3 ways in which magazine complements branded content

( The 2nd and final part of our “Magazine and Branded Content:  Friends with Benefits” series)

For the longest time, magazine and private label media have been comfortable bedfellows.  Their complementary nature is manifested most clearly in the form of custom publishing titles, which is gaining traction even as the digital growth continues unabated.  Among others, brands realize that they can tap on publishers’ clear strengths of strong editorial expertise and circulation base. 

But magazine can also be a good friend for online/digital branded content.  Let’s go back to the holy trinity of branded content, which we discussed here, and see how adding magazine makes all the difference.

1. Strengthening Branding: Magazine not only protects but protracts brand equity

It is indisputable that private label media provides strong branding.  The carefully curated content, creative execution and interactive experience are clear testaments to this.  But magazine can bring this even further. 

Magazine has always been a desirable media for luxury brands because of its superior packaging- glossy pages, tactile sensations and beautiful creative buys among a plethora of other attributes.   Additionally, magazine has superior editorial quality and integrity which places the advertisements within the right context to the readers.  These factors provide a positive brand environment that further enhances the brand equity of premium brands.   

Furthermore, with the introduction of QR codes, brands are now able to smoothly bridge the gap between print ads and their own brand websites.  Engaging readers through multiple touch points leave them with a sensory-rich brand experience, amplifying brand equity in a very personal, sense-ational manner.

2. Deepen Relationship: Magazine provides an ecosystem of luxury to readers

Private label media opens up a wide array of cutting-edge possibilities like augmented reality and virtual pop-up stores.  They are cool, they are fun, and they deepen brands’ existing relationship with loyal readers.   For example, 71% affluent US consumers find the app experiences make them feel “better connected” to the high-end brands (Luxury Institute 2012). 

But magazine has been unseated from its pedestal in having privileged relationship with readers.  FIPP report goes as far as describing magazine reading experience as an almost sacred moment, where readers are placed in a bubble undisturbed during their magazine moments.  The relationship between magazine media, reader and brand is described as a “virtuous cycle”— readers personally choose magazines; magazines selectively profile suitable brands; which leads to readers welcoming advertised brands given their close fit with their personal interest.  In other words, magazine provides a context that gratifies branded content. 

Chinese Consumers Find Luxury

Furthermore, magazine is superior in providing a luxury ecosystem to discerning readers.  It is particularly relevant to the growing segment of nouveau riche in emerging markets like China, who primarily 'discovers' luxury through pages of glossy magazines.  Rather than distilling information at individual brand level, for example, luxury magazine is the trusted reference for these consumers wanting to build their brand literacy and cultural capital.  Magazine’s luxury ecosystem provides comprehensiveness and variation to readers without sacrificing brand exclusivity- a distinct advantage that individual apps/brand websites are not privy of. 

3. Generate Leads:  Magazine provides database of quality target audience

A recent study by Luxury Institute reveals that luxury brands have a surprisingly low customer retention rate.  Many rest on a false sense of security that social media will bring quick-fix solution, although there is noevidence that a large fan base translates to effective customer acquisition.  

But an even bigger challenge is how to cast the net wider.  Preaching to the converted is easy, especially with snazzy apps and cool websites.  The question is how to lure the brand flirts, lurking at the peripheries, to look your way and start a meaningful relationship with your brand?

Well, magazine has been a notoriously good match-maker.

Research consistently shows that magazines are read by affluent consumers who are influential advocates in various product categories.  Magazine helps brands to reach out to these quality readers.  Exposing them to carefully curated ads contextualized within the magazine’s fine editorial pieces familiarizes non-users, generates awareness and conditions them toward favourable impression of these brands. 

Furthermore, luxury magazines (especially closed-circulation ones) have a valuable reader database which they can share with select advertisers, thereby reducing customer acquisition cost.  It enables brands to develop targeted segmentation strategies not just to their current users, but also to potential converts. 

“Content in the right context is ultimately king”

More than ever before, we are demanded to be good storytellers.  Brands and media alike face the challenge to tell an effective story and push the right message through the clutter to reach the audience.  Owned, earned and paid media are various tools in this quest. 

It is undeniable that branded content offer plentiful promise, though not without its shortcomings.  But it is important to realize that content, no matter how powerful, cannot exist in a vacuum.  It needs an environment—the right audience, platform, even competitors—to thrive.  As Deanna Brown, CEO of Federated Media Publishing puts it, “Content, in the right context, is ultimately king.” 

Does magazine give the right context for your brand?  Speak to us at sphmagresearch@sph.com.sg and let us help you get your message across.

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