Five Examples of Successful Print Magazines Published by Brands
As advertising budgets continue to switch to digital channels, print advertising sales have floundered. There’s been a consistent fall in sales of both the glossy ads of luxury and high-end brands and the more prosaic local ads. But there is a renaissance happening in print – and it’s not being driven by advertising.
The widespread shift to a “content marketing approach” is inspiring some brands to think about print in a different way. The long-form copy developed as part of content marketing lends itself well to a printed format, making magazines an interesting adjunct to be used as part of a wider marketing strategy.
There is a renaissance happening in print – and it’s not being driven by advertising.
For some consumers, print is a novel media. Integrating it into a campaign, therefore, presents an opportunity to reach some audiences in a new way – and, as other brands turn away from printed media, this means print offers a significant opportunity to get noticed.
Brands are realising that print can be an important source of differentiation and competitive advantage. Its tactile nature makes it particularly well suited for luxury and high-end brands. But the enduring nature of the medium makes it an interesting proposition for a wide swathe of different companies and sectors. This article presents a selection of brands that have found success through print magazine content marketing.
Fashion is no stranger to the print magazine format, so there’s little wonder that challenger fashion brands have exploited the potential of print. ASOS is one of the fastest-growing fashion retailers in the UK over the last decade, but its business is entirely online. So perhaps the choice of glossy print communications might seem, at first glance, a little surprising.
However, its printed magazine, featuring interviews with A-list stars and issue-driven journalism alongside the glossy fashion photography, has been a huge success. The magazine is sent out for free to loyal customers.
It now boasts a UK print audience of more than 450,000 per issue. Circulation figures rise to more than 700,000 when distribution in France, Germany and the US is taken into account. Plus, there’s an additional online audience of 120,000.
ASOS published its 100th issue in February 2018. It included features on Maisie Williams, Cole Sprouse, J Hus and Jorja Smith. The fashion brand celebrated by putting copies of the 100th issue on sale on its website for £1. It has since continued with this strategy, and fashion fans can now choose to purchase the brand magazine for this nominal fee.
After fashion, travel is, perhaps, the most obvious candidate for print magazine format content marketing success. Little wonder, then, that many travel brands publish their own in-house magazine. Most hotel chains, airlines and luxury operators have print magazines, which are distributed at their own locations – hotel coffee tables, airport lounges, seatbacks etc.
One of the best seatback magazines is the Metropolitan magazine produced for Eurostar. Metropolitan is a lifestyle magazine designed for Eurostar’s cosmopolitan audience; it showcases some of the best of European culture, especially that of the cities of Brussels, Paris and London, which Eurostar services.
Read from one direction in Metropolitan, and you’ll find the English version of the articles; read from the other, and you can find the same articles in French. Thanks to its distribution in seatbacks and business lounges, it reaches a potential monthly readership of 410,000. Eurostar says that 62% of its passengers have read Metropolitan.
While fashion and travel are perfect for the magazine format, the world of finance might not seem like an obvious candidate for this type of communication.
However, Allianz has shown that, by partnering with creative communications agencies, there’s no need to think in terms of these limitations. The power of print to amplify your message is amply illustrated by Allianz SE’s partnership with C3 Creative Code and Content. For nine years, between 2008 and 2017, Allianz produced a glossy publication called Project M, winning more than 80 marketing and publishing awards in the process.
Project M showcased Allianz’s expertise in the field of pensions through articles from journalists and academics on key industry issues and trends and topics such as asset management and life insurance. The print magazine had a subscriber base of more than 32,000 plus additional distribution via bulk shipments to offices and partners which resulted in a total print run of 153,850.
Importantly, the print format was part of an integrated marketing communications strategy that used social media to promote the print magazine and articles from the print magazine to generate copy for the social channels.
Red Bull is another unlikely brand to see the opportunity in expressing its brand values through the power of print.
However, it’s taken a slightly different approach to its distribution strategy. Red Bull publishes ten issues of The Red Bulletin each year, but customers need to purchase the print magazine (charged at £3.50 per copy in the UK).
Red Bull’s annual publishing schedule includes two special bumper issues – a summer and a winter special. It is published in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Gulf Region, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, UK, USA and Brazil at a volume of 2.5 million monthly print copies per month.
The print format is ideal for expressing the action, adventure and thrill-seeking personality of the brand, which is similarly brought to life in its sponsorship of extreme and unusual events around the world. The lifestyle magazine features articles on sport, action, adventure, music, culture, nightlife and innovation.
Red Bull’s publishing strategy allows for regional variation: content differs across the international publications. For example, in the September 2019 issues, the UK cover featured “it’s a LDN thing – the culture-shifting artists redefining the city’s sounds”, while the German version headlined on “more outdoor adventures for autumn, as recommended by 5 top athletes”, and the French version celebrated motocross star Shayna Texta.
The unlikeliness of the magazine approach for industrial automation solutions and the Internet of Things hasn’t stopped COPA-DATA, an innovative Austrian manufacturer of industrial software.
Its creative in-house team saw an opportunity to exploit the print format in order to communicate with its B2B customer base of engineers, software developers, production management and leaders in the manufacturing and energy industries.
The company produces a hefty bi-annual publication that reaches a global print audience of 12,000. This audience is spread over 113 countries and served by two different language versions: German and English.
Information Unlimited features the company’s latest corporate news and tips and tricks for getting the most out of its products. COPA-DATA also uses the format to promote its partners and customers through features and success stories. There’s also practical advice for easy engineering and reports from a variety of industries and markets.
This combination of features and practical product tips offers value for both existing customers and people who are new to the product. Existing customers can access the engineering tips to get the most return from their investment, while the features offer an easy way for people who are new to the product to find out more about it and the company that creates it.
The magazine is produced in house and sent free of charge to subscribers who can sign up through the company website.
The Power of Print
Print continues to have real impact with consumers – and not just in a B2C context. The Information Unlimited magazine produced by COPA-DATA demonstrates the breadth of companies that can use print to reach their customer base if they are willing to think creatively about how to add value for their customers.
Could your brand benefit from print?