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Market Voice 5 Oct 2021 - 4 min read

When digital and outdoor combine, the power for brands is huge – and we’re expanding both

By Amanda Bardas - Amanda Bardas, Publisher Val Morgan Digital | Partner Content

It’s about creating specific content for audiences across different screens, mediums and platforms.

Every smart marketer knows the more channels a brand uses, the more powerful the results. But it’s how you curate those channels and context that drives growth. Val Morgan Digital is expanding fast – and there may soon be more to meet the eyes of your target audience.

You know that meme that’s circulating during lockdown that says you go from spending the day staring at your medium screen, then reward yourself by staring at the big screen while scrolling through your little screen? I’m often asked what Val Morgan Digital is all about — and it’s about creating specific content for audiences across different screens, mediums and platforms. We have the power to reach you on almost every screen you come across.

The vision is very strategic — to build a publishing network that ignites important and entertaining conversations. As we continue to expand Val Morgan Digital, the stable of brands we currently have, and will introduce down the track (watch this space), are relevant to our out-of-home audience which spans across retail, health clubs and petro & convenience locations. That means, we spend a lot of time making sure the content we create makes sense in the environment that it exists in. We believe this is crucial to successfully integrating a publishing and out-of-home business.

Our brands — The Latch, POPSUGAR, Thrillist and Fandom, act as a switchboard where culture and commerce intersect and become intertwined within our audience’s everyday lives.

To them, we’re discovering that it doesn’t matter what screen they are consuming on. Our content sparks action — it drives the path to purchase, or to try something new, learn something new, go somewhere new, or expand your thinking — across any screen. So long as the content is contextually relevant. Through trial and error, we’ve discovered that you can’t just slap the same headline and image that you see on site, on an out-of-home screen and expect audiences to engage with that piece of content. It needs to make sense in that environment, and the audience needs to walk away with the whole story.

How our brands work together

The best way to showcase how the ecosystem works is visually, of course, but I’ll do my best to describe it. I’ve been doing that a lot over Zoom these last few weeks, on-boarding five new team members during the last 14 weeks of lockdown (in case you missed it, that was a not-so-subtle excuse for me to highlight how quickly the VMD team is growing).

Anyway, back on course. Each editorial brand complements the other. For example, fitness content from The Latch pops up across our Active health clubs, you’ll see Thrillist Food & Drink recommendations live across our on-the-go petro & convenience locations and POPSUGAR’s Shopping content is blasted across retail centres. See? All makes sense.

We’re focused on ensuring our audience feels seen and heard in the content we push through our VMO network, amplifying diverse voices, causes and communities. Case in point is our POPSUGAR Pride initiative that ran on screens in June. Or our Unstoppable initiative that’s running on screens throughout the next month — giving space to the next generation of inspired thinkers. This is the stuff that gets me going and I haven’t really seen done before. What shocks me is the amount of emails we receive from people saying ‘thank you’ for sharing the stories we do across those channels.

Proof points and evidence of success

Our content offering works to close the loop between our cinema and outdoor channels. We’ve worked with brands such as Roku Gin and Vitasoy, to create content on The Latch, which then lives in proximity to bottle shops and supermarkets. Our content mission is to always ensure when someone walks past a screen, they’re able to take something from it — a tip, a hack, a joke, an insight. It makes for a more memorable experience, increasing content engagement by 16 per cent and drives that path to purchase.

We’ve become a one-stop-shop for brands who want reach. And beyond that, the part that I love most (because I’m in charge of making sure our digital audiences grow month-on-month) is that our direct audience accounts for about 20 per cent of our traffic.

Proof that our respected brands + interesting content + screens everywhere = winning formula. Audiences are visiting our sites directly, subscribing to our push notifications and our EDMs. We’re growing our O&O channels through the power of OOH (lol, so many acronyms, my husband hates WFH with me while I VC) — and you can come on that journey with us. In fact, we’d be thrilled.

Next time you’re out and about, look up from your little screen and you may find one of our brands on the big screen. And if you do, please email me a photo, because I still get a massive kick out of it — abardas@valmorgan.com.au

 

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