When you think of native advertising what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the showdown between more interactive content and traditional ad spots? Perhaps it’s the evolving competition between publishers and agencies for brand marketing spend? Or maybe it’s the infamous Walter White character from AMC’s mega-hit TV series, Breaking Bad.

In May, Boston-based marketing agency Mullenwon the Webby award for Best Native Advertising by bringing together the world’s leading real estate company and the highest rated television series since, well, ever. Mullen and their fellow award nominees, which represent brands such as Grey Poupon, Heineken and Nissan, spent the better part of 2013 illustrating how native advertising is more than good business. It’s good fun as well.

For iGaming, finding the same fun by merging the potential of native advertising with the excitement of online jackpots presents a formidable challenge. But it’s a code worth cracking and there are absolutely no rules as to who should be the one to do it. Take the case of North Carolina’s Brandi Temple, the founder of Lolly Wolly Doodle, who figured out how to build a multi-million dollar business through Facebook. It’s the same channel through which seemingly omnipotent brands of immense wealth and resources had previously failed.

A great native marketing initiative requires a perfect blend of a product practicality, engagement strategy, willingness to try (and fail) and pure, unadulterated luck. You may not be able to manufacture luck but you can put yourself in the position where luck just may find you. Here are a few tips to giving your brand a chance at striking native advertising gold.

1)      Find publishers that can help integrate your brand: You need to have the right partners, with the right resources, to reach the right audience…in the right way. The most important quality of native advertising is that it blends into its surrounding content, in whichever medium, and doesn’t disrupt the audience. After that, it comes down to reimaging messaging and delivery.

2)      Stop thinking like an advertiser: Instead think like a storyteller or, even better, a patron of the unexpected. Traditional adverts still have their place in the customer conversion funnel and, when exceptional, they remain impactful. Native advertising, however, has the power to communicate on another level for audience members who prefer to be truly engaged.

3)      Let your brand breathe: Think of how much better you feel after taking time to stop, close your eyes and take a breath. The act is short enough not to impact your productivity but long enough to offer some clarity. Native advertising empowers your brand to do the equivalent by partnering with those who can help develop original and unexpected ideas for promoting your brand.

4)      Pay attention to leaders and trends: No matter the topic, we always encourage keeping an eye on what your competitors and other trendsetters are doing. This is not to say that your brand should copy ideas or strategies – yours should have its own unique image. But when considering new ways that your brand can reach a target audience you can’t risk brainstorming in a silo.

Have any other tips for how native advertising can help in brand building? Let us know in the comments below.