Car print magazines are not a new thing but while their role has been under question, there is nevertheless a number of automotive brands using print to target UHNWIs.
The relationship goes back longer than you might think: back in 1908, Ford became what is thought to be the first automotive brand to produce its own print publication. It launched Ford Times which reached out to Ford customers until the early 1990s – despite some intermissions,
Across the decades, many other automotive brands – particularly those in the luxury sector – along with non-car brands have found that a print magazine can deliver rich rewards in building relationships with customers. It really is automotive content that converts.
Why develop print magazine?
This is something we’ve explored in our Archant Dialogue report Driving Success: The Value of Print to the Luxury Automotive Industry, which reveals that:
- print plays a role in brand discovery.
- automotive luxury consumers still very much value print
- the wealthier the automotive consumer, the more they discover through print.
An impeccably produced publication targeting automotive consumers reflects the importance of the reader to the automotive brand, rewarding them for their association with a particular marque via the print equivalent of membership to an exclusive club.
These glossy car magazines give insights into the expertise, products and services of the luxury car brand to reinforce their presence and reputation in the minds of customers, actual and potential. They also position the brand alongside other luxury goods and experiences as well as VIPs and celebrities. By inference, the reader is also part of that highly desirable world. And ownership of a luxury car seals the deal.
“Our findings highlight the fact that [print] should be a key consideration for more car manufacturers. Print can serve multiple functions for brand engagement, from awareness and education to loyalty and creating a sense of community.”Driving Success: The Value of Print to the Luxury Automotive Industry
Creating a car brand magazine is still a viable strategy for car content marketing to UHNWI.
Why print matters in a digital world
In his book, The Revenge of Analog, author David Sax argues that the ubiquity of digital communication is what gives print its cachet, alongside other low-tech desirables such as vinyl records and printed books.
Millennials and generation Z – the customers of tomorrow – don’t view digital as special, says Sax.
“Digital is like the air around them. To them, there’s a uniqueness when someone presents them something in an analog format. They’re more willing to see the value and not to see it as antiquated.”
Automotive brands are at the forefront of technological innovation across their operations, embracing digital as a key component in building those all-important brand communities – think Whispers, the Rolls-Royce brand community, for example – to evangelise for their brand.
But they also recognise the enduring power of print, especially when it comes in a high-quality, seductive package that engages in a very intimate way with readers. As part of such a magazine’s clientele, readers are subtly reassured that they enjoy privileged access to a rather exclusive club.
In an uncertain and fast-moving world, the search for automotive marketing ideas never ends but the appeal of a publication that says quality on every level has endured for decades.
Here we look at five luxury automotive brands using print to target UHNWIs
Ferrari: The Official Ferrari Magazine
As part of its strategy for car content marketing to uhnwis, Ferrari produces three issues of its printed magazine each year – available on subscription or to purchase as a single issue, at a reassuringly expensive £50 – but also an annual hard cover Yearbook.
The latest issue of the magazine, produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, describes itself as: “a journey of the imagination, both in words and in illustrations, through an idyllic version of Italy, in order to best appreciate its architecture, its food, its genius.”
Alongside gorgeous photography, high-profile interviewees – recently including motorsport legend Mario Andretti and international chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay – the magazine embraces what it describes as “the entire Prancing Horse universe”, exploring everything from classic Ferraris and the latest models to competition cars and sharing insights into the brand’s technology and design.
Bentley: Bentley Magazine
Since 2018, Dialogue has worked with Bentley Motors to create content for the automotive brand’s global print magazine, websites, e-newsletters and app. Bentley Magazine reaches out to existing and prospective Bentley customers, with each issue serving up a luxurious feast of product and lifestyle content through world-class photography and editorial to match.
It’s not just the readership that loves Bentley Magazine. In 2019, the magazine won three awards at the Content Marketing Association’s prestigious International Content Marketing Awards, with one judge commenting:
“Bentley Magazine takes design and production to another level! Reading this was a true experience – you are transported into the world of Bentley.”
Features from the special centenary issue in 2019 illustrate the positioning of the iconic marque as an aspirational lifestyle choice, featuring the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept car alongside reassuringly expensive new fragrances from the Bentley Collection and an interview with the legendary fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes.
Porsche offers owners and fans of the German marque a portal to its world through Christophorus, appropriately named after the patron saint of travellers.
One of the oldest customer magazines globally, it dates back to 1952 and appears four times each year in languages that recognise the international appeal of Porsche: German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Dutch, and Polish.
It delivers exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage of Porsche, its cars and its cutting edge engineering, travel, motorsport, VIP interviews, gems from Porsche history and archives.
Editor Sebastian Rudolph sums up the magazine’s ethos: “Every era writes its own stories. And Christophorus tells them.”
Jaguar: Jaguar Magazine
When it comes to car print magazines Eva Green, Sir Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba have all graced the cover of recent issues of Jaguar Magazine, which is distributed twice each year to Jaguar customers worldwide in 14 languages.
The magazine describes itself as celebrating all forms of creativity, with “exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from seductive design to cutting-edge technology.”
It packs an eclectic but classy punch, taking inspiration from diverse disciplines including design, technology, philanthropy, food and the arts, curating the best of today for its community of readers while also looking to the future. As editor Derek Harbinson says, Jaguar Magazine celebrates a “spirit of individuality and ingenuity”
Jaguar’s founder Sir William Lyons wanted every car the company produced to combine performance and beauty like no other. It’s a fairly safe bet that judged by his own exacting criteria, he would have enjoyed Jaguar Magazine.
BMW: BMW Magazine
BMW launched its twice-yearly magazine more than three decades ago and while the automotive brand now also offers a mobile form via an app, it has stayed true to print with a glossy magazine that has a circulation of around three million across 120 countries.
Star authors and photographers, new models, technical innovation, profiles, design, lifestyle and travel all feature in a package that focus on celebrating and exploring the diversity of modern life.
There is no denying that there’s still valuable print magazine popularity for the car industry and that in an increasingly cluttered media landscape, this medium is highly valuable.
Speak to us today if you would like help in planning or implementing any of your content marketing, whether in print, online or on social media.