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IAB Content Studio Showcase: 5 Questions for Hallie Johnston of Refinery29

IAB Content Studio Showcase: 5 Questions for Hallie Johnston of Refinery29
IAB Content Studio Showcase: 5 Questions for Hallie Johnston of Refinery29
IAB Content Studio Showcase: 5 Questions for Hallie Johnston of Refinery29

A Q&A blog series featuring publisher content studios presenting at the IAB Content Studio Showcase on October 16: CBSi Studio 61, CNN Courageous Studios, 23 Stories x Condé Nast, Disney Co/Op, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, NBC Content Studio, News Corp. Storyful, Pandora for Brands, Refinery29, RYOT, The New York Times T-Brand Studio, and Time Inc. The Foundry.

Publisher content studios have swelled in number in recent years because marketers have recognized publisher’s unique ability to craft marketing communications that allow for longer, deeper, and more narrative than traditional media advertising. Contemporary publisher content studios develop a range of branded content for marketers, designed for the publishers’ owned-and-operated sites, as well as for distribution across other digital and multimedia properties. Content can include a mix of traditional editorial, full-length video programming, short-form video, mobile apps, podcasts, and more. And the name of the game is storytelling vs. overt selling.

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Hallie Johnston
SVP Client Services and Strategy
Refinery29

We caught up with Hallie Johnston of Refinery29 to provide some insights about their content studio offering in advance of the IAB Content Studio Showcase event titled “Brand New Ideas.”

Tell us about your content studio.
Our award winning in-house branded content studio helps our brand partners connect with the most powerful generation of young women through an integrated offering of creative services. At Refinery29, we offer a full suite of branded content creative services to help drive a client’s brand forward: experiential, video, social, research, insights, talent, photo and design, and editorial. Our in-house team is comprised of platform specialists, who develop creative solutions for brands specific to the environment of the platform and audience, and also creators and makers, who are experts in their craft.

Why are publisher content studios so hot right now?
Brands are increasingly trying to connect with hard-to-reach audiences like Millennials and GenZ. While there are myriad options out there for creating content, brands that work with publishers or media companies directly also have access to the trust and credibility through tone of voice and a true understanding of the audience. It’s appealing to be incorporated into an ongoing conversation in meaningful ways instead of tacked on as an afterthought.

What are some of the key questions you consistently get from brands and agencies about your content studio offerings?
It really varies — some clients we work with are newer to branded content, and others we have been working with for many years. Clients are interested to learn more about measurement, optimization, and real-time content trends so their marketing and content efforts can stay ahead of this ever changing landscape.

What makes for a great partnership for branded content success?
Trust, collaboration, and openness. The more information a client can share on the nuances and challenges of their business, the more deeply we can find solutions to their needs. We are most successful when brands allow for content to be centered around the consumer instead of the product.

Why is the IAB Content Studio Showcase event important?  What’s in it for the brand attendees?
It’s important for clients to understand their options but also understand the nuances and differentiators of what makes a publisher premium. The IAB Content Studio Showcase provides brand attendees with a platform so clients can make more informed choices about how to best elevate their brand.


IAB’s Content Studio Showcase is a one-day event in New York City that is open to Brand and Retail marketers only.  Limited space is available for this free to attend event that will feature the capabilities of one dozen of some of the most prominent content studios in digital and multimedia publishing including: CBSi Studio 61, CNN Courageous Studios, 23 Stories x Condé Nast, Disney Co/Op, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, NBC Content Studio, News Corp. Storyful, Pandora for Brands, Refinery29, RYOT, The New York Times T-Brand Studio, and Time Inc. The Foundry.

Attendees will walk away with actionable insights about publisher studio partnerships, answering questions such as:

  • How does a brand get started with a publisher content studio partnership?
  • What are the key questions a brand should ask upfront to ensure a content studio program provides maximum value and meets their objectives?
  • What are some best practices to ensure success?
  • How is ROI evaluated?

Only 100 seats are available exclusively for qualified brand and retail marketers. Reserve your seat today

IAB Content Studio Showcase 2

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