The Guardian pushes audience affinity with new global branding

New campaign ‘Hope is Power’ is first new branding in seven years. The media group's chief customer officer details the approach with CMO

The Guardian's new brand campaign ‘Hope is Power' is an affinity campaign designed to inspire, support and reinforce what the media brand stands for today, its chief customer officer says.

The campaign launched last week seeking to reinforce the news website’s core purpose and inspire readers around the world to support its journalism. The central message is inspired by Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner’s 2017 essay, ‘A mission for journalism in a time of crisis’, and builds on the trust and affinity readers have with the Guardian and its role in giving people the facts to challenge the status quo, publish fresh ideas and opinions, and hold power to account.

“The Guardian has an almost 200-year history of producing journalism which inspires hope. This new campaign aims to turn that feeling into action,” said Guardian News and Media chief customer officer, Anna Bateson.

The theme ‘Hope is Power’ was chosen to translate the Guardian’s editorial values and purpose, with hope a faith in its capacity to act together to make change. The creative will run for five weeks across television, video-on-demand, cinema, outdoor, social, audio and the Guardian’s own channels in the UK, US, Australia and globally. It relies on targeted use of its platforms, contra agreements and an effective media plan including the use of flyposting and targeted podcast ads.

“Against the backdrop of a volatile political landscape around the world and with a frugal budget, we have chosen to take a bold creative approach which we hope will inspire readers to support Guardian journalism in a number of ways,” Bateson said.

The Guardian has been on a global quest to boost its income and shortly after reaching its target to break even in March 2019, it started working towards the next ambitious goal to have 2 million readers support the outlet by 2022.

“We're calling it an affinity campaign to inspire support and reinforce what the Guardian stands for today. It's very much a collective message about standing with our readers,” Bateson told CMO.

To reach this point, the team undertook a brand positioning project to understand what the Guardian means in each territory, globally. The concept of Hope is Power was felt to resonate with each segment and “it worked closely with teams in Sydney and New York throughout the process to make sure that it felt relevant in those markets”, she explained. .

In Australia, the advert will run on SBS TV and SBS On Demand from September to December. The Guardian chose UK agency, Uncommon London, to lead on the creative development of the campaign idea. 

“We wanted to find creative partners who were able to grasp the rich heritage of the Guardian and our role in the changing context of the world. We wanted to work with a creative partner who challenged the way conventional news organisations communicate and create a campaign which reflects the modern Guardian brand,” Bateson explained to CMO.

The Guardian opted for a global campaign rather than country-specific branding to have a single message in keeping with being an international news organisation. Traffic from outside of the UK now represents around two-thirds of its total digital audience (152 million monthly unique global browsers and 1.27 billion global monthly page views globally). In Australia, it has 5 million readers on average per month. 

“We want to build on the success of our supporter-led strategy and continue to deepen the relationship with our readers. No matter where our readers are in the world, what connects them is their progressive mindset and shared values,” she added.

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