Niche Media's Celeb Cover Parties Build Brand Buzz
NICHE MEDIA'S CELEB COVER PARTIES BUILD BRAND BUZZ HOW THE ULTRA-LUXE MAGAZINE PUBLISHER USES EVENTS TO BUILD BUSINESS, AND ITS BRANDS.
Nearly every issue of Niche Media's six magazines is celebrated with a private party complete with celebrity cover star, millionaire-packed guest list and flashing cameras from the most notorious members of the print and television press. Niche Media's six luxury regional lifestyle titles are mailed to a select group of elite readers. Recipients of the controlled circ magazines need to pass through three filters: $1 million in liquid assets, $200,000+ annual income, and a home valued at $1 million or more. When your readership base is cream of the crop you naturally draw in top advertisers who want to reach consumers with money to spend.
Events are a core part of Niche's overall business platform. The publisher producers nearly 250 events per year, 30 of which are cover parties. Other events focus on raising money for charities and a variety of other parties including individual advertiser events. "As much as distribution, the right advertising environment, the right contributors, infrastructure and staffing are important, it's also about events and marketing your product," says CEO Jason Binn.
Niche group marketing director Emily Kampner has a four-person Manhattan-based staff that handles all parties for Gotham (monthly) and Hamptons (weekly, Memorial Day through Labor Day), with a designated event director in each of the other cities where Niche publishes magazines. Approximately 300 guests attend the cover parties, which are held weekly throughout the year. At times multiple events are held in one weekend, especially during summer months. "our marketing department in 99.9 percent event-driven," says Kampner. "Everything we do from an added-value perspective and marketing perspective is events."
Due to the financial standing of its readers, celebrities are an added-value to the Niche Media readership base. According to Kampner, celebrities welcome the opportunity to adorn the covers of Aspen Peak, Boston Common, Captiol File, Gotham, Hamptons and Los Angeles Confidential magazines, due to the relationships they have with the magazines.
Binn dips into the company's pockets to throw a cover party for nearly all of his cover stars. With or without funding from sponsors, Niche puts on a party with cover celebrities, select readers, advertisers and press. "It's community building, it's brand building, it's giving credibility to the people you are connecting with in that marketplace," says Binn. "It brings in money but that's not our priority. It's part of our business model to fund these events."
Each party is relevant to the celebrity cover star and the individual market, according to Kampner, who at presstime, was planning a Golden Globes party in honor of L.A. Confidential cover star Penelope Cruz's nomination. Similarly, in December, Boston-native actor Denis Leary celebrated his Boston Common cover with Boston Bruins hockey star Cam Neely in the capital.
Although at times cover parties are held without sponsors, the company does not refuse finding from interested advertisers. For example, for a New Year's Eve party in Aspen with Heidi Klum and husband Seal, Hendricks Vodka joined Aspen Peak as presenting sponsor for the event. The liquor company got its name in top billing alongside the magazine brand on the invitations, signage and every press release. The parties do turn a profit, according to Binn, but that's not his primary concern. "Typically magazines say â€˜We're not doing this event unless we raise X amount of money,'" says Binn. "Our attitude is that if it's great opportunity, let's do it, and then, if we can get financial supporters, that's a second priority."
Event marketing comes with ease to Kampner and her staff, which is one of the benefits of the strength of the brand. The cover parties are well-known amongst the celebrities and consumers who attend, while press impressions seem to come with the territory. Although, Niche does work with Fox Greenberg, the coveted guest list is what really attracts the cameras. Binn says relationships with the media are key and when you say a certain someone will be in attendance, you'd better deliver. "If you don't they won't be there next time," he says.
Niche cover parties have been featured on TV programs like "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood" as well as in celeb mags like Us and InStyle due to their celebrity buzz-factor. "the key is making sure the event itself has the right people attending and the right feel for the celebrity," says Kampner. "You have to manage the guest list the same way you manage your brand."