Back in 2015, Trinity Mirror’s unique portfolio of national and regional news titles was not valued by the media agency community, and our sales team was not highly regarded. Rapid audience growth in digital and mobile, combined with an expanded footprint in regional and local news titles, was giving us scale but not credibility with the agencies.

We set out to bring to life the audience behind all of our titles and platforms, a modern mass market that we called “Modal Britain. It has been the theme of all of our interactions with agencies — roadshows, presentations, infographics, proprietary research, events, and PR — and the foundation of our step-changed revenue growth across digital, mobile, and creative solutions.

The UK’s population has a strong tradition of reading national newspapers, a marketplace segmented into tiers known in the industry as “qualities, mids, and pops.” Our national Daily Mirror title is in the lowest tier — a newspaper for the traditionally industrial and manual working class.

But our regional and digital audiences are growing, and are demographically much wider.

We needed to shake the “downmarket” tag. Our task was to build a research-led, thought-leadership platform that showed society is rapidly changing shape under parallel forces of recession and digitisation, and a valuable mass-market audience is emerging. We challenged agencies and advertisers to wake up to this opportunity.

Politicians and pundits aren’t the only ones who may not have a finger on the national pulse. The marketing and agency world has struggled to understand what’s driving the Modal Britain demographic.
Politicians and pundits aren’t the only ones who may not have a finger on the national pulse. The marketing and agency world has struggled to understand what’s driving the Modal Britain demographic.

In the era of Brexit and Trump, it’s well documented that the political establishment lost sight of the experiences and changing views of ordinary people, but so did the marketing and agency world.

Since early 2015, we have been challenging media agencies to recognise the emergence of Modal Britain (our largest demographic) — not downmarket (and seemingly undesirable) but mass-market (and crucial for scaling communications and achieving brand growth).

Modal Britain has been the consistent theme of all of our stakeholder contact for the past two years and a crucial element in evolving our reputation in the media agencies and unlocking new revenues.

In spring 2015, “Welcome to Modal Britain” was a 20-week roadshow around the UK’s 16 biggest media buying shops, featuring our sales leaders, editor-in-chief, and the company CEO. A smartphone-based quiz challenged attendees to demonstrate their knowledge of “modal” consumers.

The roadshow stimulated great feedback from the agencies (“really resonated,” “amazing feedback,” “interesting, insightful, and useful”) and now 72% of agency people say we are “well known.”

Modal Britain gained industry coverage in Media Week’s 30th-anniversary issue and with a topical general election piece. We were awarded silver at the Media Week Awards in 2016, and we created “Modal Britain’s Best,” a moment when we revealed the nation’s favourite ad from a poll of the shortlisted campaigns.

Trinity Mirror’s deep research led to becoming not only an authority on behaviours and motivators of Modal Britain, but the “go-to destination for advertisers” wanting to reach this critical audience in a meaningful way.
Trinity Mirror’s deep research led to becoming not only an authority on behaviours and motivators of Modal Britain, but the “go-to destination for advertisers” wanting to reach this critical audience in a meaningful way.

From scratch, we built Modal Mouthpiece, an online community of readers drawn from across our titles and platforms, which is now 5,500 members strong. We’ve investigated how Modal Britain experiences big sporting occasions, prepares for the festive season, feels about “community” and Brexit.

A Mouthpiece study for pharmacy retail giant Boots helped win us the pitch for a significant editorial partnership, while our Modal Mouths (vloggers) have given agencies a direct glimpse into Modal lives, and colourfully represented mainstream views in video form.

Modal Britain drove £2 million incremental revenue for Invention, our content solutions hub, which has handled more than 200 briefs. We’ve grown market share versus national newspaper market leader The Sun, and we’ve been consistently ahead of our regional sales rival Mediaforce, with 75% share. Our digital revenue growth of 25% has outstripped our traditional publisher rivals.

Now in 2017, agencies and advertisers are turning to Trinity Mirror as the authority on what real people are thinking and feeling.