An example of successful brand journalism is Adobe’s online magazine CMO.com, aimed at digital marketers “obsessed” with innovation. CocaCola Journey is another example, the American giant focuses its publications on the brand’s business story. Finally, the example of Red Bull’s monthly newsletter, Red Bulletin, a monthly magazine focused on culture and sports, with an air of “cheekiness” in all topics.

The Evolution of Brand Journalism

Brand Journalism, although a relatively new term, has roots tracing back to the late 19th century when companies began creating publications to engage with their customers directly. John Deere, for instance, started publishing “The Furrow,” a magazine designed to help customers get more out of their equipment. However, the concept of brand journalism truly began to evolve with the advent of digital technology.

The term “brand journalism” itself was coined by Larry Light, McDonald’s Chief Marketing Officer, in 2004 during a marketer’s conference. His idea was to use journalistic techniques to tell the brand’s story in a compelling way. Over time, this concept gained traction, and as the internet and social media usage exploded, businesses recognized the value of creating their own content to engage with customers directly.

The rise of brand journalism was further fueled by changes in the media landscape. With the proliferation of digital platforms, traditional advertising became less effective as consumers grew more skeptical of overtly promotional content. At the same time, these platforms made it easier for brands to reach their audience directly. In response, businesses began to adopt brand journalism strategies to build and nurture relationships with their audience by providing valuable, engaging content.

Understanding Brand Journalism

Brand journalism differs from traditional journalism and content marketing in its intent, audience, and content format. Traditional journalism is objective, providing reporting on events and issues without a specific promotional goal. Brand journalism, while maintaining core journalistic principles like accuracy and credibility, is fundamentally brand-centric. It focuses on stories that resonate with the audience while subtly highlighting the company’s values, mission, or industry insights.

On the other hand, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that involves creating and sharing content to attract, engage, and convert a defined target audience. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to drive customer action, often in the form of purchases. Brand journalism, however, prioritizes delivering meaningful, non-promotional stories that reflect the brand’s personality and resonate with the audience.

The key components of brand journalism include storytelling, authenticity, and audience engagement. It involves crafting narratives that reflect the brand’s identity and values, presenting an authentic voice that’s relatable, and engaging with the audience across multiple platforms to foster a relationship.

The Importance of Brand Journalism

In today’s digital era, brand journalism plays a vital role. As consumers become more discerning and demand more value from brands, traditional advertising methods are often viewed as intrusive and less effective. In contrast, brand journalism offers a way for brands to engage with their audience on a deeper level, fostering trust and loyalty.

Brand journalism allows brands to control their narrative, shaping their image and reputation by telling their own stories. It empowers them to position themselves as thought leaders in their industry, sharing insights, trends, and thought-provoking content. This approach not only enhances their reputation but also sets them apart from competitors who rely solely on traditional advertising methods.

Furthermore, brand journalism allows brands to reach their audience directly, bypassing traditional media channels. By leveraging digital platforms, brands can engage with their audience in real-time, fostering a more personal connection. It offers brands the opportunity to build a community around their brand, promoting a sense of belonging and loyalty among their audience.

Implementing Brand Journalism, a short guide

Implementing a brand journalism strategy requires careful planning and execution. Brands must first define their objectives and target audience. What stories do they want to tell, and who do they want to reach? Understanding the audience’s interests, needs, and content consumption habits is crucial in creating content that resonates with them.

Next, brands must develop a content strategy. This involves deciding on the types of content to produce (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.), the platforms to use, and the frequency of publishing. A diverse mix of content types can cater to different audience preferences, while the right platforms can ensure the content reaches the intended audience effectively.

Storytelling is a vital element in brand journalism. Brands should focus on crafting compelling narratives that reflect their identity, values, and mission. These stories should offer valuable insights or experiences, making them engaging and shareable. The use of data, visuals, and personal anecdotes can enhance the storytelling aspect.

Consistency is also crucial in brand journalism. Brands need to maintain a consistent voice and message across all content and platforms. This helps build brand recognition and trust among the audience. Similarly, regular engagement with the audience, such as responding to comments and sharing user-generated content, can foster a stronger connection.

Examples of Successful Brand Journalism

Numerous brands have successfully implemented brand journalism strategies. For instance, Coca-Cola’s ‘Journey’ website is an excellent example of brand journalism. The site features a variety of content, from articles about the company’s sustainability efforts to stories highlighting their community initiatives. By providing a mix of company-centric and industry-related content, Coca-Cola uses brand journalism to shape its narrative and engage with its audience.

Another example is Red Bull, a brand known for its content creation efforts. Red Bull’s media house produces engaging content, from articles and videos to documentaries and events, all centered around extreme sports and lifestyle. By creating content that resonates with its target audience’s interests, Red Bull positions itself as more than just an energy drink company.

These examples illustrate how brand journalism can help companies build a strong brand identity, engage with their audience, and differentiate themselves from competitors.

Challenges in Brand Journalism

Despite its benefits, implementing a brand journalism strategy is not without challenges. One of the main obstacles is creating high-quality, engaging content consistently. This requires a deep understanding of the audience, creativity, and resources. Brands may struggle to find unique, compelling stories to tell or lack the resources to produce and distribute the content.

Another challenge is striking the right balance between promotional and informative content. While the content should reflect the brand’s values and mission, it should not come off as overly promotional. This can be off-putting to the audience and undermine the credibility of the brand’s content.

Data privacy is also a concern in brand journalism. Brands must ensure they comply with data protection regulations when collecting and using customer data for their content.

The Future of Brand Journalism, A Conclusion 

As we look to the future, brand journalism is set to play an even more significant role in the way brands communicate with their audience. With advancements in technology, brands will have more tools and platforms at their disposal to create and distribute content.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies could be particularly influential. These technologies could help brands create more personalized content and deliver it to the right audience at the right time.

At the same time, the rise of voice search and smart speakers could open up new opportunities for audio content in brand journalism. Brands could create their own podcasts or news updates to reach their audience through these platforms.

In conclusion, brand journalism represents a powerful tool for brands to connect with their audience in a more meaningful, engaging way. By telling their own stories, brands can shape their narrative, build trust with their audience, and set themselves apart in a crowded marketplace. Despite the challenges, the future of brand journalism looks promising, with new technologies and platforms offering exciting opportunities for brands to share their stories.