Like most media, local news brands have undergone a rapid transformation in recent years, driven for the most part by the rise of digital.
There is no denying that, as marketers, digital has afforded us many opportunities and that it has a fundamental part to play in communications going forward.
But I do worry that too often we get caught up in all the techno jargon, metrics and data, losing sight of how to have a conversation with our customers with effective content and context.
We need to get back to focusing on doing the things that will benefit our businesses the most.
Clearly, The Times’ revelations earlier this year about national brands appearing next to inappropriate content were a huge wake up call for the industry.
The alarming disclosures raised fundamental questions about the transparency of programmatic advertising and the risks for brand safety.
As a company, we had to take stock and think very carefully about what was best for our business going forward.
Operating in the consumer healthcare sector makes the integrity of our marketing proposition of paramount importance
Our customers rely upon our products to help with their health and wellbeing so trust is absolutely critical.
Trust is at the core of our brand values and, when we buy media, we need to have complete confidence that it will be upheld.
News brands are real, tangible, and embedded in the communities they serve - the opposite of the remote automation of blind programmatic.
Online, local newsbrands are highly trusted - local site content is trusted almost three times more than social media content – and they are free from the brand safety risks of blind programmatic.
Finally, and importantly, local media drives real action. We know when we use it that we are going to see real results.
So, in summary, I think it’s critical for advertisers to engage locally through local newsbrands.
I was delighted recently to judge the entries for the Local Media Works Awards which celebrate excellence in local media planning.
Looking at the entries reminded me of how creative it is possible to be with local and how much opportunity it offers to national brands.
I hope that brands remember the immense value of connecting with customers through local media and invest their media spend accordingly.
Andy Bolden is Europe media director/global head of trading, CH Global Categories, GSK Consumer Healthcare. He is one of the judges for this year’s Local Media Works Awards which celebrate the power of local press as a medium for national advertisers. The winners will be revealed at the awards event on 9 November.