I'm always excited when new publishing titles start, because it's a chance to see the vision and values and beliefs of the founding editors come to life in, almost, realtime. And, over the last couple years, we've seen a couple really interesting examples. XOJane, Quartz, or the Kernel, or even the ever-evolving Forbes.com are in different phases of their evolution, but their editorial "point of view" has been clear from the beginning.
Modern Marketers, as they continue to evolve from a "mass marketing" mindset to a "audience building" mindset, can learn a lot from successful publishing brands who have built great audiences over time. And, in this case, new publishing brands who are trying to connect with an audience for the first time. The first couple statements from a new publishing venture – their first articles, their first "letter from the Editor", their manifesto - form the foundation of their brand. And, it's a great chance to see how well the editor/publishing team know just who they are as a brand and where they want to go.
Ozy Media is launching this week, and it will be interesting to see how their "voice" evolves. Here's the vision, from Carlos Watson:
At OZY, our goal is to bring you news and information in a completely different way. Instead of just giving you the same 25 stories everyone else has, we’re going to give you what you really want – the new and the next. Every day, OZY will deliver stories on new people, places, trends, ideas and opinions. And when we say “new,” we’re not just talking about what’s trending now. We’re not focused on three hours or three days ahead; we want to tell you about things months before you hear it elsewhere.
We want to show you more of this bright, interesting, colorful world we share. And if we do that, then in the end you’ll not only see more, you’ll be more.
And, here's what i think is their version of the manifesto:
We are the go-to daily news and culture site for the Change Generation, bringing you up to speed on what happened in the last 24 hours and vaulting you ahead by previewing new people, places, ideas and trends in bite-sized original articles that are intelligent, compelling and stylish. OZY is the place where you get a little smarter, a little sooner. Our mission is to help you see more, be more and do more
That's pretty nice. But, it would be great for them to start all this with a more clearly articulated foundation:
- Beliefs – What they believe in, and how those beliefs will guide their editorial coverage
- Values – The basic human values that will guide their decision, and motivate their actions
- A clear Purpose – A single, clear statement that lays out why the platform exists.
And, in this particular case, i think Ozy is onto something kind of important: the idea of the Change Generation. It would have been awesome for them to take a shot at articulating who the change generation is, why we should think as a "generation" vs. a cohort (and why that matters), and what the change generation really needs.
At this point, i wonder if they were focused on getting the platform up and running, and getting the first articles out the door instead of fully, clearly, convincingly defining their vision, their point of view, their reason for being. With so many alternatives, a new platform needs to convince the audience they are different, they are worth paying attention to, and worth watching or reading.
Modern Marketers are often in similiar situations, trying to convince people to pay attention and care about them. They're rushing to get their social media touchpoints established, their communities started. But, they often skip past the foundation that attracts an audience: Shared values, common beliefs, and a purpose that humans want to be part of.
At this point, Ozy is interesting because it's new, but i wonder if, over the long haul, they'll be valuable because they've got a voice that matters in the conversation. Brands should be considering the same challenges.