Models aren’t the only slender thing about consumer magazines. Skinnier are the profit margins. With the internet’s disruption of the magazine industry, many publishers have gone out of business as ‘print is dead’ becomes a popular refrain. So why would the savvy marketer consider a custom brand magazine? And why are so many brands getting on the custom brand magazine train?
Remember, stories are more powerful than marketing. When a brand decides to tell its story, it needs to choose which tools they want to use. Key to developing a brand is identifying your tribe. Magazines are fundamentally relational. They fulfill needs by providing information and inspiration to the reader. This relationship can be a powerful tool for any brand. Here are other reasons why a custom brand magazine is worth considering as part of your content marketing mix.
Magazines make you want to be part of the action. From beautiful people on vacation to to-die-for food shots, magazines communicate a sense of luxury to the reader. High-end jewellery boutique Birks produces 1879 by Birks, an oversize, visually-rich semi-annual custom brand magazine that reinforces Birks’ brand of luxury and craftmanship. Besides featuring gorgeous gems, the magazine speaks directly to Birks’ target persona, featuring well-written articles on travel, fashion and culture.
If your brand or product is a luxury item with a dedicated fan base, a magazine can make a lot of sense since it reinforces your community of customers. Furthermore, a print magazine can just feel upmarket. It’s not associated with crass marketing efforts; it’s associated with an aspirational lifestyle.
A lot of blog posts are written on how best to get prospects into the sales funnel. I’d like to suggest one modest strategy: be helpful.
A lot of consumer marketing is related to people’s wants, needs and fears. A custom brand magazine can provide information and articles that solve problems for your specific audience. The Running Room, a running shoe and athletic wear franchise, produces a bimonthly magazine that it sends to members of its rewards program. The magazine contains advice on training for races, injury prevention and choosing appropriate running gear. It is perfect for their core constituency: people who run regularly and therefore make regular purchases of running shoes. Furthermore, by being helpful, the relationship between brand and community is reinforced.
It’s In Print
A lot of attention is concentrated on navigating an algorithm. Being found in a social media feed is challenging at the best of times. A print magazine is an attractive and focused reading experience with no pop-ups. In the age of digital marketing, a print magazine can feel artisanal. Furthermore, a print magazine is defined by you. You don’t follow a character limit, you don’t need to optimize your headline for SEO and you don’t get outbid on cost-per-click by a competitor. You simply generate a beautiful customer experience.
Chango, an advertising technology platform, distributes its custom brand magazine, The Programmatic Mind, in print. The final product, targeted to a B2B audience, is colourful and well-produced. For Chango, print was an opportunity to distinguish themselves in the mind of the buyer from other digital-native companies. This aligned well with their goal of branding themselves as a quality service run by experts in digital marketing.
An article in your magazine can be spun out to fill out your digital platforms and invite your clients to visit you online. For example, a travel article can provide pre-departure checklists and packing tips online, populate your Instagram with gorgeous photos culled from your magazine pages and tweet helpful airline travel tips. If you’re managing your magazine well, you can successfully provide a rich resource for for all of your content touchpoints. This means that the overall cost and scale of a custom brand magazine can be much more manageable than you think. It’s not an additional project, it is an elevation of your current content strategy.
A custom brand magazine can serve as a microcosm of the brand story, reflecting opportunities to transmit corporate values and generate goodwill. You can use it for public relations, retention marketing or lead generation. As an infinitely flexible tool, it can be tailored for almost any marketing goal or market segment. All you need is your tribe.