Infinity & Beyond: Magazines Expand Their Brands
While the E vs. P debate rages on (often in these very pages!), we know there's more to a magazine than what's contained in its pages, be they inked or digitized. The brand is the thing, and defining, building and expanding a magazine's brand is now the crucial task of publishers everywhere. Last month Harper's Bazaar's VP/publisher Carol Smith talked to Publishing Executive about her magazine's move into e-commerce. This month Elisa Ludwig explores some other magazine moves into supplementary media.
Dwell: Finding New Opportunities for E-commerce
Modern living magazine Dwell's polished, minimal aesthetic is at the heart of the brand, and soon, an online initiative will make a select number of pictured items available for purchase to readers. If an article shows a particular cement treatment for the floor, for instance, they can click through to find out how to get their own floors to look like that.
"The question we ask is how can we extend the Dwell experience into a new form and engage users meaningfully, encourage readers to 'lean forward.' We think Dwell is in a unique position to do that-we have an established brand and authority to leverage," says executive vice president Brandon Huff.
For Huff, who came to Dwell Media from Yahoo, it's a familiar yet challenging business problem. "Very traditional media companies have approached this intersection between media content and commerce where the engagement or experience is in the content itself. So if you're reading an article about furniture and you want to go shopping, here's a path to click. But by the time you get there, that link might not have anything directly relational to the subject matter," Huff says. "We've seen over and over again that it's very hard to do this well."
Part of the problem, Huff says, is that media companies often bring in an outside firm to establish the e-commerce piece. "Creating that contextualization is difficult if you're relying on someone else to speak for your content and your media brand. I get why people do it, but I think it takes away from that authentic experience and readers will know the difference."