The Obvious eReader Market Opportunity
Where Is Everybody?

Sorting Out the Cesspool with Brands

Coca cola Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said the following to a gathering of magazine executives: "Brands are the solution, not the problem.  Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."

You don't have to be a genius to realize that brands are every bit as important in the online world as they are in the physical/print world.  I don't disagree with what Schmidt has to say, but I think he neglected to make a very important point: Fresh, new online brands can be created in record time and that's a critical difference from the print world.  For example, I read Time magazine (on my Kindle) but I never go to  I also still have a print subscription to Fast Company magazine but I never go to their website either.  It's tough to admit but in a customer's mind sometimes a brand only means "print" or "online", but not both.

I'm assuming the meeting's attendees included representation from all of the major magazine brands. And while each of those brands have significant equity in both print and online any one of them could easily be toppled with the a slightly different mix of content or community engagement, for example.

The key isn't just that brands are important, as any Marketing 101 student already knows.  What's critical is figuring out (a) how (and even if!) your print brand can also be an engaging online brand and (b) how to continuously reinvest in that brand to stay ahead of the rapidly evolving online competitors and upstarts.  It's foolish to assume that your well-known print brand will automatically draw loads of interest online.


Bob Meade

I just thought I'd mention that I sometimes visit but never read the current issue magazine in any format. I go to the website to research historical events and people via their complete archives online (for free).

That's also the most common reason I visit the New York Times online - to search their archives for historical research. Although I do browse the rest of the current online issue NYT from time to time.

Although perhaps a minority interest, archival research is something that is vest done via these online portals. You can't just pick up a 1929 issue of Time at your local.

I don't have an e-reader like Kindle - but you're starting to make me think they are worthwhile.

Michael A. Banks

More readers than some folks think rely on the brand names of book publishers--online and off--to sort out what's worthwhile. Without them, many books would flounder, and more dreck prosper.

Now and then, brands drag down the products. Look at Ford: they look stupid for going with the big roaring big vehicles, and to me and a number of other car-owners "Ford" means "Fix or Repair Daily" and "Blown Transmissions." Especially "Blown Transmissions. (I once worked in one of their major transmission plants.)

The comments to this entry are closed.