“If you really want to survive in a 21st century publishing company, you have to re-imagine your organisation,” said John Wilpers, senior director at Innovations Media Consulting, USA and the editor of FIPP’s Innovations in Magazine Media World Report, at the FIPP Congress today in Rome. With the shift into the digital age, Wilpers presented the report and discussed how the magazine industry has not only managed to adapt to new technologies, but create innovative tactics to interact with the consumer on a new level.
In order to understand what consumers are looking for, the University of Finland asked their students about the future of magazines and what they think would work based on existing science. Some of their responses included; print on demand kiosks at airports, bus and train stations with nano printing, in doctor’s waiting rooms with NFC downloading to laptops and mobile devices, print magazines that project holographs, and “intelligent” magazines that can deliver content on verbal command or recognize your mood and deliver appropriate content.
In order to innovate, however, Wilpers stresses the need for change. “Successful, profitable, franchise-enhancing change only comes with organisational change,” he said.
Some of the key elements of change that he mentioned include: The need for multimedia journalists, integrated editorial departments, close relationships between the editorial and business sides of the brand, a digital-first commitment, and people who are fully involved with social media, while tracking what people are saying about the brand all over the web.
The Innovations in Magazine Media Report found that Hearst, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, and Harper’s Bazaar have been successful in partnering with retailers to offer click-to-buy content. The result of this is a new source of revenue for the brands, new reasons for the readers to stay on the site, increased reader engagement and loyalty, and great service to the advertisers.
Advertising specialist CinePrint, developed an advertisement that comes alive if readers put their tablet behind the page. Some advertisers have been able to take advantage of the natural action of a tablet, where readers can actually interact with the advertisements by swiping across the tablet, to crash a car, for example.
On the other side of digital innovation, some brands have turned to “reverse publishing,” where certain brands have found success through returning to print. Popular fashion e-commerce site Net-a-Porter.com is coming out with a 300-page, glossy fashion magazine in to challenge magazines like Cosmopolitan and ELLE.
Wilpers also discussed the skill sets needed for a 21st century journalist, which include not being afraid to be in front of a camera, understanding web analytics, being familiar with basic HTML, and having a strong digital footprint. Social media and having a strong following has become necessary in developing a brand. Users are now looking for a return on their investment, with magazine contests, digital coupons, interactions with writers or editors, and much more.
“Innovation is what everyone becomes as an organisation,” said Wilpers. “Innovation only happens with complete organizational transformation.”
A brand can have a great sales plan, great distribution plan, great platforms, but until they fix the editorial model, it won’t work.
Wilpers concluded with a recommendation: “Don’t use a band aid when you need a blood transfusion,” he said. “Have the courage to change because the future is both exciting and lucrative, and the alternative is very bad.”