Associated Media Restructures to Maximise Growth
Following international publishing trends, Associated Media has rolled out a new business model and undergone a creative transformation to adapt to the fast-changing business landscape.
This is according to Associated Media group CEO, Julia Raphaely, who says: “We have created a hub inside the group in which creatives work across titles and brainstorm together on creating fresh, new and exciting editorial content. These teams also work with sales executives across the brands on innovative and exciting marketing concepts for the group’s brands and clients.”
The Associated group has been home to iconic international brands such as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Good Housekeeping/Goeie Huishouding (SA’s only international title in Afrikaans) for over 30 years, as well as its own House and Leisure and Women on Wheels titles. Since 2008 it has also developed and grown a dominant digital audience, and reaches the majority of millennials with its 24/ 7 messaging.
While the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa’s newly released circulation figures for the period April-June 2016 (ABC Q2 2016) indicate that industry figures are down across the industry, Raphaely says that Associated Media is ensuring maximum growth and sustainability in a declining market and in some areas is fairing significantly better than its competitors.
She says, “We are focussed on and committed to creating world-class content to cater for our consumers across all channels, 24/7. In effect, Associated is now in business with its own brand as well as its titles, with a huge reach and larger audience. We still believe in print as part of the channel mix but we have built a much bigger platform for those brands that we publish than shelves on a shop floor.”
She continues, “We have always specialised in live events,” says Raphaely, “but now every concept we create for a client has a live activation and online exposure attached to it.”
The group’s recent change of paper in the group’s print products has been widely welcomed. “Matte is more modern,” says Raphaely, “and that complements the transformation of the layout styles in the September issues of Marie Claire and House and Leisure. This came out of the hub activation along with Good Housekeeping’s more fashionable fashion and more beautiful beauty pages.”
The changes in the business model have also prompted Associated to seek new premises. “We have worked on seven smallish floors for too long,” says Raphaely. “We are looking for a larger, more integrated open space in an equally buzzy and connected part of the city.”
Associated is packing a powerful punch at the time that the industry needs it. “The proof, if you want it, is in the messages we constantly receive from our audiences. It isn’t just mail. They are love letters and they come in on all platforms,” says Raphaely. “When your audience is as perceptive, passionate and prescriptive as ours, you almost don’t need research.”