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Populus
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London EC1V 0AT

Tel: +44 [0]20 7253 9900
Fax: +44 [0]20 7253 9911

Johnston Press

The client

Johnston Press is one of the UK’s leading local and regional media organisations, responsible for managing a vast portfolio of over 200 print publications and 198 news and e-commerce websites that attract a general audience of 24.5m.

The client had recognised the shift in the way people consume media, print in particular, but remains committed to delivering content to readers of its titles across the UK.

The organisation has relied on us to identify ways of achieving this across a variety of its priority print titles and websites since September 2014. Having played an end to end role on each project, we have built a successful partnership with Johnston Press’ in-house teams that we hope to continue to build on in future.

The challenge

Johnston Press wanted to identify ways to manage the decline in print readership and deliver a compelling digital approach.

Ultimately, the challenge was to understand how to best reach readers of local news on all platforms. To understand what people want from local news and to highlight the nuances that exist between readers of different publications, as well as differences in lifestyles and aspirations that exist in various areas of the country.

The research

Our Business & Consumer Insight team use a bespoke mix of qualitative research techniques including online communities and depth interviews, to understand attitudes towards Johnston Press’ publications at various locations across the UK. We’ve immersed ourselves in the different locations, from Portsmouth to Dundee and Belfast to Leeds speaking to readers, lapsed readers and non-readers. Online, we’ve engaged participants by encouraging them to perform interactive tasks such as creative concept design and testing new visual identities and layouts.

The answer

Through our research, Johnston Press has been able to get closer to their local audiences and discover Critical Knowledge that has allowed their in-house marketing and brand teams to successfully reposition several of their priority titles.

For example in Leeds, we discovered that locals felt great pride in their city and would respond well to a title that reflects this with positive news stories that celebrate all the city has to offer. This insight has helped with the new positioning of The Yorkshire Evening Post.

We also delivered a significant project to reposition and relaunch Scottish national newspaper The Scotsman as a more accurate reflection of the new dynamism of Scotland’s current political and social scene.

You can watch the advert for The Scotsman on YouTube to see how our research has helped to inform the title’s rebrand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H06gIm78WE4&feature=youtu.be

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