The media agency hosted three sessions last week discussing ad effectiveness and trusted journalism. The week ended with an in-person Journalism Matters session, reviewed in detail below.
Phil Cowin, Mindshare business director, shares his thoughts on Publishing Week:
Working closely with Newsworks, last week we ran a set of fantastic events, hearing from channel specialists about where news brands fit in the media mix, the scale of cross-platform publisher opportunities and the importance of journalism for readers, society and advertisers.
The week kicked-off in emphatic style with a superb fireside chat with effectiveness guru Peter Field and Newsworks’ Denise Turner.
Referencing the 2021 IPA Databank study, Peter’s session shared how news brands deliver a strong impact on brand trust and quality perceptions, as well as covering topics such as rational vs emotional marketing strategies, publishers’ enduring relevance and influence in society and more.
On Wednesday we welcomed Times Radio presenters Stig Abell and Luke Jones into our new South Bank offices to lead a discussion with Larisa Brown, defence editor of The Times, on ‘Penetrating the Fog of War’.
Incredibly topical and illuminating, it was a fascinating discussion and a startling insight into what it’s like to cover the complexities of war in the age of social media and misinformation.
The climax to the week was a brilliant panel discussion, skilfully chaired by Niki West, answering questions about the importance of journalism to brands, how to invest in brand safe ways and publishers’ role in combatting online misinformation. Audience participation was brilliant and it was great to hear the viewpoints from experts across different parts of the industry.
In focus: ‘Journalism Matters’ panel discussion
Hosted by Niki West, Newsworks’ director of agency and client services, the final session of the week covered the importance of journalism for readers and brands from both editorial and commercial perspectives. West was joined by deputy editor of Metro.co.uk Claire Rutter, Mindshare strategy partner Justin Clouder and M&S senior comms planning manager Becca Stafford.
Speaking about publishers’ accelerating digital footprint, Rutter pointed out the different roles of print and online in telling stories and reporting news, with print allowing for more in-depth and longer-term investigations. “We make sure that in print, we’ve got the best of the best of the best and [with] our digital, we’re very informed by analytics.”
She added that the advantage of digital was understanding what readers wanted in a more interactive way that is impossible with print. “The editors make sure that we’ve got the worthy stories… but also we know what the big hitters are and where people are going and… what they want to see more of… we can use that to our advantage on digital.”
Working with news brands in brand safe environments
Brand safety also featured heavily in the discussion, with both Clouder and Stafford mentioning the advantages of news brands when it comes to managing the content brands’ campaigns appear next to.
Mentioning the reasons for pulling advertising at the beginning of the pandemic, Stafford said: “During Covid, we had to learn a lot of lessons quite quickly… it was very difficult to say anything that… wasn’t flippant or tone deaf to what was going on. Obviously, Covid has now gone on for two years and we have been advertising and that has included on home pages and on front pages.”
She spoke about how M&S learnt to deal with such a delicate situation, adding: “I think a lot it has to do with…the context… [but] we’ve got to have that relationship with our agency partners, commercial teams, editorial teams to make sure we’re looking at where we’re placed in light of our message and what we’re saying.”
Clouder pointed out the human aspect of news brands which allows advertisers to have conversations around ad placements. “Humans are able to make judgements like that in a way that programmatic still can’t, so at least you know that there is someone looking out for you.”
Earlier, he stressed the importance of context for brands, calling ad placement a “shorthand” for what customers can expect, as well as the usefulness of understanding where campaigns are placed and who is seeing them. He said: “Our job is to make sure that advertising turns up in all the right places and news brands can offer all those advantages.”
Journalism matters because…
As ever, the session ended with each of the panellists completing the sentence ‘journalism matters because…’. For Rutter, Clouder and Stafford, it’s the emphasis on the need for truth and accuracy in a world of misinformation that makes news brands essential.
Stafford summarised this succinctly: “Journalism matters because it connects us with the truth.”