The terms multi-platform publisher and media convergence are part of the parlance for many of us. I also believe it is important, through all the channels we engage our audiences, to be mindful that—like mastering a Rubik’s cube—each piece of the puzzle should add up to a solid brand. Today, too many of us fall into the trap of embracing the next “thing”—be it social media, event sponsorships, digital or conventional ink on paper—without taking a breath to assess where it fits in the overall brand strategy.
We often preach to our advertisers that we have multiple arrows in the quiver that can hit whatever target they are pining for without hesitation, often committing resources well beyond the return on investment. Why? Because we are hell-bent on proving that we are not Gutenberg’s heirs, often disdaining the major source of the revenue that allows us to exist: our print publications.
I would argue (and this has been verified through MPA research) that nothing else—all the events, social media, whistles and bells—would have any relevance without a viable print product to back them.
There are times when I feel as though I should be donning a sequined top hat and waistcoat, shouting, "Ladies and gentleman, may I now direct your attention to the center ring…,” when we are in some of our most intense event cycles, sometimes two or three a month. I need to remind myself that the event may be a revenue source but also needs to reflect my publication’s brand, our personality (that would not be the sequins, by the way).
I have also come to realize that not every event we create fits into the puzzle. We have started a systematic review of what we do and why, with what resources, to make sure it fits strategically and—more importantly, financially.
City and regional magazines are organizations that are typically rich in creative concepts, poor on resources and, sadly, often overwhelmed with execution.
Whether it is a tweet, a celebration or that video you are sure is going to go viral, make sure whoever is making the decisions and paying the bills is mindful of what your brand stands for.