World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

A newspaper is a brand factory

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

A newspaper is a brand factory

"Every day the newsroom starts with raw material, through the day it’s processed and once it’s finished, in a matter of four to six hours a product is out for sale, and it is a very clearly branded product. A newspaper that people are buying because they recognized it as the newspaper they like, they want,” he says.

That is possible, says Schmidt, because of the value chain within the publishing company: the editorial selection and design choices, the tone of the newspaper. “If you change what makes you distinctive, the day after you lose your readership. I remember it happened a few years ago with Bild Zeitung,” the German tabloid. What it means also is that you need to know very well the characteristics of your offer, “but many companies just do things without being aware of what exactly is unique in what they do.”

That seriously reduces their potential impact, explains Schmidt, because repetition of consistent characteristics is the secret of brand building: “You have to reproduce to get excellent recognition: the best you practice, the more characteristics you format, the more you will perform. It is the secret to build a brand and exploit its economic strength. And it is also the secret when times get harder.

"Often, when things get tough, companies think they need to change – but changing often means cutting the line with customers and it takes time to reconstruct… The more people talk about the need to make changes or about change management, the more you have to be careful.”

It is sometimes difficult to explain the substance of a brand, the invisible differentiators, and communicate that to your employees, but Schmidt says that if well mastered it will make customers willing to pay for that.

He also encourages publishers to invest rather than cutting costs: “I know no example of businesses in which cutting costs led to successful business – it’s quite the opposite. People are not going to pay for what you ‘take out’ of their product.”

And he concludes by saying that for a brand, nothing is given – but the brands are making the market, not following the market.


Valérie Arnould's picture

Valérie Arnould


2011-10-13 20:05

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The 71st World News Media Congress, the 26th World Editors Forum and the 3rd Women in News Summit took place from 1 - 3 June 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

In this blog, WAN-IFRA provides previews, interviews, summaries of the presentations and other useful information about the Congress.

Participants were also very active on Twitter throughout the event under the hashtag #wnmc19.

In 2011 the newspaper world gathered in Vienna, Austria for IFRA Expo 2011, 63rd World Newspaper Congress and 18th World Editors Forum.

This is the event's live blog.

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