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Precious metals occupy a seminal space in the market. For most people buying or investing in precious metals is an emotional process. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the precious metal brand engagement process to forge new and important connections. But what sets precious metals apart from any other metal is their symbolic value. Branded content often explores several aspects attached to the symbolic value. In doing so, the content pieces not only reaffirm the values thus far attached but also add new ones.
We explore the process of creating and enhancing values related to precious metals by looking at pieces by the World Gold Council and the Platinum Guild of India:
The Golden Thread – World Gold Council
The five-part documentary by the World Gold Council attempts to define gold in a new light. The first episode – ‘The Next Frontier’, for instance, talks of scientific marvels such as the James Webb Telescope and the Cassini Mission where gold plating plays a seminal role. It further explores how gold can help in discovering the eponymous ‘next frontier’ that is Mars exploration.
The next episode, ‘Unlocking the Extraordinary’ is centred around the use of gold in circuit boards and transistors which in turn enable technologies like the internet. It also shows gold being used in vehicles like the McLaren F1.
But it is the third episode, ‘Making Meaning’ that really contextualises gold in our everyday culture. The narrative defines gold as a ‘clue’ that adds and increases the significance of an object in most cultures. It shows the process that culminated in gold becoming a symbol of wealth, veneration and divinity over the centuries.
After exploring gold’s role in medical science in episode four titled ‘Transforming Life’, The Golden Thread culminates with episode 5, ‘The Spark’ that locates gold as an essential catalyst for progress in human culture.
The implications of producing such a comprehensive docu-series on gold are manifold. The series covers several aspects concerned with the metal- historical, social, cultural, scientific, technological, etc. The sheer coverage of so many varied aspects ensures that the series would find a wide resonance among people from different walks of life. It places gold in a larger cultural context.
The historicity of gold as depicted in The Golden Thread works on two levels. First, it depicts the history of the metal in terms of discovery and attempts at reproducing gold by alchemists. Second, it explores the cultural history of gold. This includes a depiction of gold-plated temples, churches, deities etc. All these together provide the audiences with the chronological process that helps unravel the ‘preciousness’ of this precious metal.
The significance thus established is often observed in everyday life through valuable family heirlooms where gold jewellery and artefacts are passed from one generation to another. Thus the process reaffirms gold’s status as a symbol of power and luxury for contemporary consumers.
In addition to gold’s cultural value, the series shows its role in space and medicine. This adds to the story as well as integrates gold into such fields where it does not find a traditional association.
The series connects dots across seemingly unrelated time periods and fields. The Golden Thread adds new symbols associated with ‘discovery’, ‘healing’, and ‘advancement’ to gold’s semiosphere. Visualisations of gold in landmark space probes or in nanoparticles, therefore, open up new opportunities for investments.
Apart from the World Gold Council, we find examples of branded content on precious metals from the Platinum Guild of India:
Reimagine Love to Become Greater Together:
Platinum Guild of India aims to “build demand and desire” for platinum in a market dominated by gold. Branded content helps in the process by forming a niche for platinum through engagement.
As discussed above, the conventional symbols associated with gold are often those of tradition, luxury, power and wealth. Therefore, the content produced by the Platinum Guild focuses on building a brand heritage through symbols of integrity and friendship. It often is focused on topical issues:
Love Will Still be Here
This short video shows a couple dealing with a postponed wedding possibly in the light of Covid restrictions. It depicts their journey through differences and similarities. The video concludes with a message of hope that love will last.
Being rooted in contemporary culture and values, content by Platinum Guild of India largely caters to youth. It dives into perceptions of the “eternal” or the “long-lasting”. These perceptions are then juxtaposed with Platinum.
Thus, one of the major symbols for platinum that emerges from this content is ‘perpetuity’.
Platinum Guild of India also comes up with a series of short videos on their Youtube channel such as
It is also able to forge a connection to the rareness of the metal that in fact sets it apart from other metals. Friends First depicts such couples who know and support each other through situations where they might not be clicking together. These casual short videos help in attaching “uniqueness” to platinum as they foreground the message of each friendship being unique.
Platinum is a rare metal and a good part of its value is due to its rareness. Thus, the content celebrates ‘rare’ friendship and love. Platinum is positioned as a metal fit for such connection:
Branded content by Platinum Guild of India is able to build an enhanced value system for the metal by blending elements of eternity and rarity.
Precious metals brands need branded content to create a larger context where the metal in question is mystified instead of particular products. Such a context helps in forging new meanings and inter-connections that traditional marketing/advertising cannot have access to due to logistical limitations.
Mystification of precious metals as done via branded content examines as well as enhances the ‘preciousness’ of a metal. Branded content increases the perceived value of precious metals by creating an aura around them. This aura for gold created by the World Gold Council includes centuries of cultural history and future applications. Platinum Guild of India does the same by finding resonance in imagery from interpersonal relationships.
Thus branded content can effectively give rise to a network of symbols and images that enhance the symbolic values of precious metals even further. It can help brands in creating new meanings around these metals and widen their avenues.