Week 3: A Conversation with Guest Speakers Babette Pepaj and Dan Portnoy

Alyssa Padron

Alyssa Padron

By UCLA X425 Student Alyssa Padron

Babette Pepaj (@BakeSpace) and Dan Portnoy (@DanPortnoy) visited UCLAx425 last Tuesday night to give the class tips on how to create successful branded content. Babette is CEO of BakeSpace.com, an online food community where users can actively swap recipes. Dan is founder of Portnoy Media Group, and has worked with clients such as United Way and Archlight.

After listening to both guest speakers, I was able to take away two important tips for creating branded content.

Babette Pepaj

Babette Pepaj

First, Babette emphasized the importance of creating community around your brand and making it possible for consumers to engage with the brand as a community member. She added that the most efficient way to achieve this is to take content brands have already created and make it a utility for users. She shared with the class that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement, the better it will be received. With Bakespace.com, she is able to create profile pages for movies, television shows (including fictional characters in movies and TV shows), and consumers can engage directly with these profile pages and save/share recipes.

Can Portnoy

Can Portno

Dan explained that when he creates branded content, it’s the human connection that matters most. People have to see themselves in what the brand is doing; if a brand is unable to achieve such a connection with branded content, it will not be well received. Dan also encouraged the class to create content that can be scaled through social media, and to challenge audiences to do something and to talk about it. Dan shared with the class a campaign from DIGDEEP, an organization that defends access to clean water for the world’s most marginalized communities. The campaign called for people in the most affluent countries to use just four liters of water each day in order to raise awareness. As people attempt to take the four liter challenge, they are asked to post their activity on social media and spread the world.

Both Babette and Dan shared great and useful information during their presentations. I will remember their tips and stories, and hopefully apply them to my work in the future.

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