Making a statement
Magazines can be a powerful way for individuals to build, reinforce and boost their status. A title can both provide readers with personal esteem as well as make a public statement about the reader’s position in the world.
This is particularly important as communities and society become less geographically based, are increasingly built around common niche interests in the wider global village and individuals make their way in a disparate, anonymous world.
Core magazine readers tend to be a bit more status-conscious than average. They are, for instance, more likely than other media enthusiasts to seek approval, particularly from family and peers. Today, personal skills, interests and occupations are far more prominent than traditional social signifiers such as region, religion or politics.
Readers are provided with an expressive value – which contributes strongly to the title’s brand strength. On the train, in the bar or at the beach, your choice of magazine can say a lot about who are or aspire to be.
Publishers providing readers with these sorts of status values go a long way to engaging them more fully with the title.
Delivering them can be done in different ways:
A magazine makes a statement – and so ensuring readers want to be seen with a title is crucial. After all, a magazine is a bit like a designer label or a brand logo. Appropriate design and production values and a strong cover help to encourage the reader to carry and display the title out on the street, in their car or on the coffee table. Business and professional titles which enhance the image of a reception area, boardroom or brief-case do a similar job. Verbal badging is vital too. Status is conveyed powerfully by letting others know what you read, indicating the importance of authoritative – and readily quotable – editorial.
Making readers feel they are sharing in expertise or specialist knowledge is vital in helping them sense they are gaining an edge in personal skills, interests and at work. Business publications have great scope to respond to their readers’ status needs, creating a sense of shared experience, belonging and prestige. Being up-to-date with industry news is vital for informal networking and gossip – and for the perceptions of others.
Helping readers feel they are unique or special gives them much-needed confidence, perceived importance and status. It helps individuals elevate themselves from others and gives them a sense of belonging within an exclusive club. Everything from reader-offers to reader clubs can be employed to indicate this exclusive positioning and differentiation.
Readers’ status requirements are reinforced through appropriate quality and specialist advertiser and sponsor involvement in the title. Magazines – and their readers – are judged by the company they keep.