2016 Winner

Communities Refresh

Fairfax Media

Auckland, New Zealand

Category Consumer Research

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

Fairfax Media publishes 50+ community titles serving local communities the length and breadth of NZ. These community newspapers had seen little investment and there was a clear need to invigorate and re-energise these products. We also needed advertisers to know we cared about them and wanted them to continue to use these products.

The goal: to create a world class community newspaper product. A cross functional project team across Commercial, Marketing, Insights and Operations was charged to deliver this. Every facet of the paper and production process was up for review - from content and design, to advertising options and publishing.

We commissioned comprehensive research (quantitative and qualitative) with agency Colmar Brunton, which video diaries created by respondents on their mobile phones. We wanted to find out what was unique about community newspapers and what were the similarities.

After sifting through the data, five common insights applicable to every paper were unearthed.

Core audiences are Homeowners and Parents - they are key triggers for being invested in a ‘community.’

Hyper-local content is a unique strength - compared to other media, community newspapers are grounded in my neighbourhood, my street, my suburb with faces playing an important part.

‘Make me feel good about where I live’ - content needs to be positive and upbeat, celebrate local success where possible. A need to drive debate and be part of conversation on local issues. It’s about practical issues that affect my life.

Content areas are grounded in utility and how it makes my life easier. It’s about what’s on, where can I go, where can I shop, where can I eat and where can I play.

Advertising plays an important role in the reader experience. Advertising is considered to be more informative and less intrusive than other media, and the utility of the content is transferred by a halo effect to advertising.

Results for this campaign

The results showed there was more in common across our stable of community products than was different. Readers wanted a hyper-local, positive, upbeat product that made them feel good about where they lived. Advertisers wanted connection to potential local customers.

A single video from a respondent in the research was used as the bedrock for what readers want. The video diary illustrated a ‘typical’ reading experience; it highlighted what was and was not important for the reader, particularly from an advertising perspective.

A series of workshops involving the cross functional team had insights delivered by presentation, video, and across different geographical offices via google hangout.

These insights led to the following:

All papers redesigned and reinvigorated - with common page flows and shared content around food and well-being

  • Introduction of content sourced from Neighbourly, a hyperlocal online social network to inform readers about conversations occurring online
  • A weekly dose of lifestyle, health and food tips from two new columnists, Dr Libby Weaver and celebrity chef Nadia Lim
  • A reduction in advertising options to create maximum impact, from unlimited sizes to 80 shapes
  • Set story lengths to ensure more local content is printed
  • Mandatory content in all papers around What’s On - and brought to the front of the title as it’s valued content
  • Advertisers’ tool kit developed to communicate redesign and rationale

Following the redesign, we’ve seen favourable readership results with 83% of papers outperforming competitors readership performance

More impressive: the 500+ unsolicited comments received from readers and advertisers around their new community papers.

Reader Feedback

"I'm loving the new look. I just got home from work and I'm really tired but I picked up the paper and it really lifted me up - fabulous, great effort!" -- Audrey, Papatoetoe

“The new masthead and layout looks great. Furthermore we are getting consistently good levels of lead generation from our advertising with your publication, so that's really pleasing as well. Congratulations and well done!”
-- Harry, Ray White Real Estate


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