World Media Group President and Washington Post International Sales Director Emma Winchurch-Beale on the World Media Awards and the evolving world of brand content
The world of brand content is evolving and one of the most interesting groups to emerge is the media-owner content agencies. They’re bringing audience insight and journalistic know-how to play, giving clients a whole new set of toys to play with – as well as reliable and trusted media platforms to help clients and consumers in a world of fake news. The World Media Awards celebrates content from all corners; it’s run by the World Media Group to recognise quality content from its own respected brands like The New York Times, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal – as well as content agencies, media agencies and other studios.
This year Little Black Book has teamed up with the WMAs as official media partners and so LBB’s Laura Swinton caught up with Emma Winchurch-Beale, the World Media Group president and the International Sales Director of The Washington Post to find out more.
LBB> How have the WMAs evolved since their launch?
EWB> They have grown in popularity with entries continuing to increase year on year. Over time we have amended some of the categories to better represent the business. We also recognise the importance of acknowledging the publisher so in 2018 there will be recognition of the media that the winning campaigns have run in.
LBB> The WMAs are run by the World Media Group but it's open to all - why is it an important event for the WMG?
EWB> The WMAs are important to the WMG as we all have brand studios and recognise the growing importance of branded content as part of clients’ marketing programmes. As the WMG is a representation of publications who share the core values of quality journalism we also want to showcase our brands as a safe environment for branded content in a world of fake news. They represent the pinnacle of the year and deliver a lot of PR and recognition for our brands.
LBB> As President of the World Media Group, what are your goals and ambitions for the organisation?
EWB> The WMG was set up to raise the profile of international quality publishers in a world of local media choices. 2018 will be our 20th anniversary and in a landscape that has changed considerably in that time the importance of good quality journalism is more important than ever before.
We will continue to support our industry, hosting events throughout the year that address the core issues facing it. In 2017 we were thought leaders in both fake news and GDPR issues and in 2018 we will also address the issues around truth and transparency. We run workshops for clients and agencies in both London and Paris to help them develop their skills around branded content.
LBB> What do you hope to see from the entries this year?
EWB> As our entries are free to enter we hope to see an increase in both the number and quality of these, especially as many agencies have not been able to enter other awards which charge for entry. We offer a great showcase for great work and we will continue to celebrate these through our awards.
LBB> One of the great things about the WMAs is that it’s free to enter and all you ask for is a voluntary donation to Reporters Sans Frontieres – why is it important to keep the playing field level like this?
EWB> We believe that there should be a forum to recognise strong content and will continue to enable brands and agencies to enter for free, The RSF is a good charity for the WMG as it recognises the value and importance of journalism.
LBB> And, of previous years’ winners, what are the projects that have resonated with you personally?
LBB> In your day job, you’re also International Sales Director at the Washington Post. What interesting content projects have the team been working on in recent months?
EWM> We have created a content programme for Sanofi, who were relaunching brand and corporate website, ‘Empowering Life’. We have created branded content across markets including US, with innovative Red formats including flexplay and post pulse. Content presents Sanofi as a life partner in your health journey thanks to technological advances that have eased everyday life for people across the world.
LBB> And from your experience, how is content changing the business model for 21st-century media owners? I know for years people bemoaned the ‘death’ of traditional media, but it seems that being able to create and share content for brands is giving modern media brands renewed energy and putting them back on the front foot. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this?
EWB> Brands are turning to media owners to create content that resonates with readers, and as brands know what their readers like this makes great sense. Brand studios have evolved and include teams that stretch across journalism, film, social, art design and ad ops. Content and amplification can be delivered seamlessly by the media owner. In a world of fake news and coverage the importance of trusted sources has become invaluable.
LBB> The world of content has really opened up in terms of the kinds of companies actually creating and producing work – from media owners to specialist studios to media agencies and traditional creative agencies – how can clients navigate this? And what does this mean for content?
EWB> Even brands have teams that are set up to create content; sometimes the brands just want ways to distribute the wealth of content that they have created themselves. Clients have core teams that handle content and agencies too have created specialist studios to help clients navigate, often centralising the revenue through branded content RFPs. It is also very key that brands connect directly with clients as often the branded content budgets come from budgets not traditionally allocated to advertising.
Brand content campaigns are usually managed as a three-way plan between brand owner, agency and client and to navigate there is usually a core project manager in place from the brand owner to help this process run efficiently.
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