That’s Edutainment! A quick lesson from the Executive Editor of C&EN BrandLab

Custom content shines bright when you mix learning with fun.

By Erika Gebel Berg, PhD

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When meeting with a new client, I often spend a little time laying the groundwork on how C&EN BrandLab approaches custom content. In doing so, I find myself talking about “edutainment.” This concept is more than just word play; it’s our guiding light and what brings our readers to us. Rather than relying solely on dry academic journals for information, our audience of researchers and engineers can come to C&EN and BrandLab for an opportunity to get a side of amusement with their science. 

Now, edutainment can be as simple as finding and telling a good story. At BrandLab, we specialize in the art of spinning a good and scientifically accurate tale through custom content, whether that content is a white paper, ebook, native article, or something else.  After a client tells us their goals and the area of their business they want to highlight, it’s often up to us to figure out how to meet those goals through edutaining storytelling. That means finding the story that our audience wants to read both for enjoyment and for education. Sometimes finding that story is easy, and sometimes it takes some work, but BrandLab firmly believes that everyone has a good story to tell. Plus, edutainment is the kind of stuff that sticks in people’s heads, helping them retain knowledge and remember the sponsor. 

BrandLab knows that readers respond to the way you tell a story, and we make the audience’s experience a priority when creating custom content. Some stories are best told interactively, such as with games and quizzes. Here are a couple recent examples of edutaining BrandLab content:


When you turn learning into a game, everyone wins. In a recent campaign for MilliporeSigma, we developed an article on ways chemists could perform their research using more sustainable practices. This is a topic that scientists are eager to learn more about as a way to do their part for the environment. C&EN BrandLab was looking for innovative ways to enhance the article’s messaging, and landed upon gamification. The classic Whack-a-Mole game seemed like a compatible option, replacing random appearances of a pesky mole with images representing wasteful lab practices that users whack with a click. After each whack, a text bubble appears sharing information about each wasteful practice and how to be more sustainable. Plus, as users are playing the game, they are also engaging with the brand—players spent an average of more than 8 minutes on the page, a BrandLab record!

Play Whack-a-Waste here!

Personality Quiz

A long-time staple of the magazine world, the personality quiz is a fun way for people to learn more about themselves. Looking to find an approach that would resonate with the scientific crowd, C&EN BrandLab recently worked with Aktiv Chemistry to develop a chemistry teacher personality quiz. As participants answer multiple-choice questions about their teaching practices, the backend tallies the results. At the end, each quiz taker is assigned to a particular category based on their teaching strategies, from quintessential lecturer to student-centered active learning enthusiast. But what the user probably doesn’t realize is while they were taking the quiz, they were also reading snippets of information about active learning. Aktiv Chemistry is a platform that teaches active learning strategies for chemistry teachers, and simply by engaging with the quiz, users are learning about the client’s product. 

Check out the chemistry instructor quiz here!

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