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From publisher to media organisation: the story of Droemer Knaur

Droemer Knaur is one of the most prestigious publishing houses in Germany. Many of its printed books belong to the exploding health and wellness genre, but with consumers looking to consume healthy-living content how, when, and wherever they want it, Droemer Knaur urgently wanted to digitise its offering.

The challenge

Health and wellness is a mainstream trend across Europe as more people recognise the importance of leading a balanced and active lifestyle. In Western Europe alone the market is valued at around €149 billion, and thanks to an abundance of information and digital services, people’s health literacy is at an all time high.
But in this crowded marketplace, it’s hard to cut through the noise and compete with new market entrants. Having a digital presence is key to success for publishers looking to achieve their goals faster and accelerate growth.
Munich-based publisher Droemer Knaur wanted to digitise its healthy-living offering in order to drive engagement and open new revenue streams. It was time to kickstart its evolution from traditional, offline publisher, to a multi-faceted media organisation.
The publisher was keen to launch a dedicated healthy-living website named Einfach ganz leben (‘just live completely’) that would enable it to:

  • Provide a one-stop-shop for useful, entertaining, and trusted health and wellness content
  • Enable consumers to experience health content in a variety of formats across different devices and platforms
  • Promote sign-up for an online newsletter, and promote social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram, to create a community around the Einfach ganz leben brand
  • Raise awareness of Droemer Knaur healthy-living books and the publisher’s author network, using some of its offline content as a teaser to help drive sales of its printed books
  • Pave the way for new revenue streams such as paid subscriptions to premium content, paid events, and paid webinars

The solution

Above all, the new website needed to be powered by a flexible, scalable, and easily customisable platform that would provide a seamless editorial experience for Einfach ganz leben content editors.
An exploration of business requirements during the Discovery workshops identified the open-source CMS Thunder, which is based on Drupal 8, as being best suited to meet the publisher’s needs for the new website.
Thunder CMS was developed by Hubert Burda Media (ELLE, InStyle, etc.) for the media organisation’s own benefit before it saw the advantages of open-sourcing the platform and inviting other publishers to use and contribute to it.
Developed with publishers and media organisations in mind, its publisher-centric modules offer as standard the functionality Droemer Knaur needed to easily install, deploy, and add functionality, and get Einfach ganz leben off the ground quickly.

Thunder provides a seamless editorial experience. The workflow is simple and straightforward, and so we’ve been able to onboard content editors very easily and to integrate with popular channels such as Facebook.

Andreas Ländle, Droemer Knaur

Inviqa – one of the first and most experienced Certified Thunder Integrators in Europe – was recommended by the Thunder team, and our focus on business value and business goals convinced Droemer Knaur that we were the ideal partner.
We then got to work developing a minimum viable product (MVP) that would enable Droemer Knaur to very quickly start learning about how users were interacting with its site, and how well the site was performing against the business goals.
Our work included:

  • Discovery workshops with project stakeholders to identify and clarify business objectives, risks, and how to measure success
  • Thunder CMS customisation and implementation
  • API integration with newsletter mailing service Salesforce ExactTarget to drive newsletter subscriptions from the website
  • Online branding, UI, and mobile-optimised design
  • Editorial team training on how to use the CMS
  • Project management and programme governance

The results

The Einfach ganz leben website gives Droemer Knaur a compelling online presence and the foundations for a thriving online business to drive engagement, grow audiences for its content, and explore new revenue streams.

Einfach ganz leben

 It’s very early days since the launch of a minimum viable product (MVP) version of the new publication in September 2017, but the Einfach ganz leben community is already growing quickly, with more than 3,500 Facebook fans and a growing pool of newsletter subscribers. As this community grows, Einfach ganz leben will be able to experiment with new revenue streams such as paid subscriptions, conducting small digital experiments to learn what resonates best with its users.
In Thunder, the publisher has access to a next-generation, easy-to-use website CMS that enables members of the editorial team to seamlessly publish content to the website for delivery to a growing number of customer touchpoints. Einfach ganz leben editors have access to best-in-class content management features and functionality and a simplified workflow.

We’ve found the perfect solution with Thunder; it’s easy to implement, easy to customise, and equipped to scale with our growing online business.

Andreas Ländle, Droemer Knaur

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