After four years out of the industry it was interesting to come back to a world where (supposedly) everything had changed so much – digital, programmatic, mobile, econometrics….
These developments are all amazing to witness. When you are living and breathing something, it comes and goes gradually and nothing fazes you. Returning now, I see things through graduate eyes (ie the eyes of the consumer). Having been in the industry for 15 years straight (prior to my break) I became part of the picture. I didn’t notice the small and gradual, but took notice of the noise, the waves of attention that swept through the masses.
So having time out gave me an opportunity to reconnect with the consumer in me. During this process I have made some interesting observations:
- Print is not dead – It’s a really exciting time to be in print. We have more consumer magazines than we did five years ago and that number is growing. Magazines maintain their place as an active and trusted read, and the ‘magazine moment’ remains untouched.
With only 5% saying they do something else while reading, magazines remain the medium to reach huge numbers, build a relationship with the reader through a close, consumer controlled moment, and highly targeted, giving advertisers an opportunity to place their message in the right contextual environment.
- Digital is everywhere and everything – Digital is a part of everything we do. It’s not a platform but an enabler. When I left the industry it was considered a separate entity, whereas now it is a part of everything we do from the way we work, to the way we consume media. No media channel is without digital influence.
For magazines, digital enables the consumer to connect with content in new ways. ‘Click to buy’, augmented reality, 360s, expanded content, the possibilities are endless and the journey has just begun.
- Big brands stand the test of time – Brands who were struggling, continued to struggle, providing content that was general and mass (and available elsewhere, for free). Those that have succeeded were opinionated and well positioned – big, well-constructed brands with values that stand the test of time (Vogue).
There is no doubt that magazines benefit from huge investment in editorial with time and the expertise to construct beautiful branded editorial ‘cuts’. Those that invest have a more dedicated community of followers. These followers buy in to the editorial, not the format.