We’ve spent the last ten years helping media organisation of all types and sizes around the world to really change the way they think about what they do and use the strength of their brands to go forwards, exploit existing and explore new products and markets.
We see newsroom not as a room with desk, chairs and fancy screens in it. It is a mind set, a philosophy, a new way to do things differently. It is a set of goals, skills, workflows and technology which are put in place to identify audiences, create new formats and lead to new products that those audiences want – and are prepared to pay for.
A newsroom is the common foundation for all of those things and newsroom transformation is the path to a strong brand identity, new audiences and new revenues.
We believe in understanding and targeting the audience and customers based on lifestyle and attitudes rather than just by demographics. We work with the international market research company SINUS-Integral on understanding audiences and audience clusters, identifying the brand epicenter and the areas for potential market growth.
Traditional publishing is still wedded to the idea of the article as the absolute building block of content. We believe that customers don’t think in terms single articles or stories, but rather in themes and topics. A product approach centered on themes makes it possible to create an array of products based on known customer interests.
Understanding a media company as a brand, and not as a single product means we can identify new sources for revenues through differentiation and product extensions – without compromising the brand values.
We use concepts such as the Product Wheels© or the Communities Of Interest (CoI©) to create a portfolio of customer-focused, interest-based products and services. Multiple touch points help the brand accompany the user at different times and in different places.
We also see digital paid content as integral to the brand strategy of any media company. The “Paid-Content-Potential” (PCP) Factor, which represents customer interests, life style and perceived competence of a brand, helps to identify content and service areas to focus on (as well as areas where efforts can be safely reduced).
We are in no doubt that successful digital transition only happens if all editorial workflows are rethought from the ground up. Bolting on new processes and structures onto existing ones only leads to problems further down the line (see the 7 Pitfalls of Digital Transformation for more).
For digital platforms to meet their goals we use the concept of “media touchpoints” to make sure that the editorial workflows fit the ways customers want to consume media.
As part of that effective editorial planning is crucial to ensure the journalistic quality on multiple digital and print platforms. A sophisticated planning process allows room for creative and flexible responses to innovative ways of covering breaking news, background, analysis and “evergreen” stories.
Digital transformation doesn’t mean disregarding print media. On the contrary; modern workflows which embrace digital platforms, clever planning and new ways to reach editorial decisions, will also boost the quality and appeal also of traditional media platforms.
Any innovative concept and strategy is only as good as the people who will put it practice. Digital media mean new demands on staff and management alike. It is critical to ensure everyone understands the strategy and has the skills to implement it.
To bring staff skills up to speed and encourage individual excellence we have developed the “5P-Personal Plan”©. Based on the balanced development of five competence areas the program ensures that the skills in the company are both appropriate to and aligned with the new strategies and structures.
For editorial staff and executives we offer bespoke workshops, training and coaching programs for digital and cross-media journalism skills, video production and newsroom management. In the past years over 500 journalists from media houses across Europe and Asia have visited our training and coaching programs.
For executives we also provide bespoke leadership programs on all management levels.
Architecture and technology
Organisation, structure and staff skills alone are not enough. They need support in the form of the right environment, the right tools and the right systems if a publisher is to get the most from any new media and business strategy.
We have designed over a dozen newsrooms over the past decade, many of them in existing buildings with space restrictions, some from scratch in new buildings.
In every case we followed the mantra of “design follows strategy”. Working with experienced architects allows us to create working environments that are able to balance practicality, modern design, and a comfortable working space where staff like to be.
In order to support new workflows and processes we work on the technology side with our clients on the definition, development and/or evaluation of suitable planning and production tools and systems for digital, video and print content.