Rebranding Feat: Reader's Digest Considering Name Change
In publishing, naming magazines, articles and columns is an art in itself. My mentor is a master copyeditor from newspapers and she is a natural at that kind of thing. I love the challenge of writing headlines, cover blurbs and call-outs that say a lot in few words.
The New York Times recently reported that Reader's Digest Assn.'s chief executive officer Mary Berner is considering changing the name of the corporation to encompass everything that her company has become. RDA doesn't just publish magazines, it has a huge direct marketing arm too,"claiming data on 100 million American consumers," and it is forging full force into multimedia platform ventures including a newly signed deal with a megachurch in California, according to FolioMag.com.
Changing this company's 86-year-old name and re-branding the company will be a challenging feat and if it isn't done right, could go badly. Branding is a hot topic in publishing these days as media companies struggle to establish their identities across new media platforms. One of my favorite books on branding is The Culting of Brands: When Customers Become True Believers by Douglas Atkin. In it Atkins draws parallels between religion and consumerism, beliefs and buying instincts, and says that companies' best bets for profitable branding is to create cult-like following.
So after reading Atkin's book, I'm not sure RDA should mess too much with a good thing, after all they have the largest consumer magazine circulation in the U.S., and there may be a big risk in alienating readers already fiercely loyal to their brand.
But just for fun, all you clever OS writers, what are your suggestions for Ms. Berner?