An important part of the marketing mix, journalism and brands have “symbiotic relationship”, said Mattel EMEA PR Director Amarilis Whitty
The UM Futureproof panel, led by Newsworks agency and client services director Niki West, spoke about their organisations’ challenges and visions in the face of the climate emergency, as well as how journalism and news brands can support and enhance advertisers’ conversations with their consumers around questions of sustainability and climate change.
For Helen Coffey, travel editor at The Independent, news brands are not only vital in ensuring that trusted, verifiable information is readily available to counteract misinformation on social media but are also key platforms where consumers make sustainable everyday brand decisions.
“I think we play a real role in trying to educate about [questions like] what could you do as an individual,” Coffey explained, using the example of a recent article detailing different non-dairy milk options. “Taking issues like that and actually very practically laying out…all the options… [we can] bring those kinds of ideas into the mainstream and give people a sense of what they can actually do.”
This makes news brands prime opportunities to speak to consumers in an engaging environment. When asked what role journalism plays in making planning and investment decisions around sustainable advertising, Michael Hanbury-Williams, group director, data solutions and sustainability at UM, stressed the power news brands have in commanding readers’ attention.
“Journalism guarantees attention and engagement”, he said. “We know that an engaged reader is a high value opportunity for advertisers.” Along with the wealth of knowledge news brands have on their own readership, “journalism is and always will be a backbone of…the way that we plan.”
Meanwhile, the importance of responsible media to act as “balances and checks” against information coming from social networks was also underlined by Whitty, who added that news brands have a reputation for “credibility”, “newsworthiness” and “engaging content”.
“It’s important and a huge opportunity”, she added. “Particularly on those increased viewership figures… [news brands are] more relevant than ever.”