Completely London magazine was first published in the autumn of 2009 by Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward as part of our strategy to engage with customers, both past and present, and differentiate ourselves in the London property market where there is a lot of competition and a number of very similar looking publications. With six awards under its belt and very positive feedback from our readers, we firmly believe the magazine’s success comes down to the quality and nature of its content and its individuality in the world of London property. The magazine’s title of Completely London was an obvious choice as it truly represents what readers will find inside and also supports the KFH brand proposition that goes by the same name.
The Completely London brand positioning for KFH was the main output of a brand review we undertook in 2007. For us, it represents three core elements which we feel are integral to our business; the complete range of property services we offer, our coverage across London and our knowledge of the neighbourhoods in which we operate. As a concept, Completely London has long legs and its flexibility means we can develop our look and feel without having to make structural changes to the brand proposition or branding device. This was proven recently when we re-launched our website and opened three new branches in West and South West London. The agile nature of the brand positioning allows us to make subtle but clear changes to our marketing collateral depending on the demographic or audience we need to appeal to.
For the magazine, our brief to the agency was unusual in that it explicitly set out what it shouldn’t be, ie heavy with property listings, predictable restaurant reviews and the latest, coolest bar to open! Such an inverse brief gave the agency the scope to create a publication that hadn’t been seen before in the property world and one that could bring Completely London to life in many other ways. The size and paper stock were inspired by the Jamie Oliver magazine as it was highly likely there would be strong similarities between both audiences in terms of demographic and an appreciation of good design.
The winning formula for us has been the fact that our magazine is interesting and informative – focusing on the slightly more unusual aspects of London life than trying to overtly sell property. Published three times a year, we believe it’s important that the magazine and its features are unique and each article is therefore commissioned specially for the magazine by leading journalists so we’re not recycling content that’s been seen before. We’re also not afraid to deal with edgier subjects as we don’t want to present an unreal sugar-coated view of London.
The whole area of branded content is an interesting one as there can be a temptation to over-brand this type of communication, especially by anyone embarking on this type of work for the first time. There’s a fine line between delivering relevant and interesting content to your customers to improve engagement and perception of your brand, and publishing thinly veiled (or not so thinly veiled) advertorials, which might make a brand feel good about itself but will not endear it to its customers.
Our research tells us that our readers enjoy the publication, they have no doubt it’s our magazine and we are being told that it has improved their perception of KFH, which is good news as we’ve invested in it heavily. As a result, the awards we have won from the publishing world have been against some big brands such as M&S, British Airways and John Lewis, so achieving that type of recognition is very satisfying and testament to the skill of the teams that work on it.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve launched our Completely London blog, which carries daily postings about life in London, property and some of the magazine content re-purposed, together with a Completely London Facebook page, which has a similar brief. Our overriding objectives with the social media strategy are to improve engagement with our target audience and to drive quality traffic to the KFH website and leads to the business, all of which are increasing month on month.
We believe we have great content and our customers agree, but we can’t lose sight of our commercial goals, which have to be one of our key measures of success.