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Our daily lives are now saturated with every form of digital marketing imaginable – some of it engaging, creative and informative, and some of it alienating, irritating and even misleading. The digital world is fast-paced and impactful, yet also totally ephemeral and forgettable.

This is a real danger for companies who have put all their eggs in one basket, and are now struggling with customer acquisition and retention online. Add to this the increasing cost of digital marketing in pay-per-click terms, and the new data protection rules under GDPR, and it’s unsurprising that big brands are taking another look at that most retro of marketing channels; paper and ink.

Over the last few years there has been increasing interest in the brand publication as the counterbalance to transient online culture. To create a lasting impression – for example marking milestones or celebrating legacy projects – or to demonstrate their core values and purpose-led principles, major brands are increasingly turning back to the analogue world of the printing press to create beautiful publications which have an aura of craftsmanship, value and longevity.

Brand magazines offer quality editorial content and eye-catching design without an overt sales agenda. They tell stories around the periphery of a brand and build a sense of community buy-in. Some are so successful that they have gone on sale and become collectable coffee-table essentials. So, if brands like Kodak, Facebook, Red Bull and Airbnb are doing it, should you?

Here are some examples of brand publications from Cornwall and beyond…

Fathom, The National Maritime Museum

This annual journal delves into the museum’s permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, sheading light and revealing unexpected connections with essays and illustrated articles by historians, curators, journalists, poets and artists.

Watergate Bay Magazine, Watergate Bay Hotel

Also published annually, Watergate Bay Magazine is a carefully curated compendium of beautifully illustrated articles, photography, lifestyle content, interviews and recipes, all designed to inspire the reader to head straight to the Cornish coast…

Airbnb Magazine

The content of Airbnb Magazine is available online, but you can also subscribe to the print issue. It “celebrates humanity wherever it exists: across borders, time zones, languages, and skin tones.” Packed with genuinely insightful global travelogues, the magazine is for the aspirational Airbnb user happy to overlook the odd damp bathroom and lumpy mattress!

Kodachrome Magazine, Kodak

A “journal of art, film and analogue culture”, Kodachrome is edited by Cornish content studio, Stranger Collective. So far four issues of the publication (which retails at £20 and sells out quickly) have explored the cutting edge of “creation, craft and inspiration” across the globe.

The Red Bulletin, Red Bull

This active lifestyle magazine is published 10 times a year and is available with the London Evening Standard on the second Tuesday of the month, and sold at retail points and online (£3.50 per issue). Covering “sport, action, adventure, music, culture, nightlife and innovation, the focus is on high achievers and adventure seekers, impossible feats and incredible endeavours that inspire, entertain and empower our audience.” A quick flick through is enough to make you need an energy drink…

Facebook

Facebook’s quarterly publication, Grow, which launched last year, hits all the buzz words about niche brands, industry disruption and purpose-led business. It describes itself rather terrifyingly as a ‘thought leadership platform’ and can be found at airport lounges, where there is no escape…

If you have a big idea and you’re in it for the long-haul, talk to us about printing your very own brand publication. www.nationwideprint.co.uk

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