The Brag Media refreshes branding of key titles, begins NZ expansion

The Brag Media has new branding rolled-out across its titles The Brag, Tone Deaf and The Industry Observer, and has begun expansion into New Zealand, Mumbrella can reveal.

The New Zealand expansion has kicked-off with the hire of sales manager Ryan Baynes, who will lead the launch across the ditch, beginning with localised inventory and expanding to having journalists on the ground in the near future.

L-R: Poppy Reid, Luke Girgis, Joel King

The Brag Media CEO, Luke Girgis, told Mumbrella this announcement is “phase one of a larger roadmap”.

“We are now reaching 20% of Australian population, 17% of New Zealand. When we started the media business we had a very small audience, we had maybe a hundred thousand users that were Australians. It was super easy to go ‘this is how you talk to Tame Impala fans’, and we got really good engagement.

“But then as we started to scale, we were talking to AC/DC fans and Justin Bieber fans, huge reach and with Variety we are into film and TV, and we’re doing culture and food.”

But with expanding reach, another challenge presented itself. “We found initially that while our reach was getting bigger, our engagement was getting worse. People were getting all the content, and it wasn’t relevant to everyone,” Girgis said.

“We were doing everything, and not everyone wants everything. Ever since we changed to the new Observer platform, our engagement rates are upwards of 80%, which is really unmatched.

“[So] What we’re looking to do is to build out niche communities. So through every section, whether you’re interested in comedians or interested in vegan food, or Tekashi 6ix9ine. There will be a little portal or community of those fans.

“So that’s where we’re going to end up and the first step is the redesign. So you’ll log in and pick your niche, that functionality will be personalisation both in your inbox or on the website.”

The three websites have been rebranded with refreshed logos and improved website functionality, designed to highlight The Brag Media’s newsletter and content network, built around content engine and proprietary EDM platform The Brag Observer, which now contains 35 newsletters targeted at niche segments.

Advertisers also have the ability to target readers by state, gender and age, and the latest changes follow The Brag Media’s exclusive launch of 14 Penske Media titles including Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, giving the publisher 5.4 million monthly unique views in Australia New Zealand.

The Brag Media has also represented Penske’s Variety in Australia since October 2020.

New Logos: The Brag, Tone Deaf, The Industry Observer

The publisher purchased 2009-founded music news site Tone Deaf and two-decade-old street press and online title The Brag in 2017.  The rebrand for these titles and The Industry Observer (which launched later in 2017) was done with an “endorsed branding strategy” in mind.

“We loved what they were. We bought those titles because we loved the history, and everything they’ve become,” Girgis said. “I was personally excited to get rid of the Illuminati Triangle from the Tone Deaf logo. Everything else, we love it. We just wanted to make things a bit more cohesive.”

“So that’s what we’re doing with all of our brands now. Tone Deaf is ‘music by The Brag’. We’re moving into an endorsed branding strategy.”

Girgis flagged that there’ll be further announcements for alternative and pop music site Don’t Bore Us, adding it will be “completely reimagined”.

The extended push into the New Zealand market sees Baynes join from independent global advertising platform The Rubicon Project, and will soon see the publisher hire journalists on the ground.

“Our managing editor [Poppy Reid] is from New Zealand. We already cover a lot of New Zealand content. Now we’ve hired our first salesperson to represent inventory,” Girgis told Mumbrella.

“The next phase, we will be growing the staff, which will include journalists and expanding our content reach and service in New Zealand over the next six months. We reach 17% of New Zealand already, and that’s only going to grow. We will try and get that to 30% and become a real reach player in that market.”

The Brag Media has also hired Dane Robertson from Val Morgan as a senior account manager based in Melbourne.

The Brag chief revenue officer, Joel King, said: “Both Ryan and Dane bring extensive experience to The Brag Media Team.

“Their strong understanding of the current digital market will deliver our agency partners in both Melbourne and New Zealand more support, informed insights and recommendations.”


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