Virginia Hyland speaks at Publish

Capitalising on the powerful brands of magazines

Magazines have powerful brands but an education gap remains with advertisers and agencies in regards to how to leverage the medium.

Australian magazines are extremely powerful brands but media planners and buyers are yet to get their heads around the fact that they extend well beyond the printed product.

Speaking at Mumbrella’s Publish conference, Virginia Hyland, Founder and Principal of Hyland Communications Group, said: “What you’ve been doing well is building really powerful brands. For me, a magazine is not a magazine, it’s a magazine brand. We need to get more media planners and buyers to understand that you are a magazine brand, not just a magazine.”

Hyland’s comments followed a presentation by Magazine Networks’ Executive Director, Mary Ann Azer that highlighted the power of the magazine medium. The findings, based on the Passion Response and Multiplier Effect studies conducted by the industry body, included the fact that magazine readers are cashed up and influential with 38% more likely to post on social media, 17% more likely to tell others about new products and 36% more likely to place importance on brand choice. The research also found that readers spend an average of one hour and 17 minutes reading each edition, time which does not include multi-tasking or second screening. Magazines are also great at influencing purchase decisions with 65% of readers influenced by featured products, 59% of readers influenced by the ads and 57% more likely to have purchased products advertised in magazines they trust.

Hyland said: “Most of the clients that I work with would love to have brands that are as powerful as the magazine brands and they’ve love to have the awareness and those fantastic research figures against their brands.”

However, Hyland raised concerns that magazines are not getting a fair share of advertising budgets as publishers aren’t using the right “language” when dealing with agencies and advertisers. She said: “My greatest fear is that the language some of the publishers use isn’t strong enough to make us change our mind, to move our money away from Facebook and YouTube and all these frustrating places where we’re now putting our money.”

Joining Hyland on the panel, Paul Blackburn, General Manager of Key Accounts NSW at News Corp Australia, agreed that publishers need to get better at communicating the strengths of their offerings. He said: “We aren’t communicating to you guys enough about these facts. The message isn’t getting through, so we have to get better at it.”

He noted that there are other perceptions in-market putting the medium at a disadvantage. He said: “It’s a misconception that magazine mediums aren’t reaching as many people. We actually reach more people than we ever have before with our brands.”

Also on the panel, Nicole Bence, interim commercial director for Pacific Magazines, added: “What we do is create audiences through great content, through the power of great brands. Nothing’s changed, but I think to Virginia’s point, we’ve got to get a lot better at how we modernise that language and start talking about what we’ve got that the other channels haven’t in a much better way.”