CHICAGO — Branded content still plays best as a brand awareness tool, rather than as a direct sales driver, says Vincent Geraghty, EVP and Executive Director of Production at Leo Burnett, in a panel discussion for Beet.TV.

“Purchase and sales is a tough thing. When you’re talking about starting a conversation about a brand, that’s a much easier thing to do with content,” he says. The branded content that is shared most often tends to be more focused on ideas and stories about a brand, rather than direct pitches, he says.

Brands should implement a measurement plan with clearly defined objectives, and that process can help branded content to deliver for a marketer, says Tom Weeks, SVP and Group Brand Director at SMG’s LiquidThread. “We try to make sure branded content is being looked at as part of the last inch to retail,” he says.

Branded content can also yield worthwhile creative results. “For a tiny fraction of a traditional media budget we can create and build relevant brand experiences that is worth making content from. It’s usually more brains than cash,” says Jonathan Hoffman, President at ZeroDot/President Experience Design at Starcom MediaVest Group,

The panelists were interviewed by Cristel Turner, Director of Brand Advertising, Strategy and Business Marketing at U.S. Cellular at the Beet.TV leadership summit presented by the Jun Group.  You can find more videos from the summit here.