De Groose Calls For Marketing Drive To Champion Newsbrands

Tracy De Groose, the new executive chair of Newsworks, has called for a major drive to champion the vital role newsbrands play in civic society and the difference they can make to people’s lives through campaigning.

In an interview with The Drum’s Ian Burrell,  De Groose said the impact  that news brands have on people’s lives could be highlighted in a major business to consumer campaign.  

De Groose believes that the opportunity for newspapers is in “humanising” its industry branding. “Do I feel there’s a role to play bringing the human side of news to the fore? Absolutely!” she says. “From my mind, the critical point is about the people reading and the impact the news brands have on our lives.”

A marketing push would look to capitalise on the recent successful campaigning record of the UK press  such as The Sun’s work in saving women’s refuges, a Mirror campaign to improve organ donation, The Mail’s work in reducing plastic waste, and The Guardian’s intervention on behalf of victims of the Windrush scandal.

De Groose argues that the range of voice in British news is an asset. “We have very strong diverse brands and – whether you love them or loathe them – that diversity is important and we need to hold on to that. That is a huge strength of the UK news portfolio.”

“News is growing, more people are reading online and that’s only a good thing – and yet the industry gets beaten up for its declining print circulation.” She notes that “younger media planners and buyers are not always big consumers of TV, or news brands or radio – I wonder how that influences things”.

National press brands have recently passed a number of significant milestones which suggest that they can – despite the doomsday predictions of the past – have a healthy future as digital publishers, The Drum reported.

The Guardian, which supports an open publishing model through membership payments and donations as well as advertising, revealed this month that more than a million people have made a financial contribution to its journalism in the past three years. The Telegraph has reached its target of 3 million registered users and the Times and Sunday Times have chalked up 500,000 subscribers.

But De Groose believes that the structuring of many media agencies, with separate teams managing print media and the vast morass of digital media, mean that multi-platform news brands are not getting due recognition for the engagement levels they generate.

She points to Newsworks econometric modelling which points to “£3bn profit being left on the table” by ad clients who are undermining the effectiveness of campaigns by under-investing in news brands.

Tracy concluded: “I think there is an opportunity to grow readership and readership revenues in the UK,” she says. ‘I think a B2C campaign has a role to play in that – it would be really good for advertisers to see the industry investing in audiences and readers.”