Tiaan Nagel, the new editor for Associated Media’s House and Leisure magazine, is planning a content ‘evolution’ for the established lifestyle title, in line with Associated Media’s 360 degree innovation strategy.
‘I am fortunate enough to have joined Associated Media, a group that really understands how to deliver 360 degree content to its audiences,’ says Nagel. ‘House and Leisure has a vibrant digital presence which complements our readers’ experience perfectly. My goal is to build on this interplay between print and digital. We will become a true lifestyle companion, offering inspirational and practical content in equal measures.’
The magazine has a 146 000 strong readership with an equally impressive social media following (35,854 Facebook followers, 19,500 on Instagram, 18,294 on Twitter and 9600 on Pinterest). The brand also extends beyond print and online to encompass successful projects, events and competitions.
The House and Leisure title, which launched in 1993, is an established brand that is recognised as a market leader, offering expert décor-design content, packaged as a curated lifestyle guide.
However, Nagel points out that the role of consumer magazines has changed drastically, and that the opportunities for content is ever evolving.
He continues: Print needs to maintain its authoritative and curated voice, and ensure it’s constantly plugged into the zeitgeist – a gauge for modern and informed living. But, as a brand, we look at many avenues to connect with our audience. It’s about creating a 360 degree experience where she/he can be inspired, and then get to smell/taste/hear and feel it. It’s really about making the pages come to life with innovative engagements with our reader.’
Nagel feels that today’s challenge is finding the relevant channel and matching that with relevant content to stimulate growth of the title and expand its audience. ‘It’s about making short films explaining the interior of a house, a chef doing a quick fun tutorial or an artist talking us through their inspiration. It’s about a conversational feed on Twitter & Facebook that keeps the audience both up-to-date and inspired and a blast of eclectic visual inspiration on Instagram.’
With regards to editorial content, Nagel says that a healthy dose of disruption is never a bad idea so the plan is to shake things up a bit. ‘Readers can expect an evolution, not a revolution. Our plans include diversifying the style of houses featured so that we showcase homes from across the design spectrum that suit a variety of pockets and tastes. We want to explore how stylish South Africans choose to live and celebrate great South African design.’
Spotting new talent and promoting innovation have always been priority for the title, and remains one of the key focus areas of the House & Leisure brand. ‘It’s important to celebrate & support the ’next generation’ of creative thinkers, as we did in our Next Generation feature in the October issue.’
Other content enhancements on the cards for the title include Travel & Food. ‘Travel will be upweighted, and in particular, travel on the African continent,’ he says. ‘We plan to deliver a refreshed concept, where our audience is given more than the usual Travel spread – the tools to help them on their travels across all channels, plus information to inspire our readers to soak up as much of the destination’s style, culture and fare as possible.’
With regards to the recent format changes, Nagel says: ‘From a visual perspective, we are making small changes to the brand’s identity and have moved to a more matte modern paper stock that has been widely welcomed.’
Nagel concludes by saying that for him, the focus should always be about looking forward and for the brand to maintain its cache it needs to be a part of that forward movement.
Tiaan’s extensive understanding of contemporary design is informed by his background in fashion design. After studying at the prestigious Lisof London International School of Fashion he moved on to become the creative director at Marion and Lindie and launched his own namesake brand alongside that. For the past five years, he has worked in the dynamic environment of print media. He started out as a freelance contributor to Elle Décor and then consulted for Times Media on its home/interior suite, conceptualising the look and feel and editorial direction with the editor. He developed Times Media’s fashion suite and extended this platform from newspapers into magazines launching the ST Fashion Weekly, The Edit and The Edit Man.