What's the Magazine Industry's Brand Identity?
All magazines have a brand. What is the promise that you intend to deliver to your audience on a regular basis? Can you articulate the brand of your magazine in one sentence? (Ok, that was an easy question -- or I hope for your sake that it was easy.)
Now the hard part: what is the magazine brand? Not your magazine. What is the brand message for all magazines? Can you articulate that in one sentence? Which was easier for you to describe, the promise of your specific organization to its readers or the promise of an entire industry?
I think the magazine business, now called by some the magazine media business, has a branding problem. Is defining the brand of the magazine industry even possible in this day and age given we are no longer beholden to a single deliverable substrate and deliver our product in hundreds of ways? Are we branding ourselves as trusted information providers? If so, what distinguishes us from a billion web sites? Is it the former and still beloved portability of our product? We lost the competitive portability edge when smartphones and tablets came on the stage.
What is the promise of the magazine media industry that can't be replicated by any other industry and therefore separates us from every other maker and distributer of words and ideas? Or are all makers of words and ideas that contain pictures part of the magazine business?
There was a time when the reading public picked up our branded, printed products, once known as magazines, and they didn't need any additional information for navigating down the page or reading an article across multiple pages. This was at the time a globally accepted format for the reading experience benefiting both reader and publisher.