In the past, most brands limited their content marketing efforts to the “usual suspects”: blogging, social media and email newsletters. However, more and more brands are exploring new frontiers in content marketing and launching their own full-scale editorial publications. These branded magazines offer powerful opportunities for customer engagement, but some skeptics remain unconvinced– can a brand successfully deliver compelling editorial content and still get the marketing results it wants?
Let’s look at a few great examples of magazines that have been launched by brands and explore the potential marketing value of these publications.
The Power of Brand-Launched Publications
The trend toward brand-launched magazines hasn’t been limited to big-name brands–even smaller companies and startups have jumped on this trend. Here are just a few notable examples:
- Harry’s: The online magazine Five O’Clock, developed by shaving company Harry’s, features content with an aspirational style. According to the editor, the publication was created “for guys like us, everyday Harrys in pursuit of making today better than yesterday.” Five O’Clock’s content is surprisingly non-salesy–in a recurring feature where various inspiring people are asked to share their morning routine, many of these people aren’t even using Harry’s products.
- Fujitsu: Brand-launched publications aren’t just popular in the consumer space– the benefits extend to the B2B world. Fujitsu developed the magazine I- Global Intelligence for the CIO, a publication aimed at chief information officers. By featuring profiles of top CIOs and staying on top of trends in information technology and communications, Fujitsu establishes valuable thought leadership in the industry.
- Red Bull: The energy-drink maker is known for their creative marketing tactics, so it’s no surprise they developed The Red Bulletin, a monthly digital and print magazine that covers interesting people, places, and activities. The publication has garnered a sizeable following, with 2 million copies of the print version getting circulated each month.
In a crowded digital landscape where it’s becoming more and more difficult to grab your audience’s attention and keep it, these online publications help brands stand out from the crowd and add to your brand equity.
Who Says Print Is Dead?
While many brands opt for producing a digital magazine, a number of companies have chosen to launch print magazines to reach their customers. The home-rental company Airbnb was one of the first brands to jump on this trend, putting out a debut issue of Pineapple in 2014. Despite the fact that management and budget challenges derailed that project in its infancy, Airbnb stayed committed to the idea of a branded magazine. The company partnered with Hearst Publications to develop AirbnbMag, a travel-focused magazine that they hope to publish at least twice a year.
King Arthur Flour, an online purveyor of baking supplies, also entered the branded-publication arena with Sift, a visually stunning magazine aimed at serious bakers. The magazine carries a hefty $12.95 price tag per issue, but Sift is selling like hotcakes–so far, the magazine has exceeded sales projections by 50 percent.
Why Use Branded Magazines?
In a world where many traditional print magazines are struggling to survive, why would companies choose to dive into the world of print? The answer is straightforward: engagement. Big-time engagement. Research reveals that a reader will spend an average of 20 to 25 minutes on a branded magazine. That’s the kind of deep, sustained engagement that’s very difficult to duplicate through other channels. Since only a handful of companies are investing in print magazines, this tactic is also a terrific way for a brand to differentiate itself from the competition.
Putting It All Together
Brand-launched magazines are one of today’s biggest content trends, and it’s not difficult to see why. These publications offer a unique way for companies to engage with their customers and build valuable brand sentiment. In this information-saturated age, it’s not always enough to deliver quality products and services. You need something more to generate that critical word of mouth, and magazines may be exactly what you need.