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(L to R)Olivier Altman, Elena Garcia of PS21, Fouad Abdel, Neo Mashigo

It is generally seen that print publications and brands directly connect with each other for branded content purposes on the medium without involving creative agencies. But branded content on print will only come out great if creative agencies are involved at all levels as agencies understand the core of the brand and are a better judge of what kind of content suits the brand to utilise a particular print publication.

Olivier Altmann, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Altmann + Pacreau, France, said that while doing branded content on print medium, there should be three parties involved: brand, publication and the creative agency. He said, “Sometimes it is a problem when the agencies are not involved as the journalist or media doesn’t understand the DNA of the branding that we are trying to achieve in the medium term. They directly connect with each other, which at times do not convey the brand message well or is not fitting in the media.”

A lot of times it is seen that the print publications are not very welcoming to integrate the brand into the content as they think it might harm the integrity and credibility of the editorial quality. This becomes a challenging task to successfully utilise the media’s potential of large-scale branded content distribution reaching the right audience.

Fouad Abdel Malak, Executive Creative Director, TBWARAAD, Dubai, find it a problem at the brands’ end. He said brands should not try to push the message too much into the face of the audience if taking the branded content route. He said, “Brands are still not doing it properly. When they go to media, they push their message too aggressively to actually ruin the integrity of the newspaper. But there are ways to collaborate. By using agencies, brands can have a relevant voice in newspapers. But you need to do it correctly and not just shout out.”

Malak said creative agencies should make the brands understand the right way of doing content marketing on the print medium by backing it up with data and research reports that show what works and what does not.

Neo Mashigo, CCO, M&C Saatchi Abel, South Africa, added that the editorial side of the newspaper team should always look at the idea, whether it takes away from the content or add to the content. “The editorial team should become more welcoming to branded content as it is something that’s happening on all the mediums.”

Altman said this issue can be resolved when journalists believe in the credentials and authenticity of the brand they are writing about.

Mashigo also pointed out that brands cannot randomly run content on any print publication. It should match the brand ethos. “The brand should fit the content of the newspaper. You can’t fit anything anywhere. The agency, marketing team and the publication should come on some common ground to work around it. It is the job of the agency to find the preferred balance.”

Depicting a positive outlook on the scope of branded content on the print medium, Altman said, “There are not many big brands doing branded content on print. But branded content on print shows huge opportunity. You can use the power of journalism to promote the brand not directly, but through some trends and themes, and that’s the beauty of branded content in print.”