Brands Still Sell Brands

Don’t lose sight of what quality brands can do for your brand in a world of low-quality programmatic and walled advertising gardens.

In a world filled with clickbait, meaningless slide shows and questionable content sources, most of which are driven by short attention spans and, ultimately, low-quality programmatic revenue models, it’s refreshing to see strong journalism still exists. To wit, in a letter sent to advertising partners including Just Media, Hayley Romer, SVP & Publisher of The Atlantic, reminds us it was 160 years ago today they first published an issue of the magazine. She also shared a number of links to some of their amazing stories over the past 160 years (see below).

This longevity demonstrates both the strong history of the brand as well as the continued commitment to provide our world with meaningful and quality content. For marketers, publications like the Atlantic, among many others that still exist, represent an opportunity to align your brand with trusted content sources.

Just Media still believes brands sell brands. By associating your brand with a quality brand name, you gain credibility in messaging not possible from, say, “Childhood Stars Gone Bad: Where Are They Now.” While entertaining, these gimmicky type of headlines, with landing page experiences often filled with dozens of banners per slide show page, are not moving our world forward and can, in fact, diminish your brand value.

To keep pace in a market where advertising dollars are spread thin, like many other publishers, the Atlantic is turning to paid subscription-based models in order to support their mission:  Even Facebook is getting in on the act, starting to test subscription models in instant articles:

In addition, “traditional” publishers are focused on generating new revenue streams from offerings like growing in-house branded content studios. Here’s an example of how one of our clients is leveraging this association with a strong content source to evolve their brand perception:

While not alone in their digital transformation, it should be noted, The Atlantic, with a majority stake recently bought by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, now generates 80% of revenue from digital adverting, events and consulting services [source]. That’s pretty, pretty, pretty impressive coming from a print brand founded over a century and a half ago by Ralph Waldo Emerson and partners, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Don’t get me wrong, programmatic techniques, native ads, content widgets, etc., are still an essential part of the media mix, as are walled gardens such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. Using quality data sources, we can now engage individuals and companies wherever they interact digitally — and even through a number of growing offline channels. In fact, without impression retargeting / audience extension, it’s hard to get a single publisher to generate any meaningful frequency to each unique user. The advancements in white / black listing techniques, private marketplaces, programmatic direct offerings, etc., will also continue to bring more quality to brands. Our programmatic team is at the forefront of these efforts as we look to create “Connected Experiences” for clients.

That said, if your attention span has allowed you to read this far, I hope you think about how you can combine trusted content sources with the advancements in hyper-targeting to find a major wins for your brand. Other than that, enjoy checking out some of The Atlantic stories below — from the likes of Hellen Keller and Martin Luther King Jr. to Ta-Nehisi Coates and Alex Tizon. Quality content can indeed shape the world and maybe even your brand in the process.


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Articles to Explore:

AUGUST 1873: “The Art of Being President” by James Parton outlines the elements of a good president based on Thomas Jefferson’s time in office.

AUGUST 1932: Far ahead of her time, Helen Keller encouraged more men to do housework in “Put Your Husband in the Kitchen.”

APRIL 1963: The Atlantic published Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” for the first time nationally.

JUNE 2014: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations” sparked international debate on how governments and citizens should confront systemic injustice, both past and present.

MAY 2017: The late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex Tizon’s “My Family’s Slave” told the deeply personal story of Lola, the woman who was his family’s secret slave in the Philippines and the United States.

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