Branded content is definitely in vogue so it's only natural that Condé Nast Britain, the iconic magazine publisher of brands such as VOGUE, GQ and Vanity Fair, would set up a Branded Content Studio.
Tristan Taylor has been appointed to the new role as Head of Branded Content at Condé Nast Digital. According to a statement from the company quoted by wwd.com, the creation of the new division reflects the growth in revenues from native content in the past two years and will result in a series of new positions in the future.
Taylor joins the company from AOL Advertising, where he worked as channel partnership strategist. Prior to that, he held a series of positions in media companies including Channel 5 Broadcasting, Telegraph Media Group, News International, Associated Newspapers and Independent News & Media. We asked Tristan Taylor to give us some insights about his new endeavour.
As a central team, we are uniquely positioned across our business to create integrated partnerships reaching premium audiences.
What are your main priorities in your new role as Head of Branded Content at Condé Nast Digital?
The branded content team has recently launched as STORIES. STORIES has been set up to offer clients a simplified approach to creative partnerships across the full Condé Nast Britain portfolio. As a central team, we are uniquely positioned across our business to create integrated partnerships reaching premium audiences that live across multiple Condé Nast Britain brands.
My role as Head of Branded Content is to oversee a team of specialists across Video, Digital, Social and Editorial for the UK company. From initial idea’s through to design, production and delivery we have the knowledge and experience to deliver the best creative work for our advertising partners.
What are the challenges of creating branded content campaigns on multiple platforms and across multiple brands?
We want to ensure the content we are creating is right for the platform and context in which it appears, so the audience value it and is more likely to engage with it. A simple example of this could be ensuring a video-led campaign featuring across both VOGUE and GQ is housed within contextually relevant commercial articles, appealing to the different audiences.
Other challenges could be ensuring the creative messaging used across social channels is tailored to the audience, i.e Facebook posts across GQ have a certain style compared to Glamour. The team at STORIES is tasked with creating central campaign ideas that can run across multiple Condé Nast brands. Our main challenge is to make sure all the campaign elements whilst tailored to the platform and environment they appear still feel as if they all belong together. Data and past learnings are key to informing our decisions going forward.
Video is included in 90% of the pitch work we do.
How important is video in this mix and why?
Video is included in 90% of the pitch work we do, whether its long-form, short-form or social only. Video ad expenditure is growing and we will continue to produce engaging content relevant to the audience and platform used to meet demand.
Aston Martin has signed a partnership with Condé Nast Stories for a content campaign, ‘The Beauty of Design,’ to appear on the British Vogue and GQ sites and social media platforms. See the campaign on Vogue.co.uk and GQ.co.uk.
Can a traditional print company ever compete with digital-native media companies such as Refinery29 that are expanding to the UK and other global markets?
We are known for creating the best content in the world across fashion, travel, luxury retail, lifestyle and tech with iconic media brands which consumers trust. Online digital companies don’t have this brand equity with consumers for driving key marketing KPIs.
Traditionally, magazine brands have tended to be isolated entities within a company rather than working together. How can branded content campaigns successfully be extended to more than one brand?
STORIES has been set-up to address this challenge, offering clients the opportunity to run seamless branded content campaigns across multiple Condé Nast Britain brands. Our aim is to create a central content idea for a client which then translates across more than one of our brands but tweaked to make it contextually relevant and natural to the brands' editorial environment. We also use our portfolio of brands to cross promote campaigns, a simple example would be running native ad placements across VOGUE promoting commercial activity running on Tatler or vice versa.
Is the editorial staff of Condé Nast's publications participating in the development of branded content?
We work closely with editorial staff across each Condé Nast Britain brand to ensure the commercial content meets the same high standards they set themselves. Often brands want to leverage the authority and credibility our staff writers have for commercial content pieces which we have to manage but will offer when appropriate to do so.
We also work closely with each brand's Engagement Manager who is best placed to advise on how effective the content will be and assist in the strategy to make the content discoverable to the right audience.
The British Condé Nast STORIES division has seen double digit growth.
According to research by MediaRadar, renewal rates for native advertising/branded content are rather low. Is that the case for Condé Nast Britain as well?
Branded content spend is growing year on year at 28% according to the IAB, and the British Condé Nast STORIES division has seen double digit growth, so the market is clearly healthy. Renewal rates for partnership campaigns do vary and many factors determine why the client may choose not to renew as marketing plans around brands change each year. We put a lot of emphasis on client service and set-out pre-agreed KPIs to deliver against.
How do you look at the Branded Content Studio landscape as it is - and going forward?
There will always be a place for quality branded content and those that do it well have a strong future ahead of them. Quality content from Condé Nast should always be right for our brands so it naturally fits with the environment, tone and style we are known for and so adhering to the high standards we set ourselves. This, in turn, should make it right for our audience so they value and engage with it.
Condé Nast is a publishing company of exceptionally strong brands and it’s for this reason, branded content will continue to be successful for us as clients look to leverage our quality for their own benefit, through integrated partnerships.
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