Burda International Asia's Richard Nilsson on why the German luxury publisher is revamping its titles

Lifestyle Asia’s new interface and platform, which was designed by digital creative agency Wondersauce.

Burda International Asia, a luxury publishing brand that sits under German media group Hubert Burda Media, announced the revamp of its lifestyle digital platform, Lifestyle Asia in November 2018.

Lifestyle Asia’s new interface and platform, which was designed by digital creative agency, Wondersauce, aims to provide a more immersive experience for readers.

Among its new features are colour-coded sections for navigation purposes, and map-focused stories to direct readers around the site. Sponsored projects are now presented in a variety of formats and there is a new product format with feature articles.

E-commerce elements and videos can be embedded throughout the articles to provide a better reading experience for readers.

Burda invested over eight months in this project, with a view to digitally revamp all titles, including its Prestige, PIN Prestige, AugustMan and Hello! magazine.

The Drum caught up with Richard Nilsson, publisher and managing director of Burda Digital to understand more the revamp, how the title works with advertisers, Augment, its creative service agency, and the future of publishing.

Burda International Asia reorganised the business into three distinct units of digital, print and services in early 2018. What has been the progress so far?

The print department has had a team all along. However, we have hired a new managing director in Lena Kwek to run the Print unit. For digital, we have appointed 38 new staff members, and 37 are onboard, they have undergone training with one person commencing work on January 8.

As for services, we are fully set up in Hong Kong and Thailand while still waiting for a few staff members to come onboard in Q1-19 for Singapore and Malaysia markets.

All in all, we’re close to realizing the new ambition and structure fully.

How can advertisers benefit from Burda’s APAC strategy and direction?

  • Real 360 solutions

In an array of ways, firstly many competing media houses say they can offer a 360 solution but quite often they can truly only offer Print.

At Burda Asia we have experts running our three distinct business units independently from one another ensuring best in class across Print, Digital and Services.

Of course, we come together and customise real 360 approaches for our clients and their needs.

  • Quality work

As most media companies cut cost and staff Burda Asia does the opposite by expansion and investment, this is quite often related to hiring more head counts and better-suited people to make sure we always compete on quality of our work vs price.

With that said clients can always expect the highest degree of quality across all our offerings while we also help to solve their real marketing and communication problems.

  • Worldwide network - reach

Burda Asia is part of Hubert Burda Media and German media conglomerate. We have 700 brands and 14000 staff members across the globe.

Burda is run by entrepreneurs and we embrace knowledge transfer across the globe, we share connections that can help us elevate our business not to mention expand our Asian offerings abroad through this network.

As an example, we’re expanding to Paris with our LSA brand and this is through our sister company Burda France, the same has been done with Burda India for LSA in recent weeks.

This means as we grow we can offer clients a wider reach through our top-notch Asian brands.

What is your pitch to advertisers when it comes to your audience? How do you help them access your audience across your titles?

Burda Asia offers audiences from the early ’20s to late ’60s. We can offer brands everything from young aspirational readers to professionals with a high disposable income to our high society readers with a high-net-worth, all to be inspired by our rich content offerings and transformed into client leads.

There is an ever-growing appetite for everything luxury and Burda, the authority on fine living, caters to their needs, dreams, and passions through our trustworthy, informative and unique content.

We have distinct experts in specialised roles helping our clients to optimise their campaigns towards a print, digital and event-based audience instead of traditionally relying on a single lean team for an all-around execution, often witnessed in the industry.

Some publishers like Conde Nast and Vice are seeking new revenue by diverting from straight-up print and display advertising, into areas like delivering traditional advertising and marketing agency-like services like creative services, data licensing and events. With Augment, is Burda trying to do the same?

Our print and digital brands have long offered these additional services to our main stable of clients, however, with Augment we can also cater to brands that would not naturally advertise in our magazines online or offline.

The idea is to go wider with Augment and be able to cater to any brand out there who would need help with creative services, events or extensions of some sort being luxury based or not.

In an industry under mounting pressure in the face of ever-increasing demands of clients with narrowing budgets, how do publishers like Burda future-proof for the future?

Constantly Innovate, evolve and improve what one does. 2019 is going to be a significant year for the group, and there will be many new initiatives coming out of our group here in Asia and beyond.

One needs to listen to the client's needs and help them to solve their problems.

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