Week in Content Marketing: 30 September

As the UK is experiencing a welcome autumn heat wave it is great to see that things are heating up in the customer publishing industry as well with a new win for Progressive Customer Publishing , a magazine relaunch for White Light Media and a couple of award shortlists.

We kick of this week's branded content digest with a look at Marketing Week's latest customer publishing feature to which the APA's Julia Hutchison provided comment. The article debated whether all magazines will go down the digital route as customer titles explore online engagement; Julia argued that this depends on the brand's objectives and choosing the right medium for its audience. The article noted that moving readers from print to digital helps brands to carry on the conversation with their target audience as well as adding another dimension to the content.

Many brands have found it difficult to capitalise on converting print readers to their digital customer publishing offering with the crossover readership between digital and print versions being relatively low according to research by fast.MAP. If this is a negative depends on the brand's objectives, argued Julia Hutchison, chief operating officer from the Association of Publishing Agencies. "Brands have to think about the appropriate medium in which to produce content for their audience," she says. Print can be effective at driving people online but for certain brands perhaps the most appropriate customer journey might be to read the magazine and then visit the store, she added.

Several APA member agencies such as Seven and the River Group also provided comment, read the full story here.

This week's biggest win comes from Progressive Customer Publishing (PCP) which has acquired a new luxury publishing contract with Yachting Partners International (YPI), one of the world's leading superyacht brokerage houses. The magazine, 360° Magazine, will reach a global audience of 10,000 high net worth individuals who are collectively worth over £30bn. 360° Magazine will blend superyacht market insight, broad economic trends and analysis with leading industry interviews and high-end luxury lifestyle features.

Meanwhile White Light Media could announce the relaunch of Standard Life magazine, the global magazine for employees of Standard Life. White Light Media has transformed the existing printed publication into a monthly Flash-based digital magazine.

The River Group was pleased to announce that two of its editors have been nominated for BSME awards this year; Charlie Norton as Editor of Healthy for Men, the bi-monthly magazine for Holland & Barrett, and Julia Shaw as Editor of Fancy, a bi-monthly food and lifestyle title sold in Julian Graves's stores.

Creative content agency Seven has also received a nomination for the BSME awards; Seven's Art Director Simon Campbell has been shortlisted for the BSME Business Art Director of the Year, selected for his work on CIMA's Financial Management magazine.

The BSME Awards take place in London on Tuesday 8 November 2011.

Seven published iPad magazine PROJECT has also been shortlisted for an award: App of the Year in the PPA Data & Digital Publishing Awards 2011. PROJECT, a joint collaboration between Virgin Digital Publishing and Seven, was the world's first iPad-native magazine and is one of six finalists for the award. PROJECT magazine has topped iPad download charts on both sides of the Atlantic since launched in November 2010 and continues to offer a cutting-edge design and content approach.

We recently wrote that Dennis Publishing had partnered with Toura to create tablet and smartphone apps for its magazines. Dennis will kick-start its Toura initiative with the production of up to twenty new applications based around the most popular subjects in their lifestyle and fitness portfolio.

Digital marketing blog Econsultancy is flying the flag for print and has written on why brands should use print catalogues and magazines with research figures suggesting that investment into print can seriously pay off for multichannel retailers. It noted that for home and lifestyle retailer The White Company, brochures are now accompanied by an e-commerce site and numerous high street stores in order to ensure that both web-confident individuals and those more used to traditional mail-order are served, as well as shoppers who like to spend after being drawn in by a well-tended window display. Also, as retailers such as Boden and Net-A-Porter have shown, the catalogue/magazine style can translate well onto tablet devices like the iPad. Read the full article here.

A massive launch in the tablet market this week as Amazon revealed its Amazon Kindle Fire which sees the online retail giant take on Apple head on. If the tablet will challenge Apple's dominance of the tablet computer market obviously remains to be seen, but Amazon is aggressively undercutting the cost of an Apple iPad by charging $199 (£127) for the device, which has a 7-inch full-colour touchscreen and an Android-based operating system with a new web browser dubbed Amazon Silk. By keeping the cost low Amazon will be allowed to capitalise on the lucrative digital content market offered by the sale of music, video and apps on tablet devices - a big part which Amazon has control over. The tablet is expected to go on sale in the US next month but there is still no news of if and when it will be launched on the European market. According to Marketing Magazine it is also believed that Amazon will freely share subscriber data with newspaper and magazine publishers, which Apple does not currently allow.

The biggest digital news this week was the radical overhaul of some of Facebook's features which was revealed at the social networking site's annual f8 developer conference last Thursday. As expected the changes - some of which have already been rolled out - are being met with a mixed reaction from its users - some delighted, others upset at big changes to the appearance of timelines and addition of new features.

With the aim of turning users' profiles into a timeline - from birth to now - Facebook is trying to make the experience and sharing element more ‘frictionless' and become "the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web". There is yet no news about to what extent Facebook Pages will change, but one thing is already clear; the revamp means brands have to rethink their Facebook strategies. Facebook has added several filters such as the side Ticker - real-time stream of news - which intends to make the news feed steam less noisy. The positive for brands is that they can cut through this noise by posting high quality content; the negative, brands have to create quality content - which as a post on Wall Blog shows many brands unfortunately are currently not doing.

One of the major changes was to Facebook social graph, which is also set to offer brands huge amount of scope to engage more deeply with consumers, as it moves beyond ‘Likes' to include what people are listening to, drinking, watching and so on.

Facebook has also reportedly finalised its much-anticipated iPad app. Industry insiders are now speculating that Facebook will be launching its first iPad app on 4 October at the Apple iPhone 5 event, along with a revamped iPhone app and a HTML5 web app.

Speaking of apps, Innocent Kids, the children's drink range, has launched an iPhone and iPad app that features a banana-themed game. The app aims to entertain four-to-nine-year-olds and asks players to navigate a banana plane through a series of targets and pick up fruity bonuses along the way. The app is also connected to a leaderboard and encourages kids to share their scores with each other and further engage with the brand, Marketing Magazine noted.

A new study has found that ASOS, Very and are the three best-loved digital brands. The ‘Brand Love 25' ranks each brand based on a mixture of metrics, including numbers of Facebook fans and Twitter followers and revenues.

Google is rumoured to be launching Brand Pages for its social venture Google+ very soon, and much has been discussed for what it will mean for brands. This week, after having been to a meeting at Google about Google+ and the role it can play for brands, Wall Blog could happily report ‘straight from the horse's mouth' about what Google thinks about brands and Google+:

  • It is not a social network, rather a social enhancement to the whole web
  • It will be nice and open for competitions for brands
  • The +1 Button will be huge, so integrating it on your brand page and other owned sites will be important
  • Brands will be able to segment their users into different circles and push out different messages to each

And finally, YouTube is apparently preparing to launch scheduled TV channels with scheduled content to "lure viewers away from their TV screens." Having courted US media firms for several months, Google owned YouTube is said to have cut a range of content deals to get content creators to create and curate videos for a channel.

Posted in
30thSep 2011

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