Bernie Mann, CEO and owner of Our State North Carolina, has a reputation as one of the most innovative regional publishers in the country. At a recent Folio: Show session on leadership, he outlined some of what he believes are the essential rules for publishing managers. They include both customer-service and employee-relations tactics.

1) Cherish the product. All the great companies start with an outstanding product or service, i.e., Rolex, Honda, P&G, Starbucks, Four Seasons Hotels.
2) Keep at least 60 percent Editorial vs. 40 percent ads
3) A full-page ad always faces editorial. Never have page after page of ads.
4) Never run advertiser submitted material that looks like editorial.
5) Never run more than 280 pages in each issue.
6) No voice mail receptionist. "When you call our office, you speak to a live person," he says.
7) Provide fresh flowers in the reception room weekly.
8) Keep the refrigerator stocked with free soft drinks.
9) "No one screens my calls. If you want to talk to the publisher you get right through."
10) Handle your own circulation calls. "I want our readers to be able to talk to a southern voice that will take time to listen to each caller."
11) We don’t do any subscription discounts.