Critical Approaches Report

Bella

History and Aims

Bella is a women’s lifestyle magazine, first founded in 1987. It published first in the United Kingdom by H Bauer Publishing. The first copy was published on the 5th October 1987. It is one of the best selling women’s magazines in the UK – loyal readers from when it was first published decades ago will still read it, and a new generation of readers also. This combined gives the magazine a large revenue. In the beginning of 2013, there were estimated over 200,000 issues circulating.

It aims to be a youthful in between bridge for young celebrity gossip magazines, such as Heat, and older women’s magazines, such as Woman’s Weekly. It aims to reflect the topics and stories going on out in the real world that their readers will be talking about. On the Bella pack, it reads, “The magazine has one aim in mind: to entertain the readers and give them a brief escape from their busy lives.” This means that the magazine aims to be indulgent – it wants to spread optimism and give the readers happiness. The magazine also aims to be affordable – costing just 89 pence. The magazine has a strongly specific target audience, meaning it is professional and focuses on providing an enriched magazine for its audience.

The magazine covers these topics:

  • Health and beauty
  • Dieting
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Gossip
  • Real life story columns
  • Fashion

Target Audience

The target audience for Bella magazine are young to middle aged women, around 25-44. They are primarily mothers, who will read the magazine to take a break from their busy day to day life of looking after the family and kids. They will be seeking a youthful but mature magazine to indulge in. Their socio-economic status would be around approximately B, C1 or C2 – skilled working class, lower middle class or middle class. They will be searching for luxury on a budget – how to make great meals for low costs, ways to keep fit at home, how to recycle old goods and stay glamorous, fashion and effective beauty on the high street, and the latest celebrity gossip. They women that are very busy but will always make time for themselves and friends, and will read Bella and tell their friends about it’s contents. For example, they may buy an anti ageing skin product featured in the magazine, buy it and tell their friends all about how effective it is. The magazine pack states that they are likely to enjoy coffee and wine, watching TV (shows they are likely to watch are Loose Women, This Morning, etc.), and texting. Overall, the target audience for Bella are women who are busy but confident in themselves, looking for a weekly boost of inspiration.

Target Audience Research Methods

In order to build the character of their target audience, H Bauer’s Bella magazine company will have to use several different methods in order to create the perfect audience profile. The first is questionnaires. Brands will come up with a survey filled with questions that are relevant and specific relating to the brand image Bella want to create. This will consist of both open and closed questions – open questions ask for an extensive answer and allow the audience to freely write in depth. Closed questions are simple yes/no or multiple choice questions. For instance, in order to gain the answers they need to come up with a strong brand image written on their media pack, they would be asking questions such as: how do you spend your free time? Are you interested in healthy family recipes? What is your budget for magazines, if you read any? etc.

In addition to questionnaires, H Bauer will conduct focus groups also. This is similar to a questionnaire in the sense that the both asks questions to a group of people in order to gain relevant answers. However, focus groups are real people who will be gathered in a group with a company representative and asked about their life – it will be similar questions to the questionnaire except they will be more detailed.

The Importance of Target Audience

It is important as a brand to have a clear defined target audience, before you begin producing you magazine. There are two main reasons for this – both concerning profit. One is that without a clear target audience, the number of customers that will buy your magazine is limited. When readers look for a magazine to buy, the likelihood is that they are looking for a specific genre and specific content. If for example, you’re a car magazine with diet tips on the front, the likelihood is that nobody/very few will buy it because it’s too mixed and doesn’t offer what the reader is looking for.

In addition to this, the same applies when it comes to advertising companies. Companies will buy spaces in magazine for advertising for large sums of money, so they have to know that if their advert goes in your magazine, that it will sell and that they will gain a high profit more than the sum they paid to advertise. Therefore, it is extremely important to have a sharply defined audience so that advertisers can trust that their product is going to sell. If you’re a lifestyle magazine but also have columns on golf and rock star interviews, it’s very difficult for advertisers to want to take a spot because they don’t know who they’re catering to or if the majority would be interested in the product. For example Bella magazine would contain advertisements such as H&M, Weight Watchers, Mothercare, etc. because these are the kind of brands that appeal to the audience. Without readers and advertisements, your magazine will struggle to gain profit.

Because of this H Bauer takes long measures to define their audience, conducting first hand research and building a strong image for their magazines. They are the one of the largest publishers in the UK, and are reliable and trustworthy because of their level of professional status. They will work hard to maintain this, spending large sums of money to make sure that all of their magazines are targeted properly in order to make maximum profit.

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