Our role in the agency development team of News UK's commercial division is designed to engender advocacy at senior comms and strategic-planning level. That means advocacy of three areas:
- Our brands (products).
- Our thinking (thought leadership and reframing client challenges).
- The value of our audience.
Our belief is that this advocacy helps improve decision-making throughout media agencies.
This can be as difficult as it sounds because advocacy is very different from appreciation, understanding or even liking something a bit. By definition, an advocate is someone who will speak up for you, someone who will publicly support you.
These approaches have informed the work the team conducted through 2022, helping clarify understanding of our publications.
From commissioning audience research into the rise of community, to interactive video quizzes; from uplifting choirs in agency foyers, through to thought leadership articles - we, as a group, endeavoured to provide answers to questions our partners need about our products and the wider media environment.
Implicit to this work is the importance of engaging and influencing the next generation of agency planners and strategists. This is notable for a number of well-documented challenges which include:
- The power shift from content creators to distributors.
- That news brand content is often misattributed.
- The remaining perception that young people don't read news brands, despite data to the contrary.
While, in ad land, bias may exist towards new technologies, it is nevertheless important that we acknowledge the role newsbrands play within this group’s frame of reference.
We know that we need to use consumer passion points to engage this group. We have built an agency advocacy programme that we hope both resonates and is mutually beneficial.
Shedding light on The Sun
One of the latest expressions of this is The Sun Advocates programme. A select group of Communications Planners will be invited to take part in a 12-month deep-dive exploration of The Sun brand and its extensions.
The group will be immersed in the brand in exciting and innovative ways, including:
- "Meet the Readers" sessions.
- Exclusive conversations with our leading journalists.
- Tours of the newsroom and the print works.
- A peek behind the curtain into "Sun country".
Cohort members will become well versed in all elements of The Sun brand, allowing them to form their own informed opinions while also forming new connections with their peers from across agencies.
There will be business sessions focusing on the four editorial pillars of News, Sport, TV & Entertainment and Value, as well as opportunities to attend exclusive events like The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards and Fabulous cover photoshoots.
Such a scheme is an exciting opportunity to engage in a brand-new programme built around the importance of advocacy and the role it plays in making those all-important media decisions.
After all, adding insight to media planning is a need I’m sure we can all advocate for.