Shift North 2018


With the whole world turning digital and stats like UK adults spending an average of 54% of their time with major media channels on digital media it’s no wonder traditional channels such as print and TV are having to change rapidly to keep up with the times… or are they?

Shiftnorth newsworks events

Earlier this month I headed to #ShiftNorth, an industry event organised by Newsworks to understand the current position of print and news brands, and what the future holds for the industry. With a variety of speakers from across the industry and an agenda packed with presentations, interviews with a quick-fire panel to end – the morning was really engaging and packed with insight and discussion.

Richard Shotton, author of The Choice Factory, delved into the science behind consumer choice, dissecting what behavioural science means for marketers. Shotton opened the discussion by talking about the importance of the science behind consumer choices and how brands need to recognise these behaviours to get ahead.

Shotton’s key message was clear: the target context should be prioritised over the target audience. Essentially, he argued that the environment in which we receive the message can have more impact on credibility than the message itself, because the context impacts our interpretation of the message.

Next up, Lorna Hawtin asked us to put our pessimistic heads behind us and instead work on strengthening our optimism. Reflecting on a world of tumultuous changes, Hawtin opened with the adage There is nothing permanent, except change; in a world where publishers’ ethics have been called into question, therefore trust is proven when a reader chooses them. For advertisers this should encourage creativity: whilst it seems an uncertain climate can dim creativity, Hawtin encourages optimism in advertising messaging to increase commercial value.

Her approach to optimism in a world of doubt was truly refreshing and reminded the audience that when it comes to creativity or practicality in our work – we should try and debate these routes with optimism and positivity to get the best, most original outcomes.

Then, Dr James Carney dived into the future of storytelling and AI. Looking at the way we’ve developed our storytelling and how data can impact this was fascinating. Essentially, in their most basic form stories simplify the complex and AI adds complexity to the simple. Together, the fusion of storytelling and AI allows a fuller picture, and there’s much we can learn from the application of data to stories, and likewise, the application of stories to data.

We were then introduced to Jo Elvin – Editor of YOU magazine, who engaged in various topics such as: influencers vs. magazine editors, weekly newspapers vs. monthly magazines and began an interesting discussion on the benefits of magazines reporting events in the aftermath instead of instantly reacting.

This highlighted the idea that in this fast paced, instant news world slower responses to events could be beneficial. Where the facts are presented more fully, the interviews are more in depth and the story can be seen from all sides could present a positive competitive advantage for print over instant digital platforms. Particularly when we consider the credibility of journalists, the knowledge they have of their audience, and, of course, their ability to tell a story.

Bringing together the previous points of context, optimism, storytelling and audience Halfords’ Tom Rees-Evans presented the amazing results experienced with their Gear up for summer campaign, which evolved from a successful partnership with Carat Manchester and The Mail Advertising. Gear up for summer gained great traction, and with stats like ‘67% of families took action as a result of seeing the campaign’ and ‘400,000 readers considered key staycation activities’ it’s easy to see how print advertising can be used to great effect and why the brand continues to invest in print advertising.


If you’d like to learn more about how print can help you connect with your audience, get in touch!

Shiftnorth newsworks events
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