Some 70% percent of US online adults trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family and 46% trust consumer-written online reviews, while just 10% trust ads on websites and 9% trust text messages from companies or brands. This is according to new Forrester data based on a survey of more than 58,000 respondents. For marketers, this signals a need for new ways to build their brands with consumers, as brand-led advertising online and offline has lost its allure and consumers trust self-selected online content far more than one-way push communications.

Enter branded content. “Marketers now have the power to connect with their customers in ways they never could before, as branded content can bridge the gap between TV’s emotive power and digital advertising’s measurability and efficiency,” notes Forrester Principal Analyst Tracy Stokes in a new blog post. “But for every Old Spice and Oreo success story, there are hundreds of unseen messages and videos.” As of yet, notes Stokes, most marketers are struggling to build content at scale — to get the right message to the right consumer at the right time.

So as branded content gains steam, marketers must shift from an ad hoc approach where content is an afterthought, to an approach where content production is systematic, integrated, and data-driven. By doing so, brands will enable the four components of a 21st century brand — one that is trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential.

To learn more about this research, visit the full report “How To Build Your Brand With Branded Content.”