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Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

The Beyond Branding blog

July 05, 2005

The latest issue 

I’ve got my copies of the July 2005 Lucire, about an hour or so before our retailers. When I look through it, I enjoy how we’re charting our own course for the magazine. I’ve already talked about what we’ve done with the brand on this blog, and how I’ve practised what I and others preach in Beyond Branding.
   I won’t say it’s been easy-peasy, and consumers do take time to shift to understanding that you’re not conning them with your work.
   And after eight print issues, I look at the great graphics’ job done by Fiona Barnett, our associate art director, and her team—Chérie Parker, Belinda Broughton, and the many who’ve contributed to the magazine’s look and feel.
   Appearance, as one can expect in the fashion magazine sector, is job number one—and there we’ve tried to look different from the establishment. But there are enough trappings so a reader is in no doubt that this is a classy fashion magazine, with enough folks comparing us to Fairchild Publication’s W.
   Despite New Zealanders doing all the design, we still get comments that the magazine looks ‘European’, which highlights something about nation branding. I’m not sure if it’s fair; on one plane this is meant to be a compliment; on the other plane, it suggests there’s no such thing as a classy New Zealand look. Another explanation is that our rivals are badly designed, and are merely deriving what other nations are doing when it comes to editorial design.
   I faced it a bit nine years ago when Publish did a story on my typeface designs: I believe the author wrote how refined wasn’t something one would associate with ‘Down Under’.
   Once again I must draw an analogy with brands. Brands have to look the part, and not be derivative. I don’t mean just graphics, but every aspect of the organization. In this world, Avis’s comparison with Hertz may have worked for a while (‘We try harder’) but it’s also time to do that and chart a new path to beat every other rental car agency. It is my favourite already, but it could leap ahead by getting involved with car sharing, increasing its hybrid range, promoting Fair Trade with selected imports which it can rent at a premium, or doing something that is not just about beating Hertz’s service standards.
   It’s still early days for Lucire—the web site may be well established after eight years but the print magazines in New Zealand and Romania are relatively new—but there’s an indication that being original wins more friends more quickly than churning out a boring same-again product. Now, how about your industry? What more can you do to mark yourself out?
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