Welding Design & Fabrication was not only a mouthful, it was also a trade magazine that was named back in 1959, and the market has changed since then. In the magazine’s early days, the welding industry was focused entirely on the manual process of welding engineers. Today, welds can be managed through automation and technology, and the market needed a magazine that focused on the welding management business as a whole, rather than the technical side of the trade.
Over an 18-month period, the magazine changed its editorial focus to concentrate on management. New editorial staff members joined the team and the focus of the magazine slowly came into its own. A name change was the next step. "The name change wasn’t the beginning of the project," says publisher Bob Rosenbaum. "It was the watershed moment when the heavy lifting of the project was done. We’d been working on the changes inside the pages of the magazine quietly for months."
The 77-year old magazine was renamed Penton’s Welding Magazine, complete with a new logo, tagline and Web site name. Rosenbaum said the process was new for his team and required attention to a number of small details including notifying the USPS, which has to actually see the magazine before anything gets mailed.
The trademark implication of the new name also had to be addressed. Surprisingly, of the many welding publications on the market, none were titled Welding Magazine, so Rosenbaum jumped on the opportunity. "We designed the logo so there was no confusion with an association title called The Welding Journal," says Rosenbaum.
Communicating the new name with advertisers and readers went smoothly, says Rosenbaum, who tested the name with a number of close clients before the magazine went to press. A simple notification in the last issue of Welding Design warning readers of the name change was all it took. A starburst was also placed on the cover of the premiere issue of Welding and columns from the editor and publisher that explained the change. Incremental changes were key to the transformation. "I do think there are times in a magazine’s life cycle where a big relaunch may be necessary," says Rosenbaum. "But when you are able to make an evolutionary change, it’s just better."
Getting your entire staff participating in a name change is also key to a smooth transition, according to Rosenbaum. "Get everybody involved," he says. "We brought in our circ managers, production manager and our mailing and postage people. The first issue came out without a hitch. We’re ahead of where we were a year ago."