Yesterday, Ajay and I attended the 'Men are from Mars' business lunch hosted by the MPA
. The keynote of the event being a debate and Q&A session from the following well respected publication editors:
- Dylan Jones - editor of British GQ
- Charlie Turner - editor of Top Gear
- Dominic Smith - editor of Nuts magazine
- Phil Hilton - editor of Shortlist magazine
It was a very inspiring session, with a great insight into the world of magazine editors with some very funny tales to boot - including an anecdote about a shoot with Daniel Radcliffe portraying him in a different light to his well-known wizard persona was pulled following a focus group in which the audience likened him to Jedward.
There were some very intriguing questions and answers, covering everything from advertising to the market for which the content is created. What I was particularly interested in was, in an increasingly digital world, as content is constantly becoming richer thanks to mobile devices such as the iPad - would there always be place for a printed publication and how would the impact of these tools affect the magazine's image over the coming years? I posed this very question to Dylan Jones of GQ magazine.
"Fundamentally, the success of the GQ comes down to it's brand
. The fact that it is
a magazine, means there will always be a market for it as that is the basis of the brand."
Wise words. Since I began my career in design, it has always been one of my core beliefs that a strong brand will always be the basis of a successful company. If you can get that bit right, all other marketing elements will become apparent, depending on the needs of the audience. It was great to hear somebody at the helm of such a successful brand in its own right share the same opinion.
Charlie Turner, editor of Top Gear magazine also shared the same thoughts - that the brand is one of the fundamental aspects to the publication's success - albeit slightly different in this respect as the Top Gear brand has been built on the back of the globally renowned TV show.
Going back to my original question for a moment, I was keen to know what impact the rise of the digital era was having on publications such as those being represented before us. It seemed to be a general consensus that many in the industry were sceptical at first about investing huge amounts into new technologies while they were in their infancy. I recall Betamax being mentioned at this point - which is a fair point, but I personally think that devices such as the iPad and other tablets have long proved themselves and their customer's needs.
Dylan flagged up the problems caused by the launch of the new iPad. Double the resolution caused huge problems for a graphic intense publication such as GQ as it brings up a whole hoard of problems with sizes of magazines and the problems with people accessing them. Unanimously though, the editors agreed that the flexibility which these devices allow in terms of video and other interactive content is unrivalled and offers up a new avenue in which they can appeal to their current audience as well as new readers.
Overall, it was a fantastic Q&A. It answered a few questions of my own but also left me wondering where we will see magazines such as these go in the next few years. I think there is a huge amount of scope for rich content through digital media, and with the rise of responsive websites, such as those we now build from scratch into our design and development process, the prospects are huge.
What do you think?