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Media Intelligence : July 2007
Custom and client publishing is an essential weapon in the battle to engage the hearts and minds of consumers, and, well executed, is a lethal tool in the armoury of savvy marketers and brands. It o ers a high level of engagement with readers, a ords entry into speci c target markets for advertisers, and is easily integrated with new media. According to Lovonne Burrow, managing director of The Publishing Partnership (TPP), custom publishing can be brie y summed up as "publishing where a company makes the strategic decision to publish its own magazine as part of brand- building or customer-retention strategies". Most commonly, a brand will engage a publisher to write and produce the content, under speci c guidelines from the brand management. Depending on the client s objectives, the format of the publication can follow a predetermined model, or be organic in concept. Fiona Hardie, managing director of Hardie Grant Publishing, talks to her clients about what they are hoping to achieve from the communication, or about the versatility of the medium. "In our minds, there is no xed model, so we might show them the range of expressions that [their message] could appear in, even down to the types of styles and formats of the publications that can re ect their brand in lots of di erent ways, but are also responsive to their customers." Janice Williams, associate publisher at Universal Magazines, agrees. "In terms of pitching models, it really comes down to the communication challenge because, at the end of the day, we are addressing a client s communication needs. You might have a client who has a database that the publication is reaching that represents opportunities, but they just don t want advertising, and that is ne. Occasionally you will get a client who wants an advertiser- funded model and they don t have the database, and it s not really going to work, so it does come down to what a client s assets are. Where a client doesn t have an asset, we give them a good, realistic appraisal of what they can expect. Some of [our custom titles] do have cover prices and sell on the newsstand, but, even if they don t, you are still battling with other magazines and other media for share of mind, so there really isn t any point in doing it unless you believe there is a legitimate publishing model with a legitimate need for readers." The custom-publishing industry is well entrenched in the UK and US, with custom publications accounting for the top ve magazines by circulation in the UK. Despite the obvious di erences of a far smaller market and a less developed sector in Australia, the trend has started to in ltrate locally. Take the Virgin Blue in ight magazine, Voyeur. Published by Text Paci c, it has become the fastest growing publication in Australia, with the readership for the December 2006 quarter increasing from 314,000 to 349,000 per month, which is an increase of 78.1% from the December 2005 gures. "We had a strategy around increasing readership," says Text Paci c s managing director, Georgina Brujic. "The number of people on planes 30 MediaTitles Custom and client publishing Customer retention, brand reinforcement, loyalty, increased sales, higher brand awareness, customer acquisition and communication are just some of the benefits of establishing a custom publication. Leveraging the brand's goodwill
2009 - 2010