Far from being a dying art or a place where words go to die, print is firmly holding its ground to digital advances, especially in niche and regional markets. These four branded print titles are testament to that fact. Not only are all four doing a great job of raising awareness and increasing engagement for the brands they represent, they are profit-making entities as well. In part three of our four-part series on the role of print in a digital age, we discover some of the solutions behind the amazing success stories.
Deere & Company’s 121-year-old farming magazine, The Furrow, is a prime example of how a branded magazine can stand the test of time and hold its ground in the ever changing digital landscape. The Furrow, which was first published in 1895, is now the most circulated farming magazine in the world, and delivered to more than 1.5 million farmers, in 12 languages across 40 countries. It has been hailed as one of the first examples of brands using content marketing to reach out to an audience with the aim of building a lasting relationship with them. It was launched by John Deere’s son Charles, who recognised the need for farmers to have an accurate, unbiased source of information—its primary aim to educate farmers on new technology and enable them to become more successful business owners. The Furrow maintains its editorial legacy to this day, featuring content created by journalists, story-tellers and farmers, covering topics pertinent to the farming industry. Amazingly, in its 120+ year run it has purposefully avoided publishing self-serving content or promotional messages within its pages. In fact, Deere & Company’s publication manager David Jones, featured in the Content Marketing Institute’s documentary, The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing, estimates that the John Deere brand name has been mentioned in the magazine fewer than 20 times in its entire history.
Sainsbury’s Magazine, the flagship print title of the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, is Britain’s best-selling newsstand food title. The 20-year-old magazine, created by a team of foodies and journalists from London’s content marketing agency Seven, sells 250,000 copies every month at £2 apiece. It is a fantastic example of how a branded magazine can not only make money from copy sales and ad revenue, but also do an effective job of showcasing its foodie credentials. Publisher Sean King said: “We know we generate millions of pounds in global sales because we identify and track customers who read the magazine, and can understand at a higher level what those people spend their money on. We know that people who buy the magazine spend more money in-store buying the products we feature, than those who don’t [buy the magazine].” King says the magazine is a core part of Sainsbury’s business because it generates millions of pounds in advertising and in product sales. Assigning its success to its independent editorial strategy, he said, “It may have Sainsbury’s name on it, but it’s not an in-house magazine. The editorial is essentially independent. We employ great editors, photographers and art directors and we use the best chefs. It has a solid reputation and a heritage, which is something you don’t find with online publications. Because it’s such a successful magazine we’ve been able to invest in the content, which means we can afford the best editorial team. The math works.”
Endless Vacation® magazine
Endless Vacation® magazine, now in its third decade, with a circulation of 1.7 million, is the largest national travel magazine in the United States, reaching more than 4.2 million readers. Endless Vacation® magazine, with its subscription-only status, delivers more than twice the circulation of other travel titles. This members-only title, produced on behalf of Wyndham Worldwide Company, rivals newsstand competitors such as Time Inc’s Travel + Leisure magazine or Conde Nast’s Traveler and attracts high net worth readers with an average household income of $115,847. Endless Vacation’s editor in chief, Bree Sposato says: “Print remains a powerful force. It increases product awareness and exposes people to content they haven’t searched for specifically, so there’s a valuable element of discovery and opportunity. It provides access to these avid travelers at another touch point in addition to the Endless Vacation digital platforms. Furthermore, print cultivates a sense of identity.”
The up-market British supermarket chain Waitrose, which has been producing a monthly magazine since 1999, renewed its commitment to print by launching a revamped edition called Waitrose Food late last year. The food retailer, which prints 750,000 copies of its magazine and distributes them in its 344 UK stores, charges £2 per copy, a fee that is waived to its five million loyalty card holders. Edited by the TV presenter, food critic and journalist William Sitwell, it has an estimated circulation of 2.5 million readers who now refer to the publication as the ‘Bible of food’. Publisher John Brown Media’s CEO, Andrew Hirsch, who has helped create print titles for other retailers around the globe, talked about the value of Waitrose magazine to its business, “We sell millions of pounds’ worth of advertising in this magazine annually, which just off-sets the cost of production. The real prize for the retailer is how the content makes people aware of products. Our intention is to get the customer to pick up two or three new items in their shopping basket that they wouldn’t normally buy. We track sales and we can prove that the content we’re creating is driving sales—in store and online.”
This year’s Pearl Awards are accepting entries for Best Print Magazine until September 12th 2016. Enter your outstanding work today!