💌 A love letter to River 💌 – By Wendy Watts

Oh River, have we really been together for nearly 30 years? It feels like yesterday when we met, in November 1994. I admit, I was a little jaded from the sudden endings of the two ‘loves’ before you, which crashed and burned. Not so you. You were stronger.

Chris Ward returns to The River Group, taking the position of Chief Revenue Officer

Chris Ward returns to The River Group as Chief Revenue Officer

After a six-year absence during which time he set up his own consultancy, and concentred on his NED and Trustee positions, Agency veteran Chris Ward returns to The River Group amidst its post pandemic growth phase.

Chris previously worked with The River Group as Chief Growth Officer. This time around he will be Chief Revenue Officer, responsible for innovation and NPD working with CEO Nicki Murphy.

The River Group, which includes Reflect; the UK’s first diversity and inclusion-focused influencer agency and Maven PR has been at the forefront of content development and a pioneer in the commercialisation of content for thirty-years for brands such as Superdrug, Boots, Weight Watchers, Holland and Barrett and Vitality.

Nicki Murphy, “Innovation has always been key to River’s success. We push ourselves outside of our comfort zone to ensure we stay ahead in a very competitive market. We have in the pipeline a number of new products and services that have completed their prototype phase. We are delighted to have Chris to help bring these to market.”

Ward has over thirty-five years industry experience, starting life within Omnicom at Rapp where he worked both in the UK and US followed by stints at BBH Unlimited, CDP before setting up his own agency, Personal and later selling it to The Engine Group. He then went on to set up a service innovation agency with Amanda Phillips and in 2021 he started a solo consultancy Hibiscus together with NED roles for Karakoram, a humanitarian and environmental innovation agency and Togethr a social impact company. This alongside his role as Trustee for The Arts Society working on its innovation programme which has resulted in the launch of Cultur.art.

Chris says: ‘I genuinely love River. It knows what it’s good at, it pushes itself and places a huge emphasis, on evolving and developing, never resting on it’s laurels. It has a heritage of keeping blue chip brands for a very, very long time when average agency tenures are just over three years. But most importantly for me the board are hugely experienced with high emotional intelligence which reflects in the incredible way they treat staff and suppliers. As soon as you walk through the door, you know it’s a work party you want to be at. Delighted to be back.’

About The River Group:
The River Group is the UK’s largest independent integrated marketing services agency, specialising in strategy, motion graphics, video, TV production, OOH and podcasting. It was voted a top 20 London agency for value by Drum Recommends in 2023, and celebrated its 30th birthday on 14 May 2024.

Paper – recycled or non-recycled? ♻️

Pre Covid, it was de rigueur among marketers to insist that all publications were produced on recycled paper. They felt that this proved to their customers that they were doing the right thing and ticking the environmental ‘green’ box.
It was an over-simplification of the environmental challenge. There was a perception that paper was bad for the environment and, if paper was to be used, then it had to be recycled.

Marketing the menopause

In case you haven’t been paying attention, menopause is firmly on trend. Surprising perhaps, given the subject matter, but not so surprising when you consider the audience – midlife women, who came of age in the lairy, ladette nineties and who aren’t ready to totter off into the sunset any time soon, reinvigorated in the post-#metoo era. A demographic often neglected by marketeers, but with money and attitude to spare – and a clear need state. As an agency with journalistic expertise in health and beauty, we’ve regularly created ‘World Menopause Day’ content over the years, but this year feels… different.

What’s next for membership organisations?

Explore the future of membership organisations in Our Latest White Paper! Our comprehensive report ‘What’s Next for Membership Organisations?’ compiles insights from key leaders in the UK’s most prominent membership organisations, gathered at a roundtable event hosted by The River Group in Summer 2023.

Where to fish for social insights when the pond turns into a cesspit?

Expressing the opinion that Twitter/X.com is a horrible, toxic place full of fake -news, perma-outrage, abuse, and bots whose job it is to perpetuate all of the above, isn’t exactly a hot take. However, despite this being the case for a while now, it’s hard to deny that there has been somewhat of a further downturn in the health of the platform since the disruptive takeover of Elon Musk.

Smarter budgets, Happier Clients, Happier Agencies

by Rupert Foy, Group Deputy Managing Director Agencies are facing a transformative phase. AI looms over the creative department, threatening to deliver upon mood boards, billboards and video content – if only it can get the hands right (see a recent attempt at an AI beer advert here). Harrowing stuff indeed. But, in all seriousness, […]

The return of brown

By Phil Tristram Back in the seventies at school, my then art teacher confiscated my black paint. She said I was using too much of it and wanted me to try other colours. Although miffed (I was in my black period), the ban forced me into experimenting – and it worked! My paintings and drawings […]

The power of the dog

by Ellie Hughes  Another monthly SLT meeting, another discussion about office culture. How can we make sure people are enjoying their time in the office, thus enabling their creative juices to fully flow? How can we get everyone socialising across the agency – juniors with board members, creative with account management? Sound familiar? One answer: […]

The River Group x Superdrug wins at UK Content Awards 2023

We’re thrilled to announce The River Group and our client Superdrug won Video Content Campaign of the Year at this years UK Content Awards on Thursday, 13th July, 2023. These awards celebrate the excellece in content marketing within agencies, in-house teams and individuals creating innovate exceptional content. The judge’s commented, “We are truly amazed by […]


The content marketing agency has received four nominations in the prestigious 2021 The Drum Recommends Digital Awards.  These awards are one of a kind in the industry, with nominations and winning only being achieved through client ratings. Uniquely, the awards are not based on submissions from agencies.  Instead, The Drum Recommends reviews ratings from its […]


The content marketing agency has received four nominations for the prestigious 2020 BSME Awards, celebrating the very best talent within the publishing industry. Editorial director Ellie Hughes, who has been nominated for Editor of the Year, in the Branded Content category for curating stand-out content for Holland & Barrett’s Healthy magazine. Co-op Food Editor Nicky Rampley-Clarke, who’s […]

Five slow cooked wonders for the weekend

slow cook recipes

Despite all the obvious hurdles that have come our way this year, it’s safe to say that this pandemic has revealed the hidden talents of many cooks and bakers – or at least improved their results – across the globe. From the banana-bread hype, which achieved a record-breaking 525% increase in Google searches, to the […]

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own photographs of iconic music artists for charity

Mick Jagger

Over 100 iconic prints of world renowned music artists taken by globally celebrated photographers including Rankin, Tony McGee and Jill Furmanovsky are going on sale today.  Available for £95 each, the sale represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of music history, with many of the prints usually unavailable to buy. 100% of proceeds […]

Five ways to remain connected with your team – remotely

For some, working from home has been their norm from day one. For others, this has been a whole new minefield – one that comes with problematic challenges and wellness concerns. Why? From the decrease in face-to-face interactions and unchanging scenery, to the lack of office energy and continued Covid frustrations.  At The River Group, […]


Coming to a screen near you! Here at The River Group, we’re excited to announce a brand new addition to our Superdrug content family. Say hello to Superdrug TV! A weekly YouTube show packed full of beauty, health and relationship advice plus top tier celebrities and influencers. Hosted by TV and radio host Daisy Maskell […]

5 Desk Yoga Poses

5 desk yoga poses

As I sit here writing the next instalment to our Lockdown Wellness series, I’m hunched over a miniature poker table and sat on a harsh wooden kitchen chair – which at the time of purchase was a ding-dong bargain, but now a cry for help. Realistically, many others will be experiencing the same issues as […]

5 ways to reduce self-isolation and working from home stress.

5 Ways to Reduce Self-isolation and WFH Stress

2020, what a year it’s been. With only a few months left and a new lockdown in place – now, it’s more important than ever to show support, provide empowerment and collaborate together on how best to beat the Covid-blues! Every week, the team here at The River Group will be joining forces to identify […]

A spring in it’s step! The River Group wins Vitality

River Group wins Vitality pitch

Following a highly competitive pitch, The River Group has been appointed by innovative health and life insurance and investment business Vitality to take a new approach to content, further supporting stakeholders with member engagement and driving awareness of their campaigns across a number of audiences. The River Group’s remit focuses on creating a wide range […]

Superdrug announce River Group as Marketing Agency of the Year 2020!

Superdrug content covers

River Group Content Ltd are delighted that they have again been announced as Superdrug’s Marketing Agency of the Year! During the lockdown and start of the pandemic in March, The River Group pivoted immediately – providing reactive, social content, positioned to support and communicate with customers across the ever-changing landscape, with great results. Gemma Mason, […]

Introducing the new Co-op podcast by The River Group

Yasmin Evans Co-op Podcast In It Together

Looking for a new listen as you wind your way back to the office, or simply stretch out in the sun on another balmy British summer’s day? We’ve got just the thing for you: In It Together, the brand new podcast brought to you by our amazing client Co-op, and hosted by charismatic radio presenter Yasmin Evans.  […]

How To Move On From The ‘No Time’ Myth

woman working from home

With our constantly connected, fast-paced lifestyles, it’s not surprising we feel under stress to keep up. But a few simple strategies to manage your time can help you feel calmer and more in control We live in a world where groceries, advice and even a hot meal are all available at the touch of a […]


2020 Campaign Publishing Awards

The content marketing agency has received four final shortlists for the prestigious 2020 Campaign Publishing Awards, which rewards the best and most innovative companies and talent in publishing and media. What an award nomination season this is turning out to be! Hot on the heels of The River Group receiving eight shortlists for the prestigious […]


The content marketing agency has received eight nominations for the prestigious 2020 PPA Awards, celebrating the very best talent and team work within today’s publishing industry. The nomination sweep is River’s largest ever in the PPA Awards which are now celebrating its 40th Anniversary. Drum roll please for the outstanding shortlist… River’s DARE team for […]

The River Group Celebrates Its 26th Year

The River Group

The River Group is proud to celebrate its 26th year. Based in London’s Marble Arch, the Group started in 1994 to become the UK’s largest independent content agency in the UK. Founded by CEO Nicola Murphy, River produces industry-leading campaigns for 26 international brands, operates in 18 international markets and employs 104 staff. Nicola comments […]


The Big Issue Foundation

Multi-channel content marketing agency, The River Group, together with its PR and communications agency, Maven, are pleased to announce that they’re working with The Big Issue Foundation to support vital fundraising initiatives. Demand for health, housing, and financial support has been high during Covid-19 lockdown with all of the Big Issue vendors currently having no […]

Ace your isolation space

Office space

Your environment makes a big difference to your happiness. We’ve sourced 10 ways to make yours more positive, straight from the experts While we can’t single-handedly solve the COVID-19 crisis or sort out British politics, we can control our personal environment. Be it your WFH space or just your relaxing home environment, the benefits of an […]

Content Talks podcast makes the Pod Bible weekly Playlist

Pod Bible

River Sounds eight part content marketing podcast series, Content Talks is on this week’s Pod Bible Weekly list, which can be found on the home screen of the Acast podcast app. Also listed are popular podcasts such as Drunk Women Solving Crimeand TED Talks Daily. Pod Bible is the UK’s first ever publication dedicated to […]

The power of giving

These are strange days indeed. Frightening and interesting in equal measure. The frightening aspect will hopefully pass, and this writer does not wish to comment on that other than wishing the reader a safe passage. What is interesting, though, is observing how society and business are adapting and thinking about how we will exit this […]

6 things to do when we would have been commuting

Due to the government guidelines around social distancing, those of us who aren’t essential workers are getting used to WFH right now. And that’s given us a little stretch of extra time in the mornings and evenings instead of our regular journey to the office. It’s tempting to curl up under the duvet for longer […]

The power of suggestion

For anyone who has ever tried to get a small child to eat their dinner or tidy their room, there is a universal truth. Shouting doesn’t work. Turning it into a game involving a spoon masked as an imaginary aeroplane, or a race to see how quickly your toys can get back in their box, […]

WFH lunches: mozzarella, mushroom and pesto sourdough toasties

In need of some #WFH lunch inspo? The beauty of working from home is that you have the time and space to give your lunches a little extra love. That’s why we’re giving our staple cheese toasties a nutrition-boosting upgrade. With added vitamin D and protein from mushrooms, plus folates and antioxidants from sourdough toast, […]

3 classic yoga moves for at-home desk workers

Sitting at your desk (or kitchen table) all day, hunched over your laptop? It won’t surprise you to learn that this can contribute to back pain and a bad posture. We like to do a bit of yoga every day to combat the physical effects of desk working. Not only is it great for banishing […]

Your handy guide to self-isolation skincare

You’ve mastered a whole new meal plan (hello, 7pm martini for one) and sussed your conference-call wardrobe (professional on top, PJs on the bottom, always), but what about your skincare routine? While no makeup and a 30-second bed-to-desk commute sounds like the recipe for flawless skin, working from home can come with a whole new […]

Practice makes perfect

Business podcasts

If you want to be good at skateboarding, you know what you have to do? That’s right, practise skateboarding – a lot. Practice makes perfect, as our parents used to say to us when we’d tired of trying to master whatever wholly unsuitable musical instrument had been thrust upon us age five. The violin? Really? […]

Who should tell your story?

Business podcasts - User-generated content marketing

User-generated content (UGC) has come a long way since we gathered in the sitting room to observe ourselves silently having a picnic on the beach for two minutes. For some of us it reached its zenith with You’ve Been Framed or Kids Say The Funniest Things on Saturday night primetime TV, but let’s accept that […]

Be something that matters

Restructuring Growth for Business podcasts - Membership Organisations

Membership organisations have been around since the time of the ancient Greeks when people were allowed to associate independently for a variety of reasons as long as they kept within the law. During medieval times these’ clubs’ were more akin to informal gatherings of friends for drinking (how nothing changes) but evolved during the 17th […]

Content and the power of outliers

Content Talks Podcast - in-house marketing team vs an agency

Outlier – a person or thing differing from all other members of a particular group or set. When it comes to solving complex problems, personal or otherwise, we often ask others for advice. We surmise that it’s important to get another perspective. Why is this? Well, it’s because not everyone thinks like we do or […]

Body positive healthy hit with readers

Body positivity

The March/April issue of healthy is all about body confidence and acceptance. In our themed section we’ve unpacked the whole idea of body positivity, examining what that means for all bodies, inclusive of age, ability and size, along with in-depth advice on how to feel confident at different life and body milestones. The results speak […]

What is your brand for?

Content Talks Podcast - How to build a brand halo

Never let it be said that the marketing industry doesn’t love a good trend. We spend a lot of our time waiting for the next one, hoping and praying that we can join its long trail of pilgrims.  All drunk on the Kool-Aid, all eager to say we saw the light and thankful it brings […]

Healthy For Men Wins “Best Branded Content Podcast” at the Publisher Podcast Awards

Healthy For Men Podcast

River Sounds, part of the River Group Content Marketing Agency, scored its first major award yesterday (4 March) at the Publisher Podcast Awards in London. The Healthy For Men podumentary series, produced for Holland & Barrett, was named Best Branded Content Podcast – beating incredibly tough and varied competition from across the publishing industry. It […]

Introducing the innovative Content Talks podcast

Content Talks Podcast by The River Group

The River Group is proud to announce the launch of its new podcast, Content Talks. The podcast will launch with an eight-episode series covering the world of content. With subjects ranging from brand halos to returning membership bodies to profit, we give you an insider look into successful content strategies from industry leaders themselves.  The […]

River strengthens strategic team with two new directors

The River Group is proud to introduce our new Strategy Director, Allan Moffat, who will commence his position as of Tuesday 25 February 2020. We are also welcoming the return of Non-Exec Editorial Director, Joely Carey, who will commence her position in March. Allan has worked with UK and International retail businesses, major brands and […]

The River Group retains Superdrug account for the 18th year

Superdrug Dare Model

Multi-channel content marketing agency, The River Group, is pleased to announce its successful retention of the high profile Superdrug account. The announcement sees their ongoing partnership continue into another two years of working together, with the latest scope of work to include the creation of some exciting new content across the largest and most diverse […]

Be less ordinary – why print matters in business

Business magazine

The 2010s saw a maelstrom of change by anyone’s standards. As we enter a new decade, it’s worth reminding ourselves that back in the day tablets were for taking with food, watches just told you the time, and drones were people you avoided at a dinner party. For those of us in business, the rapid […]

The Healthy For Men podcast, produced by The River Group, is up for two awards.

podcast microphone

The Healthy For Men podcast has been nominated for two awards in just two days: the Best Branded Podcast in The Publisher Podcast Awards and the Best Innovative New Product/Service in the CIM Marketing Excellence Awards 2020. The Healthy For Men podcast offers a creative spin on the traditional podcast format: each episode of the documentary-style […]

How I did it James Waldron, Advertising Manager, Walk

James Waldron

My sales career began with a job that taught me more in seven years than I may learn in the rest of my working life. I studied media at college (2003-2005), which I failed, as that’s what I did in exams in my younger days – big fat FAIL. It’s not for everyone, and it […]

The River Review 2019: Part Two

The River Group

If you caught part one you’ll know that we are celebrating our 25th year in business, and what an incredible year it has been. In this second part of our year in review we delve into the first ever combined DARE and Superdrug Christmas Gift Guide,and take a look at our ever-growing podcast presence with everywoman […]

The River Review 2019: Part One

2019 was an exceptional year for River for a huge number of reasons, client wins, exciting developments with existing clients and brand new launches. Oh and we turned the ripe old age of 25! Our anniversary year brought us the gift of 66 awards and nominations, as our omni-channel content goes from strength to strength. […]

River Wins the Crafts magazine, the Flagship Publication for The Crafts Council

Art piece

We are excited to announce that The River Group has won the contract to publish Crafts magazine, the flagship publication from the Crafts Council. This will be followed by further omnichannel content creation across digital platforms. The remit includes strategy, marketing and brand development for the magazine which has been produced consistently since 1973. Working hand […]

Is Writing for Robots the Future of Online Content Creation? (Part One)

Have you ever wanted to find information on something but not known exactly what to search on Google? We’ve all been there and ended up typing (after an almost headache-inducing process) something that we’re convinced might make the processing chip in our device fry up from trying to parse the gibberish we’ve typed. Yet somehow […]



River is excited to announce that The Perfume Shop’s SCENTS blog has been shortlisted for Best Corporate Blog at the Corporate Content Awards 2020!  The Corporate Content Awards is the only awards event to benchmark and reward corporate storytelling and the use of narrative to all corporate audiences, across owned, earned and bought media. River […]


Neon stars

The River Group takes the top spot for the third consecutive year in the company category, along with Healthy For Men Editor, Tom Rowley, who was named one of the FIPP & UPM Rising Star 2019 winners, and Account Manager Emily Maitland, who was Highly Commended. We’re overjoyed that River has continued its tradition of […]

What Can Content Creators do About the Google Medic Update?

Doctor holding stethoscope - Google medic update

Ever had symptoms and gone straight to Google to do a bit of research to find out what’s going on with your body? Of course you have. From articles on huge branded websites to small forums of people talking about medical conditions, the internet is a popular starting point for self-diagnosis. Let’s keep it real. […]

Healthy For Men at the Festival of Marketing

With so much conversation about men’s mental health, masculinity is more topical than ever. It’s an important time for men’s magazines like Healthy For Men as we’ll be helping redefine masculinity for a positive future. Because of this, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Festival of Marketing to talk on a panel […]

River wins the ICAS relaunch of The CA magazine

ICAS has joined forces with The River Group to relaunch its flagship magazine for business professionals. The CA magazine, published by ICAS (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) is about to begin a fresh start as plans to redevelop its print and digital offering get underway. Following a competitive tender process, ICAS has appointed […]

The River Group Nominated for five BSME Awards!

The content marketing agency has received five nominations for the prestigious 2019 BSME Awards, celebrating the very best talent within the publishing industry. Jo Hoare, editorial director of AS Watson, is up for Branded Content Editor of the Year for her work on Superdrug’s Dare magazine. She has also been nominated for Launch of the […]

Does the UK need another PR agency?

group of people jumping at sunset

Concepting Maven Communications….. The UK PR and communications agency landscape is crowded and growing. The PRCA Census in 2018 had the landscape at £13.8 billion, up from £12.9 billion in 2016. An impressive 7% growth. Employing 86,000 staff across thousands of businesses at the time of writing – large, small & one-person consultancies – is […]


Ellie Hughes, Editorial Director, Healthy Magazine

River’s Ellie Hughes, Editorial Director of Healthy Magazine, tells us about her exciting career, including what led her into the world of health magazines and why she’ll ‘never look back’. After doing a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism at City University, I freelanced as a features writer and a sub editor, and then got a […]

WW/Walk magazine pack partnership helps support reader goals

The October 2019 issue of WW (Weight Watchers) magazine will be bagged with a FREE copy of Walkmagazine. Providing quick and easy solutions to getting back into a routine at home – after the free and easy summer holidays – the October issue of WW offers readers a reminder of their goals, a renewed commitment to their fitness, and […]

How content marketing, touchpoints and the purchase funnel are an ecosystem

Woman using two devices - marketing touchpoints

In marketing, the term touchpoint is defined as any form of interaction a consumer has with a business, and now, more than ever, consumers have so many platforms and ways to communicate, gain information and engage with brands. From looking at ads in print magazines to reading reviews on blogs in the virtual space, the […]

How I Did It Jo Hoare, Editorial Director AS Watson

Jo Hoare

I always knew I wanted to write in some capacity. I just wasn’t sure what or how. A love of books sent me to university to study for a degree in English Literature. A lack of knowledge about what to do next led me to continue onto a Master’s Degree, for which I wrote 20,000 […]

Online Content: Has Mobile Killed The Desktop Star?

mobile content

Trevor Horn, one of the members of synth-pop group The Buggles, said of writing their hit song Video Killed The Radio Star, ‘… it was like you could see the future… Something new is coming, something different… You could feel things changing.’ Horn was referring to the changing landscape of music in the late 70s, […]

The Rise of Sustainable Scents


Sustainable beauty has been trending for a while now, and if you haven’t heard of it, where have you been? You just can’t miss it – vegan, recyclable and clean beauty are the buzzwords of the moment. But the latest trend is sustainable scents, proving that you can do your bit for the planet while […]

📑 Challenges for Membership Organisations in the 21st Century (White paper)

Football fans

River and Fish announce the publication of their first white paper on membership: Challenges for Membership Organisations in the 21st Century. With the average UK adult belonging to five organisations, membership can be big business, but the challenges of loyalty and time imposed by 21st-century life need to be considered and overcome. Cementing Fish as the membership organisation authority, […]

7 in 10 people struggle to limit the time they spend on their smartphones

smartphone usage

Proof that smartphones are so addictive that even the healthiest and most mindful among us struggle to control our screen time, comes from a new survey by Healthy magazine. In a recent survey of Heathy readers, over 75% said they are preoccupied with their phone. 73% struggle to limit the amount of time they spend […]

Holland & Barrett relaunches in-store magazines

Holland & Barrett in-store magazines

This weekend (15th June) sees the relaunch of Holland & Barrett’s in-store magazines, Healthy and Healthy For Men, published by River Group Content. The magazines have both undergone a significant design refresh and the introduction of new content franchises to include thought-leadership and campaigning content, plus inspiring real-life articles. Healthy For Men now sports a […]

River helps launch new Superdrug podcast, The Beauty Of It All

Vick Hope

Together with River, Superdrug has launched its very first podcast. Called The Beauty Of It All and hosted by TV and radio presenter Vick Hope, the eight-episode series takes a deep dive into issues surrounding the beauty industry, with a mix of celebrity guests and influencers discussing everything from vegan beauty to the influence of […]

If the EU Elections had been run on Twitter, what would have happened?

Twitter on smartphone

We used social listening tools to find out how much support each of the major UK political parties were getting on the day of the EU elections. Social networks, like Twitter, have revolutionised the way content marketers, like us, communicate with audiences.. Around 326 million people use Twitter every month, making it one of the […]

Podcast trends – 5 exciting ways podcasts are evolving


We’re halfway through 2019 and it has already been a huge year for podcasting. Spotify acquired podcast networks Gimlet and Anchor for €300 million. Acast has launched its new product Acast Access, a paywalled content distribution platform, and with the number of celebrities with successful podcasts growing – including Chris Ramsey, Katie Piper and Peter […]

River 25th Anniversary 25 Mile Walk Raises over £5,000 for Charity

River Group staff doing 25 mile walk

On Thursday, 16 May 2019, 18 members of staff took part in a 25-mile sponsored walk around London to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The River Group. They raised money for River’s three chosen charities: Katie Piper Foundation, Demelza Hospice Care for Children and Dogs Trust. As of 16 May, the walk had raised £5,000 […]

The River Group turns 25 today

The River Group

The River Group is today celebrating its 25th year as a business. The River Group, based in London’s Marble Arch, was started in 1994 by CEO Nicola Murphy and her then business partners – and has become the largest independent content agency in the UK. It produces industry-leading campaigns for 23 international brands, including Holland […]

The River Group nominated for three PPA Awards

The River Group’s wealth of talent has once again been recognised at an industry level. The content marketing agency has received three nominations for The PPA Awards 2019, which celebrates the very best talent within the publishing industry. Hot on the heels of her Branded Content Editor Award at the BSME’s in November 2018, Editorial […]

River Predicts: Healthcare in 2044

Healthcare - Capsules

We are in the middle of a healthcare revolution, although you may not have realised it. Every few decades, healthcare experiences disruptive changes that lead to revolution. In the 1870s, germ theory, antiseptic and advances in anaesthesia meant you were less likely to lose your life if you lost a limb. In the early 20th […]

River Predicts: Automotive in 2044

Delorean car

There probably isn’t a better marriage than that of the music and the car industries. Just like the many songs written about driving, cars have stories to tell. They talk of freedom, mobility, status and individuality. ‘Here in my car, I feel safest of all, I can lock all my doors, it’s the only way […]

River Group editor nominated for BSME award

Lauren Carbran Editor of the Scents Blog

A River Group editor has been nominated for a prestigious writing award. Lauren Carbran, editor of The Perfume Shop’s SCENTS blog, is shortlisted for best digital writer in the consumer category at the BSME Talent Awards 2019. The ceremony will recognise the brilliance of often overlooked members of editorial and digital teams, and features a […]

How I Did It: Keith Amess

Keith Amess, Chief Financial Officer at River Group

Our Chief Financial Officer, Keith Amess, talks us through an exciting career, travelling the world and the Wild West of the Dot-com ‘bubble’. In August, I’ll have been with River 17 years and during that time I’ve been asked several times how I came to be in media. I started by training in accountancy in […]

The River Group nominated for British Podcast Award

Healthy For Men Podcast host Tom Rowley and producer Andy Greening

The River Group is among the nominations for the prestigious British Podcast Awards 2019. The Healthy For Men podcast, produced by The River Group for Holland & Barrett, is up for Best Branded Podcast. The categories were announced live on Monday, 3 April ahead of the ceremony, which takes place on Saturday, 18 May in […]

River Predicts: This is what tourism will look like in 25 years

aerial shot of huts in the sea

Immersive experiences, smart tourism and ‘Fair BNB’ – Alex Marks gives his thoughts on what the tourism industry will look like in a quarter of a century. Everyone loves holidays, with sun, sea and sangria. Most of us take them for granted. Tourism is perhaps one of the world’s biggest industries, and yet as we […]

River Group CEO appointed to global media board

Nicki Murphy

River Group CEO Nicola Murphy has been appointed a Global Board Member of the network for global media – FIPP. She will now join the other FIPP board members in a bid to help shape the future of the media. Nicola says she is excited to join such an ‘illustrious’ group of fellow media elites […]

River predicts: What will utilities look like in 2044?

earth from space

Becoming a ‘utility’ must be what every service provider both aspires to and dreads in equal measure. From being a highly valued resource that delights the customer, you become something that ‘just happens’, so your value drops. This isn’t an article about the future of fuel – if it were, we’d have to choose from […]

DARE magazine’s Katie Piper photoshoot picked up by the Daily Mail

Katie Piper posing with a phone for a photoshoot

The River Group has earned national press coverage for Superdrug’s DARE magazine with its fantastic feature on Katie Piper. DARE cover star Katie Piper has opened up about her life as a mother and being a reluctant role model in the March/April edition of DARE magazine. Parts of her compelling interview and a selection of […]

How River CEO built a marketing agency with an 80% female workforce

Nicki Murphy

This is how Nicki Murphy, River CEO, bucked the industry trend to build an agency with a female workforce at its core. It was 1994, the Chinese Year of the Dog, the year Kurt Cobain died, The Lion King and Forrest Gump were released in cinemas, and John Major was Prime Minister. But it was […]

Photography trends: The future of photography and why you’ll soon be wearing your camera

Man wearing VR headset

What are the photography trends of the future? Alex Marks sees these five camera products, techniques and concepts developing. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, they say, which was probably marketing gold to camera manufacturers in the 19th century. And despite initial underwhelming results, they eventually managed to convince us that viewing blurry images […]

2019’s most exciting fragrance trends predicted by The Perfume Shop Editor

woman with a floral head piece

From Ariana Grande to Calvin Klein – Editor for The Perfume Shop, Lauren Carbran, reveals the three big fragrance trends that you’ll see (and smell) from the biggest brands and designers this spring. Female empowerment Unisex scents have been trending in the fragrance world for a few years, but now it’s all about girl power. […]

Food trends: What your dining-out experience will look like in 25 years

Futuristic restaurant

Alex Marks explains how changing restaurant and food trends will dramatically impact the way you dine out – and sooner than you think. Humankind has been paying for meals outside the home since the time of the ancient Greeks, but it was the French who gave us the word ‘restaurant’ sometime in the early 16th […]

How I did it: Dafina Keys


Senior Group Account Director Dafina Keys tells us how a diverse background in publishing and production now helps her to manage campaigns for one of the UK’s biggest health and wellbeing companies. What career did you decide to pursue after leaving university? I had always kept an open mind about the career I wanted, but […]

River Predicts: Food in 2044

Woman holding a basket in a farm

‘Food, glorious food! Hot sausage and mustard! While we’re in the mood, cold jelly and custard!’ …Sings no one any more because we’ve been told that sausages give you cancer and custard is a gateway food to type 2 diabetes. Our usage of and attitude towards food has changed a lot over the years. A […]

Behind the scenes at Ferne McCann’s DARE Fit & Healthy photo shoot

Ferne McCann

Hannah Kettle from the DARE team takes you behind the scenes of the Ferne McCann First Time Mum and The Only Way Is Essex star’s DARE Fit & Healthy photo shoot. Ferne McCann first made a name for herself by appearing on hit TV show The Only Way Is Essex. She quickly rose up the […]

River Predicts: travel and tourism in 2044

In the 1990 film Total Recall (a film set in the future in case you needed context), there is a memorable conversation between Arnie’s character, Douglas Quaid, and a travel agent, which goes something like this: ‘What is it that is exactly the same about every single vacation you have ever taken?’ Quaid: ‘I give […]

DARE Fit & Healthy hits the newsstand

Ferne Mccann

DARE’s Editorial Director Jo Hoare tells us what made DARE’s Summer Special an outstanding success and why we’re expecting the same with DARE Fit & Healthy. While the overall newsstand market fell by 5.5% between July and September 2018, the Women’s health and beauty sector remained strong. In fact, other than crafts and needlecraft, it […]

How I did it – Rachel Middlewick

Rachel Middlewick

Other than a long-held dream before the age of 14 to be a farmer’s wife (!), I always wanted to work in media. It started with a two-week work experience placement on Women’s Realm back in the early 1990s, where I discovered, to my sadness, that the horoscope lady really wasn’t very kind and that […]

How a refreshed content strategy can speak to your customers in new ways

Co-op-food: Peanut butter brownies

Food magazine has long been the home of everyday accessible food inspiration for Co-op customers – whether it’s proving the provenance and quality of the produce or providing little twists on classic recipes that might inspire customers to try something different for a midweek treat. In January 2018, River was tasked with finding a way […]

River Predicts: Clothing & Fashion in 2044

The future of clothing and fashion

If there was one thing that sci-fi writers of the past were sure about it was that spandex cat suits, gold or silver, would be de rigueur when it came to clothing in the 21st century. Sadly, none of them seem to have predicted a global obesity crisis, which, if it continues to escalate, may […]

How I Did It – Sam Turner

Sam Turner - Ad Director at The River Group

River Group Ad Director, Sam Turner, reveals how throwing the javelin pointed the way to where he is today I always wanted to be a professional athlete – which may surprise you if you see my current physique. At 15, I ranked 13th in the UK for the javelin (under-17 weight class) and am currently […]

River Predicts: The future of fitness

Fitness technology

It’s that time of year again. New Year, New You, New Start. Going on a diet, fitness goals and divorce papers. Many of you reading this have resolved that in 2019 that you will get fit, stop smoking and eat more nuts. As ever, many will try, some will succeed, some will fail – and […]

How I did it – Fiona Mercer

Fiona Mercer

From trainspotting to having an encyclopaedic knowledge of every Premier League football club, Fiona talks us through the exciting world of being a publisher. Over the years, I have been a trainspotter, a pre-jet-engine airplane enthusiast, a dog lover and a country pursuits novice. I have had a temporary pet-shop licence and could recite every […]

How I did it – Matt Ford

Matt Ford

River’s Associate Creative Director tells us how, after years of working in consumer magazines, it was the need for a new challenge that led him to The River Group’s doors. I feel I was lucky because I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do from an early age, and that was […]

The River Review 2018 – part two

The River Group

As we continue our look back at the River team’s 2018 highlights, we delve into the world of podcast launches for Healthy For Men and getting the chance to interview boxer Muhammad Ali to create a hard-hitting(!) cover feature for Balance magazine. Name: Tom Rowley Job title: Editor Client: Holland & Barrett When we launched […]

How I did it – Nikki Reginiano

Nikki Reginiano

River’s Director of Marketing and Business Development takes us on her journey from wannabe music journalist to marketing professional. In my teens, I had dreams of working for the NME or Melody Maker, so when I had the chance to move away from my sleepy seaside town to the bright lights of London to study […]

The River Review 2018 – part one

As 2018 draws to a close, we’ve asked the team at River to highlight what they loved working on and why. In part one, we take a look at highlights ranging from creating a sensational six-layer rainbow cake as part of Co-op’s social campaign for Pride, through to the launch of DARE magazine on the […]

River and Fish Predict: Professional Membership Organisations in 2044

membership - sports team

At the last count there were, if you include the unions, more than 500 professional membership organisations in the UK with around 20 million members. So the chances are that you or someone else reading this article is more than familiar with acronyms such as CIM, RCN, CIMA, HRLA, TUC, ICE and WARB. Spoiler: one […]

Season’s Greetings from The River Group

This year, instead of buying gifts for clients, we’ve decided to give donations to River’s chosen charities: Dogs Trust, The Katie Piper Foundation and Demelza Hospice Care for Children, on your behalf. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄  

Co-op Food magazine takes a trip to York to work with Your Cafe

Co-op food magazine and Your Cafe

Linzi Pucino, Assistant Food Editor of Co-op Food, speaks to us about her recent trip to York, along with Editor Sarah Akhurst. While there, they whipped up 100+ portions of curry for a community shoot for an upcoming issue of Co-op Food The Your Cafe group, based in York, serves up a weekly lunch at […]

River wins two awards at the FIPP and UPM’s Rising Stars in Media Awards 2018

Andy Greening picks up awards - The River Group

The River Group takes the top spot for the second time in the company category, along with Digital Manager Andy Greening who was named one of six individual rising stars. We’re delighted that River has been announced as winners of two awards at the FIPP and UPM’s Rising Stars in Media Awards 2018. For the […]

Cash and the high-street bank in 2044


We all went a little mad about money in 2018. There was the rush to find the face of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and turn 50p into £500, followed by a desperate hunt (somewhere in Wales, I think) for the £5 with Harry Kane’s face on it. As ploys to make us think about cash, they were […]

I’m an Account Director, get me out of here…

…literally, I thought, as the zip on the exit flap of the inflatable snowdome jammed for a heart-stopping second. What a fitting end to a rollercoaster 2018 to see your humble Account Director wheeled out of Manchester Central convention centre trapped in his winter wonderland pod, like Derek Smalls in that scene from Spinal Tap. […]

Fish Content Agency launches

The River Group are excited to announce the launch of Fish Content Agency this week, a new company dedicated solely to membership organisations. Fish Content will be based in Peterborough and welcomes Mike Barnes as the new Managing Director. Mike has extensive experience in membership, having worked as a Marketing and Business Development Director for […]

River Predicts: Work in 2044

Predicting the future of work

‘Welcome, robots. You’ll help us. But humans are still our future.’ Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG Which is a reassuring statement from someone who should know what they are talking about. This author still has nearly 20 years before he can claim his pension and it would be easy to get a […]

River Predicts: Manufacturing in 2044


There’s a lot written about the decline of manufacturing in the UK: how we’ve stopped making things and become a nation of call centre operatives. While we are no longer the world’s leading industrial power, the manufacturing sector still accounts for 45% of our exports and between 2012 and 2017 was outstripping the growth of […]

River’s Ellie Hughes named ‘Editor of the Year’ at the BSME awards

Ellie Hughes at the BSME Awards

The Holland & Barrett Editorial Director took the top spot in the branded content category at the prestigious awards for her work on Healthy magazine. The River team is celebrating today after Editorial Director Ellie Hughes triumphed at the BSME awards last night by being named ‘Editor of the Year’. Honouring the absolute best talent […]

River Predicts: High Street Retail in 2044

Future of high street retail

The health of our retailers has long been a part of our collective psyche. Not since a short, French war-monger (that’s Napoleon to you) labelled us ‘a nation of shop keepers’ does a day go by without some comment or more recently, dire warning on the success or failure of our high street stores. Online […]

Should my brand start a podcast?

The River Group’s Digital Manager Andy Greening discusses whether now is the right time for your brand to branch out into the world of podcasting as the format becomes more popular than ever. When I first started working in marketing, the concept of a brand using Facebook or any other social media platform to market […]

Behind the scenes with the Halloqueens | Superdrug Halloween

Superdrug Halloween photoshoot

Hannah Kettle, Group Art Editor for AS Watson, tells us how crystals, galactic themed wallpaper and lots of glitter made for the perfect Halloween shoot on a scorching-hot summer’s day. For the third year running, the DARE team at River produced the Halloween creative for Superdrug, which is now in their stores nationwide and across […]

River Predicts: The future of beauty 2044

The future of beauty in 2044

Predicting the future isn’t always as difficult as you might think. In most market sectors there are long-term trends, environmental factors and technological developments that you can identify and follow their likely path to a reasonable conclusion. The beauty market is a little more difficult. Something that’s ‘so hot right now’ can disappear in an […]

River Predicts: Entertainment in 2044

Predicting the future of entertainment

The act of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment is how ‘entertainment’ is defined. It is a broad church – from watching someone trip over in the street to jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute, sports, theatre, film, music and everything in between. In 1980, ‘Lights going out and a kick […]

River Predicts: Social Media in 2044

Two girls taking a selfie - social media

For years we have been informed about the ever-increasing adoption of the internet, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that now, in 2018, it is pretty much ubiquitous. You would, of course, be wrong. Of an estimated global population of 7.6 billion in 2018, just over half are online. That’s around 3.5 billion people who […]

Healthy For Men Podcast shortlisted for the Mind Media Awards 2018

Healthy for Men Podcast

The first episode of the Healthy For Men podumentary series has been shortlisted in the best podcast category for the Mind Media Awards 2018. The awards recognise and celebrate the best representations of mental health across media channels.   Male mental health is a crisis of the modern age but is a subject which has […]

River Predicts: The home in 2044

Spoiler alert! The home of the future is unlikely to be a curvy white pod on stalks. Yes, some parts of the world might resemble the set of Logan’s Run, but most of the houses standing in 2044 have already been built. The shell will remain familiar, but it will be a very different story […]

River creates stunning fright-night looks for Superdrug’s omnichannel Halloween campaign

Superdrug Halloween Enchanted Mermaid look

This month sees the launch of Superdrug’s Halloween campaign using the stunning looks created by River’s DARE team. The four fright-night makeovers feature in the latest issue of DARE magazine, across Superdrug’s social channels and in store, illustrating how great editorial content can be tailored to work across multiple channels, including print, point of sale […]

River Predicts: Education 2044

It is often said that education is the foundation upon which a country is built. That it is through education that we help our children to reach their full potential. And that’s why I think Voldemort waited until the end of the school year to kill Harry. Showing that despite his flaws he really cared […]

What is the problem with influencer marketing and is blockchain a way to fix it?

Influencer Marketing and Blockchain

Social media has given people the opportunity to express themselves like never before. Those who make it ‘big’ on a platform are targeted by brands of all sizes looking for influencers to help spread their marketing messages. In 2017, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing and 92% felt it was an effective strategy according to […]

River Predicts: The Luxury consumer in 2044

It is often said that one person’s ‘tasteful hall of opulent mirrors’ is another’s ‘vulgar waste of an idiot’s money’ – usefully illustrating the challenge of trying to define a sector that defies definition. For a long time, our perception of luxury was all about the supercar, the designer handbag, the perfect timepiece and the […]

The River Group and Superdrug launch first ever newsstand DARE

DARE magazine

Headed up by ex-Grazia Art Director Matt Ford and ex-heat Style Editor Jo Hoare, The River Group and Superdrug launch the first ever newsstand DARE. DARE is a free magazine offered to all Superdrug customers, but on the 5th of July, the retailer and River launched the first summer special (£2.50) that comes complete with […]

Understanding the role of user intent in online content marketing

user intent

When it comes to online content marketing, understanding and satisfying user intent is the best way to be discoverable and cure a pain point along the customer journey. User intent One plus one still equals two, water is still very much wet, the Earth is still flat (contrary to some people’s beliefs), and a simple […]

How I Did It: Johnny Meredith

Johnny Meredith

Last week, as I participated in Co-op’s annual Sporting Challenge (culminating in me cross-country skiing in front of hundreds of clients, colleagues and, erm, Kriss Akabusi), it seemed an excellent time to reflect on how I ended up here. I’m currently group account director for Co-op Food. It’s been a journey in publishing that started […]

River’s CEO Nicki Murphy makes appearance in PPA Awards programme

Nicki Murphy in PPA Awards programme

Ahead of the prestigious PPA Awards tomorrow, 27 June, The River Group were delighted to see River CEO Nicki Murphy on the inside cover of the event’s programme. The PPA Awards feature some of the very best talent from Consumer Magazine and Business Media companies in the UK. This year, Nicki was part of the […]

In Superdrug Stores Near You: River Creates Festival-Inspired Content for Unilever

In the run up to festival season, Unilever briefed River to create a series of accessible festival looks to showcase Dove’s self-tan products. Given that Dove can only work with real women and are against the retouching of any images, River’s Project Manager Lucy Tomkins was selected as the face of the campaign. Talking about […]

Why adland is failing to represent the reality of what it means to be a modern man

The changing face of masculinity in advertising

The advertising industry needs to wake up to the fact that masculinity takes many forms in modern society. Brand feminism is on the rise, with female stereotypes being (rightly) smashed to smithereens thanks to a surge in ads that focus on female empowerment. Campaigns such as Sport England’s This Girl Can and Always’ Like A […]

River release documentary podcast, taking content marketing to a new level


The team behind Healthy For Men magazine have launched a new podcast documentary series aimed at bringing a whole new raft of health and well-being topics to the curious minds of their readership and beyond. In another innovative step for the London-based content agency, The Healthy For Men Podcast series gives an expert voice in […]

River extends content division with new video production unit

Making health issues with sleep, stress and digestion into an attention-grabbing video on a tight turn-around? No problem. The River Group delivered a series of social videos to support a new subscription service being launched by Holland & Barrett. As part of the company’s expanding content creation service, River’s newly formed video production unit ran […]

River Predicts: Fundraising in 2044

For those of a certain age, your initial introduction to the charity sector was quite possibly the rather genteel ‘totaliser’ on Blue Peter and the ‘bring and buy’ sales. For those a little younger, it was a big hairy Irishman shouting ‘give us your f***ing money’ – and ever since, the record, the relief and […]

Behind the scenes of Love Island’s Montana shoot for DARE

Love Islands Montana shoot for DARE

The entire DARE team are obsessed with Love Island, so when we planned to shoot mega-babe Montana from the last series for our cover, we could hardly contain our excitement. As art editor, it’s my job to come up with the overall creative direction, and the look and feel for the shoot, alongside our writer […]

Journey magazine makes the shortlist for Customer Magazine of the Year at the PPA Awards

Journey Magazine by The River Group

This year, Journey, Princess Cruises’ customer loyalty magazine, has been shortlisted for Customer Magazine of the Year by the PPA. Journey is the flagship title created for Princess Cruises by content agency The River Group and is a magazine designed to reinforce the Princess Cruises’ ‘Come Back New’ proposition. The content features inspirational location photography […]

Going Beyond the Engagement Rate Percentage: Sentiment Analysis


As marketers, we continuously benchmark ourselves against our competitors and our own efforts year-on-year. We do this from a quantitative and qualitative basis, but there is something many companies fail to do – actually look beyond the engagement rates. Is your content generating positive, neutral or negative conversations? This brings me on to sentiment analysis. […]

The River Group Strengthens Senior Team with Three Prominent Female Hires!

Gender pay gap

The River Group is delighted to announce the appointment of three women to the company’s senior leadership team. This news comes alongside the announcement that River’s gender pay gap is an incredible -2% (mean hourly rate), demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to empowering women in the workplace. River CEO Nicki Murphy states “as River continues to […]

River’s Rising Stars attend the British Media Awards

Laura and Mollie - River Group Staff

The British Media Awards took place last night, with two of the River team being shortlisted for the prestigious Rising Star award. Both Mollie, Junior Beauty Writer for Superdrug, and Lauren, Editor of The Perfume Shop blog, Scents, were nominated, and while neither were awarded the final prize, both River and the nominees are extremely […]

River kicks off its 25th year with plans, pizza and Prosecco!

The River Group's 25th anniversary cake

Monday 15th May marked the start of The River Group’s 25th year in business. To kick off a year of celebrations and charity challenges, Nicki, Jackie and Keith arranged a company-wide extra special brunch, described by all as ‘the best Monday ever!’ Over pizza and Prosecco, the board took everyone through the exciting plans instore […]

How I Did It: Hannah Kettle

Hannah Kettle Art Editor

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to work in magazines; I just didn’t know in what capacity. Throughout my teenage years, I hoarded stacks of them in my bedroom, and at the age 17 I had an epiphany – I wanted to be a magazine designer. I come from more of […]

High Street Closures and Brand Deaths – Retail in 2018

Spring is traditionally a time of hope and renewal. As Tolstoy put it, ‘Spring is the time of plans and projects.’ (Can’t believe you quoted Tolstoy, Ed.) Yet somehow this spring 2018 doesn’t feel quite so positive. Some put the blame at the door of Brexit, the chaos in the White House and that Bowie […]

How I Did It: Andy Greening

A mix of persistence and a bit of foresight got me where I am today. When I left the University of Hull with a degree in Creative Music Technology, my plan was to be a music studio engineer. But even after doing some high-profile internships at a top music studio in London, I knew I […]

How I Did It: Mollie Hammond

Mollie Hammond

It’s Monday morning, and here I am staring deep into the eyes of Marcel Somerville (y’know, the one who was in Love Island and Blazin’ Squad) while slowly flexing my guns. I couldn’t help but think, how the hell did I get here? OK, OK, it isn’t as weird as it sounds. I somehow managed […]

Three’s a crowd, four’s a party


It hasn’t exactly been one for the ages in 2018 so far. January was largely flu-filled and February wasn’t a whole heap better. It ended with a lazily titled ‘Beast from the East’ (surely ‘From Russia with Love’ would have been more appropriate?) to welcome us into March. A petulant toddler continues to reside in […]

AS Watson editorial team shortlisted for British Media Awards

Lauren and Mollie

It’s celebration time (again) at River as the British Media Awards shortlist is announced with The River Group appearing twice from the AS Watson team, for Superdrug and The Perfume Shop. We are thrilled to announce the following nominees: Mollie Hammond – Junior Beauty Writer, Superdrug Lauren Carbran – Content Editor, The Perfume Shop Both […]

Ground-breaking LGBTQ+ Mini-documentaries for Superdrug from The River Group


Superdrug says it’s time for Beauty Without Bias, starting with a series of ground-breaking mini-documentaries by The River Group exploring health and beauty issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. [metaslider id=”6100″] The five vlog-style mini-docs are fronted by beauty vlogger Salih Cikikcioglu, aka The Eyebrow King, and will drop on the Superdrug Loves YouTube channel in […]

Crack a smile, it’s International Day of Happiness

Happy dog

Here are some cheery stats for International Day of Happiness to put a smile on your face. Ye olde emojis The world’s oldest known smiley-like image recorded in a document was found in a financial record archived in Trenčín, Slovakia. It was drawn in 1635. Ján Ladislaides drew the emoji next to his signature, which […]

The Travel Marketing Awards, shortlists Princess Cruises for Best Direct Mail

Journey magazine

As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, The Travel Marketing Awards reveals its shortlist for the 2017 awards to promote marketing best practice within the travel sector. This year ‘Journey’, Princess Cruises’ customer loyalty magazine has been shortlisted for Best Direct Mail. ‘Journey’ is the flagship communication created by Princess Cruises’ content agency The River Group, […]

Opportunities & Threats: Customer Publishing 2018

laptop streaming content

2017 saw a number of transformative events that shaped the content publishing industry. But three stand out for me as having particular significance for our industry. The first is Rupert Murdoch’s dismantling (or pivoting as he calls it) of his empire through the sale of his most lucrative assets to Disney. There are lots of […]

Voice Search and Innovation Trends of 2018

voice search - Amazon Alexa

Remember when we all first got Siri on our Apple devices? Users would ask their iPhone 4s, ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ or ‘How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?’ Fast-forward to today and the innovation that is voice recognition has moved on – a lot… Voice recognition 62% of Brits are already using or […]

Content Thought Leadership – Utilities

Utilities industry are facing a problem. We will always need heat, light and water so that in itself isn’t a threat, how we manage them is changing quickly.

Content Thought Leadership – Professional Services

The whole professional services industry – legal, financial, accountancy and management consultancy – has seen both legislature and advancements in technology create real challenges for an industry that is notoriously conservative when it comes to change.

FIPP and UPM’s 2017 Rising Star winners!

The River Group is proud to announce Ellie-Rose Burham has been crowned one of this year’s FIPP and UPM’s 2017 Rising Star winners. Judges also awarded The River Group for the overall high standard of their entries.

PPA Digital Awards 2017

The River Group continues to flex its digital prowess with the announcement it has been shortlisted in two categories for the prestigious PPA Digital Awards.

What the Somerset House Perfume Exhibition teaches us about branding

Fragrance – something you smell. Seems obvious, straightforward – and all you need to know, you’d think. But when I went to A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent perfume exhibition at London’s Somerset House (open until 23 September 2017), it blew my mind…

River at General Assembly Tech Talks: Sex & Dating

River Group at General Assembly Tech Talks

It’s no secret that technology has changed the way people meet, fall in love and interact, and after hearing from leaders in the sex and dating space about an ever-changing industry, and exciting things to come, we’re sharing our top five insights into the business of tech and sex.

From intern to editor

Tom Rowley

An internship is about so much more than administration and cups of tea, as the editor of Healthy For Men, Tom Rowley’s, first-hand experience can tell you.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Wednesday, 28 June was a big day at DARE HQ. It saw both the new edition of the magazine in print and the launch of our new Bolt app, a big project that couldn’t have been done without a kick-ass team…

A Day in the Life of Lauren Carbran, Editor of the Scents Blog

Call me cheesy, but on 28 February 2016 I started the job of my dreams – editor of The Perfume Shop’s blog, SCENTS, at The River Group. I practically skip to work every morning, making the businessmen and city bankers VERY jealous on the bus commute. So here’s a typical day in my working life…

The rise and rise of Healthtech

There are more than 165,000 health-related apps on iTunes, the majority offering services focused on prevention. It’s not just consumers that use healthtech…

An EXCLUSIVE with Martin Black returning to office! 💪🏼

For those of you who are learning about Martin Black, River’s Senior Production Manager, for the first time. He recently had a terrible accident and we could not wait to welcome him back. River spent a few minutes to see how his first back went.

The River Group shortlisted for 4 awards at the PPA Awards 2017

The Professional Publishers Association (PPA) has announced the shortlist for its 2017 awards, which celebrate editorial and design excellence, and honour outstanding industry talent. The River Group has yet again been shortlisted for four awards, across three categories.

The Automotive Ecommerce Experience

Buying a car, it seems, is still fraught with anxiety for many of us. The abundance of choice and optional extras can make it a stressful experience, from the first tyre-kicking visit to the dealer, to the fear of being ripped off or signing up to something you may not need.

Content We Love #7 April Fools

April Fools’ Day has always been a great opportunity for publishers and brands to have some fun at the expense of their readers, with Social Media only helping spread the news.

Why psychology and marketing go hand in hand

Before I ever picked up a marketing book or walked into a lecture hall at university, I had more than a faint idea that psychology played a part in the process of marketing. To a certain extent, aside from the creative side of marketing, this is probably what drew me to studying the subject.

Content we love #5 | Live Video and Social Media

Live video is the latest buzzword in social but, as a concept, if we take into consideration our television viewing habits, it’s far from new. However, unlike television, live streaming is the raw unfiltered alternative which is catching everyone’s attention. In an age of never wanting to miss out, live video is an open invitation to be fully part of the moment alongside the video creators.

Opportunities & Threats: Customer Publishing

In a recent article for InPublishing, the CEO of The River Group, Nicola Murphy, looks at how customer publishing has changed since her previous article for the website in 1997. Reporting on recent developments in technology and how digital has created new opportunities for publishers.

Generation Z and Shopping

Every generation is shaped by the events that surround them: the strength of the economy, changing social mores, access to information, the health of the nation and even, dare we say it, political events.

Podcast Formats

There was a time when podcasts essentially just provided a catch-up service for radio but in the last few years this landscape has changed dramatically

The Best Christmas Ads of 2016

With the aid of social media, Christmas adverts are more than just stopgaps between your favourite TV shows; they are pieces of short film which are shared and watched by millions of users, making Christmas adverts in this age bigger than ever.

Example Blog

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic […]

River strikes chord with CorpComms Awards

The River Group is ecstatic to hear that The Southern Co-operative’s Annual Review has been shortlisted for this year’s CorpComms Awards – the second time River has been nominated.

River’s CEO Nicola Murphy shows her Winning Attitude

In a white paper for Zircon that focused on ‘Winning Attitudes’, River’s CEO Nicola Murphy was asked to comment on the topic. The research found that there are 10 attributes of a Winning Attitude including, Realistic Optimism, Burning Ambition and Maximising Opportunities!

What is a chatbot?

It might be a term you’ve heard being passed around the internet recently, but in the simplest form…

Rounders at Hyde Park

On 27 June, The River Group descended on Hyde Park for a game of rounders aimed at improving team-building skills.

Marketing to Millennials

So, half the year is gone – welcome to June. Host of summer, the longest day, and, if you believe Sir Billy Connolly, knighted last year for ‘services to colourful language’, the only month in Scotland that isn’t winter.

The River Group wins magazine contract for Holland & Barrett Benelux

The River Group is delighted to announce an extension of their relationship with Holland & Barrett International, to produce the Dutch edition of Healthy magazine. River is known for its international expertise, publishing a 10-language edition of Imagination for Visit Britain as well as the French, German and Swiss editions of Weight Watchers magazine.

River at the BSME Rising Stars Awards 2016

The BSME represents the UK’s top print and digital editors across consumer, B2B and branded content. The Rising Stars Awards celebrates creative talent at every level up to and including deputy editor, and was held in a glamorous ceremony at Andaz London Liverpool Street.

Content Marketing In Gaming

Those of you with a genteel disposition might be pleased to know that May is a fine time for floral blooms; not for nothing is it known as the month of growth and replenishment. Indeed, the world famous Chelsea Flower Show is held this very month. For those that prefer more drink-fuelled, tribal pursuits, we have the FA Cup final or London Wine Week.

How Sally changed our lives…

Sally Brampton, who died this week, was Healthy magazine’s Agony Aunt for three years, from January 2010 to December 2013.

Marketing Communication

April is one of the shorter sections in the ‘facts about’ book we’ve been using as an aide-memoire in writing our beloved Contentology. It has a funny day at the beginning, and Easter a few days later, unless it’s in March, which, as we know, it was this year! There was an early reference to the […]

River Lauches The Perfume Shop’s New Blog

The River Group is delighted to announce the launch of The Perfume Shop’s new expert fragrance blog, SCENTS – an inspirational, conversational content hub for people with a passion for perfume.

St David, St Patrick and Vinyl Records

As March comes to a close, we realise what a busy month it’s been! Unusually, Easter came early (still unclear why) and there’s been 2 home nation saints days which happily co-insided with much of the 6 nations rugby!

Secrets of entrepreneurial success revealed

Nicki Murphy

Our CEO, Nicola Murphy, was invited to speak at The Business Magazine’s prestigious Southern Entrepreneurs dinner to reveal her journey to business success. Nicola’s honest account of starting the award-winning company in a basement in soho with just two computers, and winning the first client with an ‘interesting’ presentation and a box of chocolates, kept the room of 50 business owner peers captivated and entertained.

River’s Got Talent!

One of the things we’re proudest of at The River Group is the number of young people we have trained, nurtured and watched grow into outstanding content marketers. Last night saw official recognition of this when we won the prestigious PPA New Talent Award for New Consumer Specialist/Customer Journalist of the Year.

Dare scoops social win at BRITs night

Adele who? It was a case of ‘Sorry’ Drake, The Weeknd et al at lastnight’s BRIT Awards 2016 as Justin Bieber ‘liked’ Dare magazine’s tweet backing his belie-bid for International Solo Male Artist, getting us over 1200 retweets and likes into the bargain.

River’s Rising Stars Shortlisted for Four PPA Awards

River knows talent when we see it – and our commitment to recruiting and developing the best raw talent in the industry has been recognized with an impressive four shortlisted nominations for the prestigious PPA Rising Stars Awards 2016.

Opportunities & Threats: Customer Publishing

We are all publishers now with the onslaught of social media channels taking over our lives. And therein lies the rub for customer publishing and the brands we craft content for: how to get eyeball time with consumers who have literally hundreds of content engagement opportunities thrust at them every day.

Contentology #11

It may not feel like it right now but the Celts regarded February as the start of spring. Which shows how much they knew.

Actually, the word February is only about 100 years old. In Shakespeare’s time, it was known as Feverell, and Isaac Newton would have called it Februeer.

February used to be a time for purification and cleansing before the spring. Indeed, the passing of Shrove Tuesday and the beginning of Lent was a time for fasting and quietness. Now, of course, after a month’s resolution-driven abstinence in January, we party like it’s Freshers’ Week and spend £0.5bn on Valentine’s Day.

The River Group wins magazine contract for Princess Cruises (UK)

Following a competitive pitch The River Group has been engaged by award-winning Princess Cruises (Carnival Corporation & PLC) to deliver their premium travel magazine Journey.

River has developed a new approach for Journey magazine, which will become a key element in the Princess Cruises marketing strategy. The magazine promises to:

Highlight Princess Cruises as destination experts through credible, relevant travel content designed to showcase its network of more than 330 ports of call worldwide.
Reflect the premium experience of travelling with Princess Cruises and foster a community
of past and new passengers.
Complement the Princess Cruises Come Back New proposition by inspiring cruise passengers to discover something new.

River’s Claire Irvin appointed Chair of BSME

The British Society of Magazine Editors has announced that its 2016 Chair is Claire Irvin, Editorial Content Director at River.

The British Society of Magazine Editors is the only society exclusively for print and digital brand editors and their teams in the UK. Its strapline is: ‘Get connected. Get inspired. Get on.’ Its role is to support, represent and inform editors of all disciplines. It acts as a forum for editors to meet and exchange ideas, via industry functions, events and social gatherings. Events in 2015 included breakfasts with Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of US Cosmopolitan, Glenda Bailey MBE, Editor-in-Chief of US Harper’s Bazaar, and Luke Lewis, Editor-in-Chief of Buzzfeed, as well as a forum on indie magazines and other networking events.

Jackie Garford promoted to position of Managing Director

River is delighted to announce that Jackie Garford, Group Publishing Director and River Board member since March 2014, has been promoted to the position of Managing Director.

Jackie has been with River for nearly 10 years, joining in 2006 as Group Account Director for The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. In that time, she has taken responsibility for a number of titles and accounts and has been instrumental in River’s growth. Jackie holds operational responsibility for running both the publishing and advertising sides of the business.

A month for contemplation

We trust you are refreshed after your festive break and full of resolve that 2016 will be an even better year for you and yours than 2015. On the other hand, maybe you are just full of remorse and loathing from the drunken shenanigans you unusually, but predictably, partook in.

The elephant in the room is the festival of Christmas

If ever there was a time for stories, it’s got to be December. The 10th month of the Roman calendar is full to the brim with myths, legends and a few other things that might have actually happened.

Obviously, the elephant in the room is the festival of Christmas. It dominates our national psyche, calendar and spending habits throughout this month – and even before! Not to mention our religious proclivities and our sudden inclination to show up at church for just the one time in the year. But the ‘greatest story ever told’ has much more to it than meets the eye.

November spawned a monster…

November spawned a monster – so sang Steven from Manchester in 1990. If you are over 35, you’ll know who I mean. If not, go look it up on YouTube. And yes, most of his songs were that miserable and, no, that’s not proper dancing.

The Changing Role of the Consumer Magazine Editor

‘Editors nowadays have to produce more content, across more platforms, but with less resource. They have to be both commercial and creative, to continue taking full responsibility, whilst ceding total control. It’s pressured, writes Claire Irvin, but still a privilege.

A spookily horrifying dog-whipped October

October is a bit of a gift for Contentologists. Not only do the leaves on the trees start to turn different colours and fall off, but it’s a month with a multitude of tales and stories to tell.

High Street Blues

It seems we are starting to get bored with consistency and convenience. The notion that we can buy fresh meat, DVDs and a pair of socks from the same shop – even if it does sound ridiculous written down – appears to be wearing thin. Back in the day, our parents would have had to visit separate shops to get those items, including a shop housing a time machine, because DVDs hadn’t yet been invented!

Talking ’bout my generation

Every generation in the last 60 years or so has had a name, it seems. We’ve had Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y/Millennials, and now we have Generation Z. The oldest of this new generation are barely 18 years old, and yet we are already in the process of understanding how we can sell to them. Or should that be understanding what their hopes and dreams are?

Good point. Well made.

It’s not often that you see a rock star sharing a table with two of adland’s finest, but we saw it a week or so ago at the Cannes Lions festival. For those of you not familiar with the festival, it’s the annual week-long thrash where those in the creative industries get to flaunt it, push it, shout it, snort it and sometimes win awards for their work.

Contentology #5

So school’s out and we are just about ready to go on holiday. But worry not if you have neither children nor the means, for there is much else about July to be grateful for.

Why brands really are the new creative force

Brands are becoming publishers, so said everyone quite a while ago. Those same people probably forgot that brands have been publishing content since John Deere wanted to make farmers happy by producing The Furrow magazine back in 1895.

In the Balance of Probabilities

It’s official, summer is here and Wimbledon is just around the corner. Unless, of course, you live in Chessington, in which case it’s a short drive down the A3. Badum tish! June is also the month of the longest day, the 21st, and Midsummer Day, the 24th, when in olden times people lit bonfires to […]

The power of comedy

In the second Contentology bulletin, The River Group considers the power of comedy in content marketing…

The science of content marketing

In the first of three investigative articles, The River Group considers the past, present and future of content marketing, starting with the meaning of data

White Paper: From Digital To Print – The 360 degree revolution of content

Digital hasn’t destroyed the value of every other media, it has in fact fuelled our curiosities to explore more – discovering new artists through a friend’s recommendation on Facebook, back issues of a rediscovered special interest magazine, or an Amazon review that convinced you that this self-help book will change my life.

Day in a life: Group Account Director, Kate Burton

As the Group Account Director for The Co-operative Food and regional retail groups, Kate Burton came to The River Group having previously worked as a Publishing Director at a multichannel publishing agency and as an editor in customer publishing.

The value of content marketing in retail

Content – whether in the form of an offline product like a customer magazine or online content intended to support information search – helps to enforce this position of authority, creating a sweet spot for the retailer and an extension of the customer journey.

A word to the wise: customer engagement in brand marketing publications

A study in the US of news sites from 2008 to 2012 found that only 0.1 per cent of the most viewed stories were user generated. Although social media is a frequent ‘breaker’ of stories, 77 per cent of people who hear about a story through this platform will seek more information through a traditional news provider, finds the Pew Research Center’s State of News Media report.

Print and digital: a hybrid future

Printed media simply can’t keep up with the speed and findability of digital; by the time news has been committed to paper, it’s already old. Digital content feeds the consumer demand for immediate information or entertainment at little or no cost to the reader. Without the need for printed press processes, the production time and costs for digital content can be reduced.

How to internationalise your publishing strategy

Editorial pillars and brand values are the same in every Weight Watchers edition – but there are many differences. No one has longer words than the Germans, so when features are translated they can be up to a third longer. It can cause issues with the cover lines – we can’t have a word on the cover with 20 letters!

Wearables and the future of content

Wearable technologies are not new. You have probably seen wrist heart-rate monitors, a wearable GPS, or possibly one of the tiny watch TVs that have been around since the 1980s. The current generation of wearables are all designed to connect to existing devices, particularly smartphones.

Steffan Aquarone on 2014 trends in online video

The hardest part is making content people really want to watch. People don’t care about your products and services. With the tap of a finger, people can change the channel and watch anything that’s available on the web. Making content that stands out and holds people’s attention doesn’t have to mean filming cats on skateboards or shocking humour – but it does have to serve its audience first and your brand’s PR agenda second.

Inspiration is everywhere

I think this highlights that personal creativity is everywhere, you’ve just got keep your eyes and mind open. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Some of my best design work has come from ‘happy accidents’ where I have experimented whilst painting, and recently with photography and video.

What is your data worth?

Discerning and digitally savvy consumers expect brands to understand them and anticipate what they are looking for. We can learn to deliver meaningful experiences by harnessing the insights of ‘small data’.

The power of storytelling

Great stories don’t always come in the form of a book. The art of storytelling has improved as brands and advertisers recognise its power.

Solve the big 4 content marketing challenges in 2014

2014 is the year considered, strategic content marketing will grow from a ‘should do’ to a ‘must do’ activity for credible brands intent on building meaningful engagements with savvy customers. Here are four tips for resolving the challenges ahead:

Whatever happened to the Oxo family? Social media this Christmas

So all might have changed by next Christmas. Maybe it will be me, upstairs in my bedroom lounging in bed, glass in hand, posting my piccies on Flickr and blogging away on Tumblr. The kids will be at the bottom of the stairs shouting, “Come on Mum. Now. We want to spend time with you. Please come down and be with us.

An app I like

Played in Britain reverses theatre’s technical laggard stereotype to adapt theatre anthology for the tablet age, digitally curating from the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum’s rich audio-visual Theatre & Performance Collection.

Things can only get better if we stop chasing algorithms

The digital age has given us many things, but the one thing that has really changed the game is that it has given us unprecedented access to information, and an unprecedented ability to challenge and discuss it. We are probably the most educated generation in history. Information can be captured, altered and spread at a rate that traditional channels can’t keep up with.

Health research: The future of health and wellness

So what does the future hold for our health and wellness industry? How are consumers changing? And will developments in technology help us to manage the shifting landscape of challenges we face?

And above all what does this mean for those businesses involved in developing products and services for the sector?

Christmas in July: Magazine editing for the seasons

I have just packed up the Christmas decorations, taken the Christmas cards down from the mantelpiece and the Christmas tree is lying in the garden. It’s the 12th of July and Christmas is over in my house! Together with my team from River I’ve just finished a two-day photo shoot for The Co-operative Food magazine’s Christmas issue

Slim our Snacks: The art of the magazine campaign

Magazines have a rich tradition of campaigning. Compared with the big papers, Weight Watchers magazine circulation figures may be modest, but our readers are undyingly faithful and highly vocal. While a newspaper is in the recycling bin by teatime, a magazine lives on for far longer. For proof, just pop along to your local dentist’s waiting room and see how far back their eclectic collection goes.

A day in the life of Sophie Adams, Advertising Manager

Having come from consumer titles across various different markets, it’s great to be doing something slightly different but still in the same industry. By that, I mean still being involved with the advertising in magazines yet working for a content marketing agency and not just a publishing house. My days are varied and can differ greatly but what I love is being involved with our clients business and also working with my advertising clients and creating some great ideas and relationships that result in some great pieces of activity.

A day in the life of Martin Black, Senior Production Manager

As Senior Production Manager, I oversee the production of River’s magazines and printed materials from design to delivery. The day always starts with a cup of tea. Generously made by whoever gets in to the office first and left on your desk. Very civilized indeed.

What makes good content? Q&A with Susi O’Neill, Head of Digital


This article by River Group’s newly appointed Head of Digital and Content, Susi O’Neill, was originally featured in .NET magazine in April.
What makes good content?

Content marketing isn’t new – content has always driven communications online. Good content is informative or entertaining, and always engaging. Make your content purposeful: what problem will you solve for your prospective customer? What call-to-action will they take? Use that eye-catching infographic to move your audience further into your engagement programme or sales funnel.

The challenge of the ubiquity of content in content marketing

Can you imagine going to a restaurant and ordering some food? No, actually ordering, just ‘food’. Then maybe ordering some ‘drink’.

Perhaps when you go shopping you like to buy some general ‘clothes’? Your next major purchase might be a ‘car’ or perhaps your Saturday afternoons are spent shouting with thousands of other people at a couple of ‘football teams’?

Content matters: the purpose of content marketing

Image by Caroline Andrieu

it’s no surprise that content marketing has come to the fore. Content is by and large self-selecting. It is also immersive, emotive, and the customer gets to choose when, where and how often it is consumed.

Darwinism in Action: adapting to survive in publishing

Image source: Wikipedia

The greatest civilisations eventually fall. So goes the accepted wisdom. Actually whose accepted wisdom it was I can’t recall but it does sound very wise indeed. Although perhaps not as wise as Darwin’s proclamation that “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Future Proof: five predictions for the future of content

I love writing about the future. It’s the one way I get to say whatever I like and you are only allowed to disagree with me in the mildest fashion. This is because you are not Doctor Who.

So I predict that in 10 years we will be able to invite holograms of our dead relatives to dinner and converse with them as if they we really there. Don’t believe me? Then watch the first episode of the latest series of Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ and think again.

The challenges of magazine cover art in the digital age

You can’t judge a book by its cover.

And if you do, you have no idea just how 19th century you are.

Whatever the origin of this pithy aphorism (widely attributed to Mr Tulliver in George Eliot’s The Mill on The Floss, saying how beautifully bound a book was), judging a book, a magazine or a person, by their cover is what we do all the time. Yet in this age of digi-everything, the challenges of making your cover art dazzle are greater than ever.

Content marketing: the answer isn’t always more

We do, it is fair to say, have a bit of an obsession with growth. It is arguably one of the key tenets of capitalist society that ‘more is good’. Whether that be GDP and company profits at the business end of the spectrum, personal wealth somewhere in the middle, or a collection of books right at the other. Now, this writer doesn’t wish to debate the semantics of finite resources or the morality of wealth at this juncture, but suffice to say it does shine a number of uncomfortable lights upon the world of marketing.

A day in the life of Lucy Morris

Before working at River, I spent 10 years climbing the ladder, on some of the UK’s biggest glossy fashion and lifestyle magazines, and I am now at a point in my career when all that knowledge, training and the contacts made along the way are really coming together!