The power of print. Lessons from the world’s biggest brands

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Young companies are launching magazines to deepen connections with consumers.

If you missed Part 1 of our series on the current state and future of print, head to If Millennials killed print, will Gen Z revive it?.

Last Christmas, Amazon announced that it would print a toy catalogue during the holiday season. For any other traditional retailer, this wouldn’t be a novelty. But the e-commerce giant has built its $100bn empire entirely on digital platforms. Why would the company turn to print when they have the world’s devices through which to advertise?

And they’re not alone. Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Google, and Asos are just a few of the many brands that have turned to magazines to communicate with both employees and customers. 

Are these brands feeling nostalgia for the 1990’s? Possibly. But it’s more likely they understand that generation z and millennials see novelty in print, thus leveraging printed media as a special component in their media mix. In a rush to digitize everything, sophisticated print magazines are a great way to stand out from the crowd. 

From storytelling and branding, to monetization, what can publishers learn from some of the strongest brands turning back to print? 

The millennial appeal

There is a huge misconception that younger generations are so addicted to their phones that they no longer are interested in reading physical products. The opposite is in fact supported by statistics. According to MNI:

  • Baby Boomers read 9.2 magazines per month
  • Gen Xers read 9.1
  • Millennials read 8.9

This means younger generations are reading almost as much as older ones. 

FedEx Office found 90% of all consumers prefer to read printed materials vs. digital screens and “despite the familiarity with digital, nearly half of Millennial respondents (ages 18-34) reported having something professionally printed at least once a month.”

And, if you’re thinking brand magazines are just glorified catalogues, then get this: so successful are some ‘’free’’ brand magazines, they are now ‘‘on sale’’ standalone publications. Superdrug’s Dare magazine retails for US$3.87, Net-a-Porter’s Porter for $7.5 and ASOS magazine for $1.25. 

PressGazette.co.uk reports the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) estimated ASOS Magazine’s distribution at 453,287 for the final six months of 2018. The magazine claims its circulation rises to over 700,000 when also distributed in France, Germany and the US.

The in-house editorial team produces content about fashion and beauty trends. It built itself a strong reputation, challenging the likes of Glamour and Teen Vogue, and featuring A list celebrities like Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lawrence and Lena Dunham.

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