New Zealand Marketing - - 20 Hot List 2018 -

As me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions har­ness new ini­tia­tives to at­tract both read­ers and spon­sors, Homestyle rep­re­sents the epit­ome of a mod­ern-day mag­a­zine mak­ing things hap­pen. Donned this year's Hottest Mag­a­zine, we sat down with gen­eral man­ager at Homestyle Ni­cholas Bur­rowes to dis­cuss its finely ex­e­cuted of­fer­ings.

Af­ter 13 years in busi­ness, Homestyle has gen­er­ated a read­er­ship of 90,000 and cir­cu­la­tion of 13,310 (ac­cord­ing to Mag­a­zine 360's June data) One of Homestyle's big­gest tricks is its abil­ity to in­te­grate branded con­tent. An ex­am­ple be­ing the, ‘Style your Space’, cam­paign for Citta, which took out the top Con­tent Mar­ket­ing Award at the Mag­a­zine Me­dia Awards. De­signed to give cus­tomers the op­por­tu­nity to cu­rate their own in­te­rior space, the three-year in­ter­ac­tive cam­paign ran a mix­ture of work­shops, edi­to­rial spreads and on­line com­pe­ti­tions. It fos­tered high lev­els of en­gage­ment and stemmed fur­ther branded con­tent, such as its slick work with Fisher & Paykel. Bur­rowes says it only pro­duces and pub­lishes branded con­tent that is unique, and a per­fect fit, look and feel for its chan­nels. "We’ve found ev­ery piece of work we put into the mar­ket lives far longer than the im­me­di­ate cam­paign, and adds to our client’s con­tent strate­gies. We’ve seen con­tent we pro­duced two years ago be­ing re­pub­lished in other pub­li­ca­tions now.” Fur­ther suc­cess has been met on its use of so­cial plat­forms. In Jan­uary, Homestyle had the top Instagram fol­low­ing of all MPA mem­ber’s pub­li­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to Mag­a­zine 360, with 47,200 fol­low­ers. That's since grown to 49,300 and Bur­rowes says it's been con­scious of har­ness­ing so­cial me­dia plat­forms to gar­ner en­gage­ment and in­ter­ac­tion. An­other in­valu­able move for Homestyle has been its re­cent re­brand, which ac­cord­ing to Bur­rowes, bet­ter aligns to its au­di­ence, edi­to­rial and busi­ness di­rec­tions. He cred­its art di­rec­tor Juli­ette Wanty with the task of craft­ing a mast­head that would trans­late equally well as a stand­alone brand out­side of the print prod­uct. “At the pace me­dia moves we don’t see a lot of value in the ret­ro­spec­tive her­itage of most mag­a­zine brands, so we were look­ing ahead with a cir­cuit breaker. There was a short-term risk of brand con­fu­sion, but the new look cre­ated a re­tail up­lift of 25 per­cent up­lift in the first week on sale – it spoke a lot to be­ing bold rather than safe.” Along­side stiff com­pe­ti­tion em­brac­ing our na­tional prop­erty ob­ses­sion and DIY boom, Homestyle has man­aged to hold its point of dis­tinc­tion with in­tegrity. Bur­rowes says Homestyle man­ages to at­tract a new wave of mod­ern home lovers, who are in their 30s and 40s, af­flu­ent and are highly ac­tive. He points to­wards its com­mer­cial of­fer­ings, which ex­tend be­yond the mag­a­zine and into the greater home cat­e­gory, show­cased in its con­tent mar­ket­ing, pho­to­shoots, in­te­rior styling and the oc­ca­sional work in a con­sul­tant ca­pac­ity. Asked how Homestyle jug­gles its mul­ti­ple of­fer­ings, Bur­rowes says: “Print re­mains our core medium and we only fo­cus on dig­i­tal chan­nels that have the right fit and val­ues for our brand. Be­ing a small team ev­ery­one is across the ac­tiv­ity in each plat­form, so it’s more of a fine bal­ance than a jug­gling act.”

all, qual­ity jour­nal­ism is still all around us. “Some­times it’s easy to fall into a trap where we spend most of our time whing­ing and com­plain­ing, or call­ing out the bad stuff, but there’s so much good stuff that needs to be cham­pi­oned.” Some­thing he’s proud of is The Spinoff’s re­cent launch of The Bul­letin, a daily cu­ra­tion of top sto­ries from across the coun­try. The aim is to fill that void that had been con­tracted out to so­cial me­dia. He says although that works to some de­gree, there’s also “an aw­ful lot of bull­shit and vit­riol you have to wade through” to get there". “Mean­while the front pages of some of our big­gest news sites, the Her­ald and Stuff, are full of some ex­traor­di­nar­ily good jour­nal­ism by ex­traor­di­nar­ily good jour­nal­ists.” The Bul­letin is just one branch of what is “per­ma­nent rev­o­lu­tion” at The Spinoff, Manhire says, with a TV show, new sec­tions and “all sorts of things on the boil”. He says re­plac­ing found­ing ed­i­tor Dun­can Greive was less of a coup d’etat than a con­tin­u­a­tion on in the same di­rec­tion, with Greive now fo­cus­ing on busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. “The thing that’s re­ally ex­cit­ing about The Spinoff is that it’s still in a kind of fast chang­ing state, a lit­tle bit amor­phous and we’re de­vel­op­ing all sorts of sprout limbs at ran­dom.” The key, at the heart of every­thing is “re­ally smart and imag­i­na­tive and funny writ­ing", which he’s “mas­sively proud of”. He ad­mits it sounds trite but says the essence of the site’s suc­cess rests to­tally on the group of peo­ple be­hind it. “Across the board it's stag­ger­ing the level of cre­ativ­ity and em­pa­thy and wit.” Fund­ing the sto­ry­telling is a spon­sor­ship model and while Manhire’s em­braced it, he says it’s no sil­ver bul­let in terms of a busi­ness model for jour­nal­ism, and the fact that ev­ery­one is try­ing every­thing is the right ap­proach. Look­ing for­ward, Manhire says the beauty be­ing in this “weird me­dia startup hy­brid” is that it can just em­brace the idea that what it will look like in a year’s time will be very dif­fer­ent. Some ideas will pros­per, some won’t, and although he’s wary of the terms “nim­ble” and “ag­ile”, he ad­mits the busi­ness – from top to bot­tom – has a fleet­ness of foot and will keep us­ing that to say: “Oh hey, that looks cool let's go and do that.”

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