Thursday, 26 January 2017

Air Business Group to help tackle the UK’s Literacy Crisis

Officially announced as one of the first signatories of the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge 2017, the Air Business Group positions itself at the forefront of businesses committed to literacy and social mobility.

Air Business joins other internationally-recognised brands, such as Amazon, Sainsbury’s, Facebook and KPMG, in promising to take action to increase UK literacy levels. Having served the publishing sector for over 30 years and actively supporting this industry through its high level of service and strategic partnership with the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) for the past 8 years, the UK literacy crisis is a cause which resonates strongly with the global distribution and subscriptions company.     

According to the Department for Innovation and Skills, up to 35% of the adult population in the UK’s most deprived wards lack the literacy skills expected of an 11-year old. Meanwhile the CBI reports that 37% of employers are dissatisfied with young people’s literacy levels. The Vision for Literacy Business Pledge 2017 seeks to address this crisis by calling on businesses to elevate the national literacy issue and take practical action to help close the current literacy gap.

By signing the Pledge, the Air Business Group promises to engage its employees in this literacy challenge and, on a wider level, support the drive to increase literacy rates both locally and nationally throughout 2017. It plans to use its established position in the UK publishing market to spread greater awareness of the initiative amongst its network of clients and partners.

Adam Sherman, Air Business Group Managing Director, comments:

“As a company whose roots lie firmly in the publishing industry, the UK’s literacy crisis is something the Air Business Group is not prepared to ignore. Being the official UK distribution partner for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, enrolling our employees’ children onto the programme and also offering our staff language development courses, Air Business has long recognised its social responsibility to assist in driving up literacy levels.”


Want to learn more about the Pledge? Check out the National Literacy Trust's coverage on the Pledge here.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Air Business Achieves ISO 27001

Air Business demonstrates its commitment to keeping its customers’ data secure through gaining BSI ISO 27001 certification for all three of its distribution sites.

ISO 27001 is an internationally-recognised best practice framework for information security management. The certification process contains 114 sections as well as a two-part audit procedure. These are designed to ensure that companies are proactively managing their IT security and data risks and taking significant precautions to keep all the information they hold secure.

First to achieve the certification was the company’s Head Office, which also functions as its chief operational site, in St Albans, Hertfordshire in December 2016. Its other two operational sites in Witney, Oxfordshire and Colchester, Essex gained this shortly after in late December 2016 and early January 2017 respectively. Each individual site will now be inspected annually to ensure that they are all complying with the standards required to uphold this status.  

This is the latest official certification for the business to achieve. All sites across the Air Business Group already hold ISO 50001 certificates with St Albans and Witney also holding ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Additionally, the company’s in-house subscriptions bureau, Quadrant, has long-operated to PCI-DSS Level 1 which ensures that its data and financial security is at the highest level. 


Andrew Parks, Head of IT and Data services at Air Business Group comments on the achievement:

“The information our customers trust us to hold – their subscriber lists – is amongst their most valuable assets. This trust is something we do not take for granted.  By gaining ISO 27001 certification we actively demonstrate our commitment to protect their data to the highest standard. Since our own business processes and systems were part of our audit too, we also ensure that our own business information is secure.”

Adam Sherman, Air Business Group Managing Director, adds:

“We are incredibly proud that Air Business is now an ISO 27001 certificate holder. As a company driven solely by our customers’ best interests, we are relentless in ensuring that their data is in the safest hands possible. To achieve official recognition for this is something we value immensely and will work tirelessly to uphold.”


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Retail and Media Converge; Comtent Arises

By Adam Sherman, Managing Director, Air Business Group

With the shift in consumer trends driving print sales and ad revenue down, it is no secret that publishers are looking for new ways to generate income. One response is to develop a retail (and in particular etail) offering to build on their brand equity and secure future revenues.

It seems to me that while advertising may not be bringing value to consumers, they are looking for more product information not less. On one hand the Internet Advertising Bureau UK says that at least 22% of adults use an ad blocker. But according to Retailing Today, over 80% of consumers are researching online before making a purchase.

The possibility to put offers into the right context within editorial or selling extended editorial content such as books, DVDs or brand merchandise are two of many options publishers have to leverage their brands and content.

By bringing value to both readers and publishers, comtent (commerce-related content) is already a profitable source of revenue for publishers looking to exploit their brands. Daily Mail cruises are reported as having an annual revenue in excess of £5 million. Men’s Health have launched a range of supplements, MH Vitamins, endorsed by professional sportsmen and Time Inc. UK have recently launched Powder. And with 74% of women saying they want to buy items they have seen in a magazine or an app, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan have introduced shoppable content.

However, eCommerce presents particular challenges as well as opportunities. Whether publishers are offering single product sales, branded merchandise or rewards from a loyalty programme, there is still a need to physically deliver these products. Publishers thus need to consider both domestic and international fulfilment and distribution solutions.

My experience working with eCommerce clients as well as publishing ones has reassured me that the importance of having a trusted distribution partner cannot be overemphasised. Time and time again I hear from new etail clients how late deliveries, careless product handling, poor returns management and limited parcel traceability from their previous suppliers have caused serious damage to their brands’ reputation. Of course, this reputation can be saved - something I have seen first-hand with our clients. But such damage does take a lot of time and investment to undo. Therefore, my one piece of advice for publishers branching out into the eCommerce market would be to invest time and careful attention in getting your logistics solutions right the first time round to avoid damage-limitation later.  

You don't have to take my word for it when I say that Air Business can really deliver for etail businesses. As one of our eCommerce clients, Yours Clothing have said: "working with Air Business has helped us to identify significant cost and labour efficiencies that deliver a positive ‘return on investment’. Their advice and guidance on cross-border eCommerce has helped us to streamline our operations and re-deploy operational staff to front-line activities"

As an industry, we are witnessing the early stages of retail and media convergence; a trend which, I believe, will continue to gather pace. As this new market matures, interesting and profitable opportunities to build on the heritage of your media brand are there for the taking. In terms of distribution, you have a partner in Air Business with the expertise to help you grasp these new opportunities. 

With 30 years’ experience in publishing and as a long-term strategic partner of the PPA, we are committed to the industry and its future. Having also worked with eCommerce customers, we are uniquely placed to support publishers as media and retail move closer.

Friday, 13 January 2017

RBI and Quadrant, part of the Air Business Group, head towards a half century-long partnership

Cementing a relationship that has spanned four decades, Reed Business Information (RBI) has renewed its contract with Quadrant Subscription Services for a further five years.

The contract renewal of the Air Business Group’s largest account sees RBI’s global titles such as New Scientist, Farmers Weekly, Flight Global, Airline Business and Estates Gazette continue to benefit from subscriptions management alongside business information and a full suite of next generation eCommerce solutions. Receiving the full end-to-end service from the wider Air Business Group, this long-standing partnership also encompasses the domestic and international distribution of RBI’s publications. 

With more than 220,000 subscribers globally, RBI’s titles address the four major markets of science, agriculture, aerospace and real estate. Each has a distinct geographic reader profile which Quadrant, having contact centres in the UK, North America and Asia Pacific, is uniquely placed to serve.

Quadrant has consistently proved its value for RBI, delivering strong return on investments for the company. For example, in 2016 an investment of £20,000 in a newly launched eCommerce Abandon Saves service, secured RBI over £200,000 of revenue. Using intelligent emails and pop-ups, Quadrant counters last minute concerns and distractions if consumers try to leave before concluding their order. It improved conversion rates by over 10% for RBI’s Farmers Weekly.

David Wilson, Managing Director of RBI comments on the extended partnership:

“The relationship between our two companies is one of strength and trust. We know that as the market evolves Quadrant is committed to creating innovative and advanced solutions tailored exactly to both our business needs and the needs of our subscribers.”

Stuart Lacey, managing director of Quadrant, adds:

“By the time this contract runs its course, we will have worked with RBI for nearly 50 years. Securing the confidence of this world-leading information provider is a testament to Quadrant’s performance as a whole, from our innovative technology offerings to our dedicated level of customer service. Moving forward, we will continue to focus on eCommerce and digital fulfilment solutions. With the launch of new technologies and systems in 2017, RBI can be assured it will have the most progressive subscriptions solutions in an ever-changing market.”