Bauer Media commercial restructure has had 'positive' response from clients as focus grows on native advertising

The commercial restructure at Bauer Media is enabling the company to develop and focus strategy around cross-platform native advertising propositions, according to head of creative and brand solutions Clare Chamberlain.

Restructure: Clare Chamberlain

Speaking to The Drum, Chamberlain – who took up the role during the summer – said the restructure streamlined Bauer’s commercial sales strategy for the digital landscape and the response from clients so far has been encouraging.

The change simplifies options for advertisers across Bauer’s print, digital and radio brands, and Chamberlain said that campaigns for clients such as Stand Up To Cancer had signalled the restructure is delivering the right results for the company.

“It’s a really exciting time,” she said. “I think with any restructure it’s a real opportunity to understand new ways of working.

“We have to respond to the needs of the market; agency structure change and our customer buying points have, and continue to change. We need to mirror our customers’ needs and we decided now was the time to do that. We need to work with our clients, not run ahead of them.

“We’ve had a really positive response from our agencies and our customers,” she continued. “We had a big win from Cancer Research UK, re-engaged Sky and Wickes with Absolute Radio, and Sony is sponsoring the breakfast show on Kiss. We’ve had early indicators that this is a good way of doing business and can deliver what our customers need.”

Chamberlain took on the head of creative and solutions role amid the major commercial restructure. Advertising MD Richard Dunmall led the process after his appointment in November 2013, and the completion of the new commercial team was announced during the summer.

On native, Bauer – which owns brands such as Grazia, Empire, Magic 105.4, Closer and Kiss - has tested the potential of commercial content through digital product launches such as The Debrief, a women’s lifestyle magazine, which Chamberlain said had exceeded expectations. The brand has carried native campaigns for H&M and Bacardi, and even ran a £50,000 native advertising competition earlier this year.

The site is on average attracting 451,000 unique users each month and generating 1.1 million page views.

“The Debrief is doing really well and is giving us real insight on how to do native,” Chamberlain said. “It’s superseded our expectations in terms of engagement.

“Native sits quite happily and comfortably on The Debrief. As long as the content is good quality, readers are happy to consume it. The value of native content is immense.”

As a result, Chamberlain added there was a ‘pipeline’ of digital products at Bauer and there will be further digital product launches ahead.

Last week, Bauer announced a commercial overhaul for its radio brands in a bid to simplify its offering for advertisers across its range of national, digital and local stations.

More than 50 per cent of Bauer Radio listeners now tune in online, according to recent Rajar figures. Group MD Dee Ford said the strategy marked “a new era” for Bauer’s radio brands.

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