It's no secret that brands are increasingly moving away from traditional forms of paid media in favour of other options like branded content, native advertising and owned media, with a recent PWC report in Australia showing 67 percent of marketers were shifting their spend from bought to owned channels and a quarter of marketers spent between 20 percent and 30 percent of their budget building their own media channels. But Resene has been ahead of the curve in this regard, with its twice-yearly magazine Habitat launching back in 2004. And it is continuing that evolution with the launch of a new responsive, content-rich website www.habitatbyresene.co.nz.
"With all the talk about 'owned media' and content marketing, it’s worth noting the inspired decision Karen Warman [Resene's marketing manager] made in 2003 to commit to developing an editorially-led content play long before the virtues of content marketing were commonly heard on the marketing speaking circuit," says Tangible Media's John Baker.
He says the strategic play is to use Habitat as a demand driver. And its function is to inspire Resene customers to continuously improve their homes by showcasing some of New Zealand's best houses and emerging design trends. In 2009, the twice-yearly Habitat magazine, which is published by Tangible Media and mailed out to around 230,000 Resene cardholders, added an online extension and became a weekly e-newsletter (which is now sent to just over 100,000 recipients). But it was time for an upgrade and there are now a range of new features on the site.
Like other home-related sites like www.houzz.com, users can now file photographs, colours and info from the site in their own personal folder for future reference. Editor Sharon Newey says there is also a much-improved search function and the site is much more visual, with a nod to Pinterest in the layout (it also has its own Pinterest page). There will also be more investment in video, with Tangible's sister company creating original content on a variety of themes.
Newey says it is also embracing a more holistic editorial approach, with more 'how to's' and tips on offer for readers, rather than just pretty pictures of nice houses. Users can also ask the Resene colour and paint experts for advice and it has integrated a bunch of Resene's existing digital tools into the site (for all those houseproud StopPress readers wanting to show off their own projects and homes, get in touch at email@example.com).
A small, but growing revenue model for the site is the mix of display, sponsorship and native advertising it sells. Baker believes the biggest opportunity is around native, because the Habitat audience is so hungry for information about products.
"It's content marketing within a content marketing environment. It's a little bit like a Russian doll."
- StopPress is part of Image Centre Group, which owns Tangible Media