February has got off to a great start with new digital projects and new hires in the industry; First out, Marketing Magazine's annual branded content special features a series of essays on content marketing and examines the industry which is growing. The foreword is provided by APA's COO, Julia Hutchison who says that ‘content marketing is set for yet another successful year as the trend of brands becoming content creators in their own right gains momentum'. Julia continues: ‘Each of the case studies demonstrates a strong return on investment and effectiveness; whether it's a finely crafted magazine that draws the reader into its world or a digital solution that combines practicality with future-facing innovation, or a mixture of both'. Read more here.
Also, in a letter to Marketing, Julia shares her thoughts on why it is so important for brands to build trust with consumers, a keystone of the content marketing industry. Read the letter in full here.
The River Group's latest venture with Superdrug is a content rich magazine style app which is published under the Dare masthead. First of its kind in the health and beauty retail market, and published on the Kindmags platform, Digi Dare includes video content, social integration with Twitter and Facebook, exclusive Dare only advertising and a beautiful, yet simple design template. The new digital magazine sits with its print sister in the heart of the customer journey and has been created to enhance the reader experience. The title can be found at dare.superdrug.com and the Apple Newsstand.
Creative publishing agency, Axon Publishing's Babychange app for NCT has made The App List of the world's best apps, published by The Sunday Times. The list it put together by a team of experienced app reviewers and aided by experts in specialist fields such as fashion and culture. The Babychange app featured in the Family & Children section and the judges said: ‘This is brilliant and simple. It's one of those ideas you wish you'd thought of, and it embraces all the capabilities of the platform.'
Last week Marketing magazine reported on the brands targeting the burgeoning health data market, to which Seven's Head of Digital, Dave Castell, commented. In the US, the value of the mobile health apps market is expected to reach $392m in 2015, and brands like Nike, Motorola, Philips and Weight Watchers are joining in to connect health and digital. This development has more to do with people's appetite for information and personal data, than rife hypochondria, according to Castell. He said that personal healthcare provides the perfect opportunity to be a useful part of consumers' lives, as long as the brands in question have a ‘natural affinity' with this area. Read more about this exciting market here and check out this website to see some of the products that are already available.
Global content agency, John Brown, has launched a new brochure for home improvement solutions company, Everest. With nearly 50 years of experience under its belt, and after helping transforming nearly two million homes, Everest tasked John Brown to produce a brochure that would more accurately reflect the true quality of its products, and that would also challenge the public's perception that Everest are solely producers of quality double-glazing and entrance doors. The result is a streamlined brochure with beautiful, aspirational lifestyle imagery.
There have been a couple of new appointments this week; FuturePlus, the award-winning customer publishing agency of Future Publishing, has created a new role and has appointed Fiona McDaniel to the position of Director of Client Services and Marketing. Fiona joins FuturePlus from Sky where she led the editorial and marketing teams as Head of Publishing and Marketing as well as Head of Digital and Direct. Clare Jonik has also been promoted to Commercial Director from her role as Senior Account Director in recognition of her work over the last 12 months.
Menzies Digital Marketing has also bolstered its team and has appointed Nigel Skeels as Head of Creative Development to allow its in-house team to offer a comprehensive service to all clients. Nigel brings with him more than 10 years' experience as a digital designer and developer, having worked at Dennis and Hearst and more recently at Redwood Publishing on the Virgin electric! e-zine.
This year's Content Summit theme was Content + Convergence, and it the latter is now here writes influential digital marketing site Econsultancy, stating that 2012 is all about convergence. Multi-channel marketing is not new, but now the channels are converging due to new technology and a shift in consumer behaviour, and the industry needs to keep up. Check out the article in full here which offers tips for dealing with convergence.
A recent study appears to show that corporate blogging is declining, and that content marketing could be supplanting the traditional corporate blog. There is indication that corporate blogging has peaked and companies are now moving on to other social media tools such as LinkedIn and Facebook. However, as this article on the study notes, could social marketing be replacing content marketing, or is it enhancing it? After all content marketing remains highly effective and is a key part of the marketing mix. We would love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below.
Speaking of social media; while many publishers consider social media as a way to distribute existing content, News International (NI) has developed a Facebook app for Fabulous magazine that will publish original content on the site every day. Using the same theory as the Guardian and Independent's social apps, it publishes stories read in a user's timeline. The app includes a fashion blog, gallery, competitions as well as Fabulous Radio that allows people to create and share Spotify playlists. Speaking to Econsultancy, NI says that the intention is to build a following for the Fabulous brand on Facebook and drive sales of the print edition of the magazine.
Lastly, Twitter has begun to roll out the first wave of UK brand pages with Asda, Cadbury, Sky and Electronic Arts being among the first 20 UK companies to gain access. The site went live on 1 February, and enable companies to post a branded banner and a permanent tweet containing media or a promotion at the top of pages. However, while the brand pages are free, they come with a minimum media spend attached to them, understood to be in the region of £25,000. Check out the Asda twitter account here, what do you think of the layout?