Dusting’ Off the Brand, New England Journal of Medicine Finds Success in the Digital Age
A couple years back, executives at the New England Journal of Medicine found that the well-respected brand had grown a little “musty, dusty,” said Kent Anderson, the journal’s executive director of international business and product development. “With the New England Journal of Medicine, you have one of the oldest and most-respected brands out there,” he recently said during an ABM-sponsored panel discussion during a conference titled “The Digital Prescription.” “But it’s a time of change.”
With that, NEJM set out to improve its Web site with the goal of increasing readership and to draw new ad revenue streams, said Anderson. One thing that didn’t need to change with the Web site’s new mission was the New England Journal’s brand recognition, said Anderson. “The reason why people like brands is because they like to infer something from that brand like trust, loyalty, innovation,” he said. “When we went online, we weren’t trying to change the brand. We were trying to reach younger physicians and reach people worldwide.”
Knowing that just a Web site wasn’t enough to secure dominance in the digital realm, the title launched mobile, video and audio components to its site, which included podcasts, wave files and MP3 downloads of both audio and video-taped interviews. The site also features flash animations, e-mail alerts, beta, an RSS feed, and slideshows. “Since January 2005, we’ve distributed 450,000 slides, which have been viewed three to five times by 10-15 people at a time, which breaks down to 18 million views in 20 months,” Anderson said.
In addition to offering original content, the site also mines data for its users and offers them insight into the most viewed, searched and widely covered content across the Internet, Anderson said. “We’ve increased our immediacy factor and our impact factor has tracked up significantly since 2001,” he said.NEJM's Web site is now visited not only by people from North America, but also people worldwide from South America to Eastern Europe, Asia to the Middle East, and Africa, Anderson said. "We've encountered so many more people online than in print. And we've really brought a unique value to our online property," he said. "We've reinvigorated the brand and we've remained the best brand for authors."