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BEHIND THE TREND: How media brand trust benefits advertisers

Written by
SJC Team

Media brand trust is one of the eight 2021 media & marketing trends defined by our SJC thought leaders. We take a deep dive with the research, stats, insights and tips to help you assess how this trend might be one to consider for your marketing strategy this year.

Access our Media Brand Trust Infographic.

You are the company that you keep.

A new 2021 Databank study examined the effectiveness of advertising across 182 campaigns. It found that campaigns incorporating news brands are more likely to deliver long-term business effects (like market share and profit) than those that don’t.

What is it about news brands? Trust and quality; two of the most important factors that lead to growth for advertisers.

“Environment and context matter more in 2021, says Lynn Chambers, Senior Vice President of Sales for SJC Media. “With the disruption of media in the U.S. where fake news has permeated all media, consumers will seek out information sources they can trust. High-quality journalism is more important than ever.”

Trust has been put to test over the last year. Edelman’s just-released 2021 Trust Barometer revealed a decline in trust across all sources. (Government registered the biggest drop). Amidst political change, push for social justice and a global pandemic, fears on a personal and societal level are higher than ever. These fears cast a shadow of doubt and uncertainty over where and how we consume information.

While traditional media registered a decline in trust in Edelman’s global study (participants cited increasing concerns around objectivity and non-partisanship), it is still the number two source for trusted information. It ranked only behind search engines, and ahead of owned media and social media. (Social media is consistently the bottom ranked sources in studies examining trust.)

In Canada alone, trust in traditional media increased slightly from 2020 to 2021. Canada was one of 15 of the study’s participating 27 countries to see an increase.

So back to: you are the company you keep.

Consumers are more likely to trust ads that appear in sources of information they trust. Here are two additional recent studies that reinforce the trustworthiness of media brands:

According to the Kantar Dimensions Study 2020, 37 per cent of people worldwide say they have conviction in print; the most of any medium.

“We need our advertising to appear in a trusted medium: it’s delivering our message and must be delivered effectively," said Micaela López Parma, Regional Media Lead for Colgate-Palmolive. "If we appear in a medium that’s not trusted by its audience, consumers aren’t going to trust our message."

Vividata’s Winter 2021 Survey of the Canadian Consumer study revealed that news brands (print or digital platforms) are the second most trusted source for information on the pandemic. Falling second only to healthcare professionals, news brands achieved a higher rate of trust than government, television, radio and other media. Canadians are more likely to trust the information in magazines in particular; 11 per cent more than daily newspapers; 18 per cent more than television news and 19 per cent more than social media news pages.

SJC Media magazine covers

Here are a few reasons why magazines and news brands stand out:

High-quality journalism

The willingness for readers to pay for information is increasing. Between fall 2019 and fall 2020, Vividata revealed there was 35 per cent increase in the number of Canadians who feel "it is important to pay for information to feel truly informed." This trend speaks to the importance of truth in professional journalism. It demonstrates the value Canadians have for quality information they can trust. And with continued social unrest and ongoing vaccine rollout, it's a trend not going away any time soon.

Intimacy & connection with readers

With over one million readers per issue and 3.5 million unique views online each month, Toronto Life has earned a loyal reader following. More than 95 per cent of subscribers will read each issue more than once.

"For us, it's all about relevancy and building intimacy," says Sarah Fulford, Editor in Chief of Toronto Life. "Of course, at the foundation of any one of our stories is a rigorous fact-checking process to ensure we are truthful, fair and inclusive of multiple perspectives. But why does our audience turn to Toronto Life every month? It's because we tell timely stories about the issues that really matter to them – whether that's the best take-out food in the city or what it's like living with Covid-19. We strive to answer questions before our readers even formulate them in their minds. We know our readers and address their interests and concerns; that builds connection, loyalty – and trust."

A safe sense of community

A magazine's brand's presence extends to social media. Chatelaine, for example, engages more than 800,000 readers each month across its social channels with content and conversations on the issues that are important to Canadian women. During the racial reawakening in June last year, Chatelaine created Facebook community guidelines to let its readers know that the brand had a zero-tolerance attitude toward comments that were racist (or homophobic or somehow otherwise constituted hate speech).

"We also wanted to create a safer space for our writers, especially racialized writers who are sharing personal experiences with our audience," says Maureen Halushak, Editor-in-Chief of Chatelaine. "We don't want them to be subject to further racism in the process of sharing their work."

The diversity of stories reflecting Canadians

Magazines offer reflective, researched and diverse storytelling on the issues that matter most, from politics, urban affairs and culture to parenting, food and fashion. Two examples of magazines sharing an inclusive perspective: FASHION‘s #FASHIONforall launch and Chatelaine’s Tracy Moore cover feature. Last year, Chatelaine also developed a set of writers guidelines to ensure that writers were interviewing a more inclusive range of source for their pieces. (The brand asks writers to ensure that approximately 40 per cent of sources in any given feature are racialized.)

"Most people think of magazines and newspapers solely as print products, but what they really are is a compendium of ideas and information – how Canadians think, eat, shop, vote – things that matter," says Nadine Araski Silverthorne, Managing Director of Marketing for SJC Media.

Advertisers have the opportunity to leverage a media brand’s commitment to quality journalism, intimacy, diversity and community. To tap into that trust to bring credibility to its own messages. To enhance the chance of the ad being noticed due to associative content. Brand recall is 59 per cent higher when distributed through a premium publisher and integrated digital content has 22 times higher engagement than display ads.

For your next campaign, consider the brand-safe environment provided by leading Canadian media brands across all platforms. You'll be in good company.

Next up in our series of articles spotlight our 2021 Media & Marketing trends: Virtual Experiences (May) and Print (June). Read the first article in the series on Content that Converts, here.

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