In the event’s first commercial panel, client- and agency-side leaders came together with senior publisher figures to speak about why journalism matters to advertisers as much as it does to readers.
When asked his view on why journalism matters, Mail Metro Media’s chief brand strategy officer Ryan Uhl struck upon a vital theme: “News brands provide trusted, professionally curated journalism.”
With the rise of fake news and sharing of unverified content on social media, the panellists taking part in the ‘Why Journalism Matters’ session all agreed that trust has never been more important.
“Our customers look to trusted sources of information during times of uncertainty and news brands deliver that,” affirmed Amy Caven, senior media manager at Boots.
The other panellists agreed, saying that trust in news brands is developed over time and continually reinforced with the delivery of professionally curated news.
Deborah Rosenegk, the Evening Standard’s chief client officer, explained how this trust is vital for advertisers: “Audiences are happy to have advertising and they trust us as news brands to deliver this in the right way. Trust begins with editorial content and this flows into the commercial content.”
In considering why journalism matters, Caven said that the argument goes beyond trust to the important purpose that news brands have in our society: “Research shows that brands with purpose grow two times faster, so why we would we not want to be associated with that?”
She added: “We work very hard to be diverse and inclusive and news brands are an important part of that.”
The panellists pointed to the growth of digital as a key factor in news brands’ continued relevance. “Digital gives us the opportunity to respond in an immediate way,” said Rosenegk.
Carat UK CEO Clare Chapman said: “Digital has been important for scale, flexibility and variety. Advertisers love news brands because of the sheer variety of what you can do.”
The move to digital platforms has also afforded news brands a wealth of important data. Uhl commented: “News brands are direct-to-consumer brands. That gives us all of that first-party data and enables us to target consumers so successfully.”
“We recently found that stories of real people were outperforming influencer-based sponsor content — that kind of insight is so important.”
All the panellists shared the view that news brands are now so much more than news. “News brands are a place where people come to get new information and to discover new things. Advertising can work really well with us as a discovery platform,” said Uhl.
Chapman agreed, pointing out that readers go to news brands for entertainment as well as for information: “There are now so many different opportunities to connect with audiences and they go to news brands for so many different reasons. It’s not just about news.”