Brand of the Year – how to become it

What does it take to make a great publishing brand? James Evelegh has ten tips…

By James Evelegh

Brand of the Year – how to become it

At last year’s PPA Awards, BBC Good Food won ‘Brand of the Year’. They’ve been shortlisted for the same award this year, so, clearly, they know what they’re doing.

Alex White, the brand’s MD, is our latest podcast guest, so I was keen to pick up any advice on how you go about building a successful brand.

These are the tips I took away:

  1. Work out who you’re here for, and once you’ve worked that out, deliver brilliantly for them. Don’t try and be all things to all people.
  2. Be data-driven. All decisions – creative and commercial – should be informed by analysis of how people interact with your brand.
  3. Be there for your readers. Their readers (ie. that’s all of us) have gone from one global crisis (covid) to another (cost-of-living) and you need to be in tune with that.
  4. Reflect your readers. If you’re a mass market brand, then your team and your output needs to reflect the mass market.
  5. Hire a brilliant editorial team. This should go without saying although I recall once hearing a very senior publisher describing content as a “commodity”. Great publishing brands don’t see content that way…
  6. Stick to your brand values. Certainly, having ‘BBC’ in your name will help keep you on the straight and narrow but all brands need to remain true to themselves, whatever the commercial temptation to do otherwise.
  7. Try stuff. “If you don’t fail, you’re not trying hard enough.”
  8. Build community. The BBC Good Food Together Facebook group has 119k members and is a great source of content, inspiration and feedback as well as presenting a priceless marketing channel.
  9. Be open minded and always willing to evolve.
  10. Put digital at the heart of your publishing strategy. Not necessarily digital-only, because print is still a highly successful element of the BBC Good Food brand, but digital-centred.

Nail those ten things, and do everything brilliantly, and being shortlisted for PPA Brand of the Year is only a matter of time.

(PS. One bit of non-publishing advice I came away with was that their ‘Ultimate chocolate cake’ recipe was well worth trying. Enjoy.)

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