A Dying Identity for Hearst Magazines?


Have you read any Hearst titles lately? You probably have; Cosmopolitan, Town & Country, and Popular Mechanics are just three. It would seem that this magazine conglomerate has success in spades, but they like so many print magazine owners are seeing readerships fall almost by the day. The fact is, most of us are getting our news and lifestyle tips from the good old internet, which has had a disastrous effect on the paper print industry.

Hearst Magazine’s response has been to create a new website, at my.hearstmagazines.com, where people can flip through and read all of the company’s magazines. Wow! If you are a magazine reader, this is quite a jackpot. The company is also publicizing their magazines through an ‘Unbound’ campaign.

It is rare that we see media conglomerates run marketing campaigns. Sure, you might see advertising for one of their brands, but not for the conglomerate itself. After all, once a company gets to a certain size, the market is saturated with their products enough that it is almost impossible to forget about them.

On the other hand, this may be the marketing wave of the future. Hearst Magazines is not a household name the way their magazines are. If they want to maintain their position as one of the largest magazine and media companies on the globe, they will need to keep customers buying magazines. A marketing campaign might be just the way to accomplish this.

Several ads are being run for various Hearst magazines that include QR codes and other invitations to the new website. The new campaign is called Unbound because it is placing new emphasis on the digital versions of their magazines. At the website, viewers can choose to view the magazine’s content on the magazine’s website or to download versions for a variety of readers, or even to subscribe to the paper version. The unbound certainly refers to the many digital ways of accessing the magazines, although paper versions are still available and will likely remain the most popular choices for a while.

The media company is also planning new ways of getting their brand and logo design into the public eye. While there was a time when magazines were presented as independent entities, with their owners staying far in the background, media companies now seem eager to present their magazines as part of a product ‘family’. This is an interesting change in the industry.

Adapting to digital media, and ensuring that your customers know about modern, digital options that you offer, is one of the huge challenges facing many companies, including this one. Hearst Magazines is busily working on presenting a variety of options for their tech-savvy readers. Tablets, smartphones, and e-readers are all viable ways of accessing the magazines’ content, and the company is working on newer options including different ecommerce components. A spokesperson for Hearst Media recently stated that the company plans to be around for generations, and this seems like a possibility given their willingness to adapt to change.