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Brands as Publishers: Secrets to Success

Written by: Beyond

Published on: November 20, 2014

Here at the London HQ on Thursday 9th October we were delighted to be joined by none other than Virgin, Buzzfeed, The Guardian and Google as they took the stage for our 'Brands as Publishers: Secrets to Success' event.

Here at the London HQ on Thursday 9th October we were delighted to be joined by none other than Virgin, Buzzfeed, The Guardian and Google as they took the stage for our ‘Brands as Publishers: Secrets to Success’ event.

Our event brought together these leading Brands as Publishers and pioneers of data-driven content, as we hosted an evening of knowledge sharing, aimed at uncovering the key to the most successful data driven content strategies.

Couldn’t make our event? Fear not, here we briefly recap what our stellar panelists discussed, and we’ve even captured the highlights on a short video – so you can witness all the best insights and revelations from the night yourself.



After a brief introduction from our CEO, Nick Rappolt, our event was firmly kicked off by Nils Mork-Ulnes – Head of Strategy here at Beyond. Nils outlined the difficulty brands have engaging time poor consumers with their content in a crowded digital space. He then went on to share his observations on trends and other things that are happening in this space, delving into the Internet of Things and what the proliferation of such technology could mean for brands.

Next on the bill was Virgin’s Group Digital Director, Daniel Richards. Daniel outlined how evolved from a traditional corporate site to a data driven content publishing platform. He also shared how the website was built and filled with content based on in-depth user research carried out by Beyond.

The Guardian’s Managing Director, Tim Hunt, was next on stage. Tim delved into the finer points of publishing to a global market, revealing some tricks of the trade in which brands can learn from publishers by applying these methods to their own content. Tim emphasised that a relationship of trust is the prime measure in creating success. He argues that trust is the only meaningful currency in a networked world.

“In a networked world, trust is the only meaningful currency.” – Tim Hunt, Managing Director, The Guardian

Will Hayward, VP of Buzzfeed, filled the room with delighted laughter speaking about how the reader of web content is moving away from the homepage toward more social platforms. Of course, this was complemented by perfectly placed gifs.

Our final panelist was Charlotte Morton, Head of Creative Partnerships at Google UK. Charlotte discussed at length the rise of Youtube and how it has become a key platform for publishing. For example, Charlotte revealed that YouTube star Zoella’s subscriber base outstrips the combined readership of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Grazia.

Charlotte’s concluded her talk with one of the most impressive stats of the night:

“If you can really find your voice, understand who you’re talking to, you can make stuff that really really wins….and I don’t think there’s any better evidence than that for one whole month last year, ‘Volvo trucks’ was more searchable than great sex.” – Charlotte Morton, Head of Creative Partnerships, Google


The panel discussion at the end of the evening was described by a member of the audience as ‘the best panel they’d ever seen!’ but don’t take their word for it, check it out for yourself on the video below. Richard Eyre, Chairman of AIB UK, hosted the discussion which featured a wide range of provocative and controversial questions around various themes, such as:

How can boring brands become publishers?

How can brands build trust in this sphere – will people ever really trust Brands?

How can brands be more authentic?

To find out how panelists answered these questions and more, plus more insight into each talks, you need look to further…

The event was a great success with a sell out crowd enjoying both the talks and the post event drinks and treats. We even received a lovely write-up by our friends at The Wall