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May 11, 2009

Well Said - great example of company-to-customer communication

Yes, the publishing world is in turmoil. Newspapers and magazines are folding, journalists are shuffling to different positions, and the fate of each print publication seems to be up for debate. I have been admittedly more thoughtful about my magazine subscription renewals after my devastation over losing Domino and Conde Nast’s unwelcome substitution of Glamour in its place, but have continued to renew everything because I really want them to succeed and because I value their content tremendously.

Last week’s issue of Newsweek was an emotional one, I was initially distressed about the departure of Anna Quindlen and then I noticed "Reinventing Newsweek" a piece about the future of Newsweek and upcoming changes to the magazine. Bad news fatigue instantly made me suspicious but I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised! The article was written by Kathleen Deveny and was a terrific example of a company-to-customer communication.

Deveny did several things really well including:
* acknowledged the reality of the changing publishing industry
* restated newsweeks commitment to quality and reporting with integrity
* outlined the redesign that is soon to be launched
* reported how the changes have been designed to mirror customer feedback (more of this, less of that)
* indicated the requisite changes that will accompany the redesign (i.e. higher price, a more targeted audience)

Despite the higher subscription price, I am so pleased with this article. It is a well-articulated business case, which is equal parts reactive and proactive, focused on value, and grounded in strategic decisions. Even if you don’t read or subscribe to Newsweek flag this article as a great example to follow! We have!

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