Ad Age: The 4 Ways Print Publications Can Reinvigorate Their Offerings

By Janet Levine, Managing Director, Invention+, Mindshare

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Excerpt: There’s no shortage of headlines about storied print publications scaling back or shutting down entirely. Ad Age, for one, called it a category in “secular decline” in its 2019 Publishers A-List.

From a media perspective, print publishers have a unique opportunity to reinvigorate their brands. If we treated these publishers the way we do clients, I’d tell them that they have storied legacies and enormous amounts of brand equity—what they need now is to evolve their offerings in a way that puts print in the center of a more disruptive offering. Here’s how:

Reimagine the bundle
Much has been said about publishers such as The New York Times and Scribd bundling their subscription services together. But this can go further, both in the breadth of publisher-to-publisher partnerships we see and, frankly, in expanding bundles beyond just publications.

What if a music magazine offered a full-year subscription that also unlocks a free month of Spotify premium? Or imagine if a beauty publication collaborated with Birchbox to unlock exclusive content, deeper discounts and limited-edition products. The same could be said if Bon Appetit or Travel & Leisure partnered with Try the World, a food subscription box. It’s a one-two punch for consumers: They get a better price and a different type of value. It doesn’t just have to be d-to-c brands that publishers partner with either, but think of these as a jumping-off point.

Beyond bundling, print publications can partner with other brands to develop surprising and creative uses of media. This past August, The New York Post published a cover wrap with nothing but the Supreme logo on the front. The issue sold out within hours and by 10:30 a.m. it was reselling on eBay for $12.

It might seem like lightning in a bottle, but it’s really a call for publishers to push the envelope. And you start by doing what we tell all of our clients to do: figure out where your consumers’ passion points lie, where they’re spending their time and how to get in on it.

For more of Janet’s insights, check out the full piece in Ad Age.