As is the case with the broader magazine industry, the squeeze of digital disruption has also been applied to owned media—and Warman says the budgets are becoming tighter.
“As the market has become more and more fragmented, resources, both time and money, need to be stretched further and further,” she says.
And a magazine by itself is also no longer enough. The splintering of media when coupled with the insatiable demand for more content has caused Resene to invest significantly in digital content as well as the magazine.
Habitat magazine was joined four years ago by a website, which was then revamped in early 2014 – habitatbyresene. There is now a wide social presence with Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
“Online content came about because we found that once we had Habitat magazine twice a year, readers wanted articles and inspiration in between magazines,” says Warman. “So rather than create more magazines, we instead created a weekly Habitat of the Week EDM to bring fresh decorating inspiration each week backed up by the then Habitat of the Week website, now renamed Habitat by Resene.”
More recently, Habitat has also moved into video content with the development of a video platform that currently houses a series of ‘How to’ video clips, which play a particularly important role in the DIY space.
But the purpose of this magazine isn’t only to entertain and inspire the reader. It also plays an important marketing role for Resene.
“One thing that was very clear is that while there’s a reward aspect with regard to the customers, more importantly it plays a strategic part in driving the demand for continuous improvement in the home,” says Baker. “It’s bit like a Trojan Horse. By getting inside the walls of the household, we can inspire people to continue improvement. By driving that demand, we actually drive the category.”
Baker sees content marketing and advertising playing complementary roles when it comes to a marketing strategy.
“One of the reasons why advertising and content are such comfortable bedfellows is that they do different jobs,” he says. “Advertising is best at market share. It’s best at building brand awareness and growing market share for a brand. Whereas, I think content marketing is about category growth; it’s about creating demand that didn’t exist, rather than fulfilling demand that already exists.”
Warman mirrors these sentiments, saying that it’s part of the reason why she uses both traditional advertising and content marketing.
“We find the mix of branded content and conventional advertising works well. Conventional advertising tends to be faster to generate attention and great for ideas that can be quickly conveyed, and branded content helps us provide a deeper level of information to help decorators with their planning and to make decisions and choices for their projects.”
And while Habitat might not be a magazine in the traditional sense, Baker makes a valuable point when he says: "There’s no greater testimony to the effectiveness of magazine than in brands creating one for themselves." And having already done just that for 12 years, Warman shows no signs of losing her faith in Habitat.