CANNES – It would make a great question on Jeopardy: which 129-year-old legacy print media brand is the top brand account on Instagram? Answer: National Geographic.
“I always kind of take that as an encouraging thing that we have Millennials and Gen Z’s interested in the subject areas where National Geographic has always been a player and authority and leader,” says Declan Moore, CEO of National Geographic Partners.
NGP represents the combination of all National Geographic assets—from the magazine to digital media, product extensions, licensing, book publishing and its travel business. It’s just 18 months old but is hip-deep in content creation and figuring out new ways to connect its audiences with marketers, a process of integration that must be done with great care, as Moore explains in this interview with Beet.TV.
With a global reach of 450 million homes, National Geographic has assembled a coveted audience that enjoys things like geography, animals, history and space exploration. On its primary TV network, “It’s a very exciting time because we’re really, truly transforming the brand and making sure we consistently deliver premium science adventure and exploration storytelling on that platform,” says Moore.
The company’s first scripted series, Genius, has just completed its run, and National Geographic is always looking for opportunities to lead a particular conversation that has wide consumer appeal. One example is a magazine issue in January devoted to the issue of gender, which “worked incredibly well,” Moore says.
So well, in fact, that it resulted not only in a TV special hosted by Katie Couric but also in the magazine’s first nomination for a Pulitzer journalism prize.
“It was an instance really where we were leading and owned that conversation for a period of time earlier this year, but it originated in the traditional magazine area,” Moore says.
Despite all of its progress to date, the company knows it can benefit from even more “data muscle,” as Moore terms it, meaning even more advanced ways to “be able to identify how our consumer journeys are across the different touch points that we have.”
With that increased knowledge will come more opportunities for marketers, a process that requires integration as opposed to interruption, according to Moore.
“No one really likes interruption, but it’s somewhat of a tyranny that we have on certain of the media platforms that enable the funding of those stories and the content,” he says.
National Geographic knows that it needs to exercise care in accommodating advertisers and consumers “without compromising the bond of trust that has been built up over many years, 129 years in our instance.”