Evolving Good Food: A quintessential food publication’s journey into the ‘superbrand’
Long considered essential reading in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Good Food is a key part of Australia’s food community. Born out of the food section in The Age, Good Food has a 40-plus-year heritage to draw on, and today it is taking a different marketing approach to growing and expanding its brand.
Aiming to develop into a “superbrand”, Good Food is looking to build a reach which spans print – news, a glossy magazine, cookbooks – with digital, events, and other cross-platform opportunities including TV also on the cards.
Evolving Good Food
Modern food “superbrands” like Good Food are able to offer audiences and advertisers a breadth of content that lives across-platform: from print, both news and magazine, into book publishing through cookbooks, as well as digital and broadcast.
“Food media brands that exist across multiple platforms, or ‘superbrands’, have the potential to reach and influence a person’s decisions throughout their customer journey,” says Zenith Group Business Director, Anita Baba.
“Superbrands also have the ability to draw audience insights from across their platforms to create relevant and connected experiences for their audiences in order to drive action.”
For advertisers, superbrands can deliver important category efficiencies, says Hyland founder Virginia Hyland.
“The ability to reach a loyal audience across many platforms and in multiple moments is always a benefit,” says Hyland.
For Baba, the benefit for advertisers is being able “to tap into a superbrand’s brand equity”.
She says: “It’s about looking at ways we can leverage the credible editorial relationship a media brand has with its audience. Through the media brand’s rich insights into its own audiences, advertisers can discover something new about their consumers, and ideally this then generates a partnership approach that’s differentiated from other brands.”
What’s old is new? A print revival
Good Food as a brand was born in Melbourne out of The Age food section in the late 1970s, with its pinnacle event, the Good Food Guide Awards, launched in 1979. Good Food is now a staple of both The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, with its own digital presence as well.
In April this year, Good Food expanded its footprint with the publication of its first cookbook, Good Food Favourite Recipes, which taps an impressive library of recipes from chefs including Adam Liaw, Kylie Kwong, Jill Dupleix, Neil Perry and other stellar names who regularly write for Good Food.
And from October the brand will expand further, with the launch of a monthly glossy print magazine which will be inserted in both the Herald and The Age on the first Friday of the month.
“We’ve been working with clients across all platforms, whether that’s digital, the Tuesday newsprint section, our new glossy magazine or through exclusive events,” said The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Publishing Director – Travel and Food, Trudi Jenkins. “It's tremendously exciting for us to be trusted to bring clients’ brands to life through our various touchpoints with our readers.
“We are also looking at video on 9Now and examining other broadcast opportunities for Good Food and our clients.”
Jenkins says Good Food readers are “incredibly passionate about the brand”.
“The Tuesday newsprint Good Food is the most popular section in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, demonstrating a highly engaged and loyal readership,” she says.
“Our audience has a slight female skew, a high social grade, and is fairly evenly split across age groups, with 25 per cent aged 30-44 and 32 per cent aged 45-64. Our readers enjoy spending on food experiences, from eating out to eating in, and they look to Good Food as the authority on independent reviews and quality recipes by chefs and cooks they love and respect, from Adam Liaw and Danielle Alvarez to Kylie Kwong, Andrew McConnell and Jill Dupleix.
“We also reach highly distinct audiences across platforms, with one million readers digital-only and more than one million print-only, which shows we speak to a broad demographic of food lovers who obtain their information in different ways.”
The competitive food space
Zenith’s Baba says “competition and choice within the premium food magazine category is a good thing for advertisers”.
“From the perspective of Good Food’s new glossy magazine, it will add tangibility and longevity to consumers’ experience of the Good Food brand. With low crossover between the online and print audiences of food media brands it will also grow its audience reach,” she says.
Hyland founder Virginia Hyland agrees, adding that a glossy magazine “helps to elevate the appeal of the masthead in the minds of potential readers”.
“This is why magazines such as Gourmet Traveller, Selector and the like tend to perform consistently even in a challenging media market,” she says.
“Good Food can utilise the magazine content to move it into the entertainment space. The brand will play a bigger role in consumers’ lives over time, rather than being part-utility and serving a purpose when a consumer is looking for something, or reading a one-off piece of content they have landed on via an alternate channel.”
For Baba, the Good Food magazine represents an opportunity for advertisers to be present in a “contextually and socially relevant” manner alongside quality editorial content.
“Within the environment of a food magazine, integrating an advertiser into content featuring a specific food occasion, for example entertaining, or demonstrating use through recipes, allows the advertisers to be present when the reader is highly receptive to that content,” she says.
Nine’s Director of Sales, Publishing – Chris Nardi, says the glossy Good Food magazine “represents the way we want to supercharge the Good Food brand both for its audience and for its advertisers”.
“Good Food is an Australian multimedia food brand like no other. It has unrivalled consumer trust in the market, earnt from its editorial heritage of ‘independent always’, combined with more than 40 years of sharing the best places to dine out and chef-inspired recipes to cook at home,” says Nardi.
“Our commercial partners can authentically integrate with the Good Food brand in a cross-platform play across print (news and glossy magazine), digital, events and now broadcast extensions. They benefit from its trust and association with quality, whilst driving awareness, sales and unrivalled reach in targeting across all mediums.”
Up close and personal: How events make a brand standout
The first edition of the magazine will coincide with the highly popular and respected Good Food Guide Awards, which are being held in Brisbane later this month.
Providing an industry benchmark for top-quality dining in Australia, with the Guide itself the most respected food bible in the industry, the Good Food Guide Awards provide a unique opportunity for brands to support the food industry through the recognition the awards brings and engagement with the industry, as well as an audience highly interested in food and dining.
“The Good Food Guide Awards are a pinnacle event for us, highly respected by both the restaurant industry and our audience,” Jenkins said. “It’s where we launch the Good Food Guide, published annually in October, which reveals the country’s leading restaurants and awards hats to the best of the best.
“We’re very proud that this is the 40th year of the Good Food Guide, and one of the reasons the tagline for Good Food is ‘Australia’s home of the Hats’.
“The Good Food Guide Awards are primarily attended by chefs and restaurateurs, plus key clients who sponsor some of the awards or support the Good Food brand in other important ways.”
Food, dining, wine and more are also celebrated at the long-running national food festival, the Good Food Month, which builds out Good Food’s event offering, creating more opportunities for advertisers to access through an integrated approach, according to Zenith’s Baba.
Sydney Good Food Month, presented by Citi, returns next month with a lineup of dining experiences celebrating Sydney’s innovative, experimental and ever-changing dining scene.
The Night Noodle Markets also return to Sydney next month and to Melbourne in November, while the Markets will come to Perth, Canberra and Brisbane once again in 2020.
“We connect with readers through our exclusive, bespoke events, such as lunch with Nigella Lawson at Chiswick in Sydney and Taxi in Melbourne, or with Yotam Ottolenghi at Fred’s in Sydney,” says Jenkins. “Or more recently, the weekend event at Bannisters in Port Stephens where Rick Stein cooked with Firedoor’s Lennox Hastie.“These events show the power of the Good Food brand in connecting our readers and clients with some of the biggest names in food, globally and locally.”