Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
17 July 2017
Time rebranding is fools gold with name change
News reports say there’s a Time rebranding effort afoot. And I think it’s fool’s gold to think that will make the company (and its magazines) more relevant.
Time is an iconic brand, founded in 1922 by Briton Hadden and the legendary Henry Luce. It owns its flagship publication, Time, plus Sports Illustrated, Southern Living, Entertainment Weekly and others. Why change the name now?
Publications of all stripes are struggling for relevancy (Maybe they need a rebranding company?). Nobody reads newspapers anymore with only a few making strides on the digital front. In fact, I’d say only The New York Times and The Washington Post are near where newspapers used to be.
“A Time rebranding effort doesn’t need to include a name change. But it does need a greater meaning than it has now.”
Magazines have become fully digital, as I subscribe to both Time and Sports Illustrated on my iPad. But they don’t create the buzz they used to because information appears instantly now. All the published pieces are either out of date by the time you read them or they are features and think pieces.
Here’s an example. The new Time issue features Donald Trump Jr. on the cover, with the headline: “Red Handed.” I was looking forward to reading it. Then, NBC News reports today that a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer also sat in on that infamous meeting.
Welp. There lessens the chances of me reading that cover story!
A Time rebranding project doesn’t need a name change. It needs more.
We tell clients all the time. Only consider a name change if it lacks positive brand equity. But most names have equity and are only the representations of the brand. They aren’t the brands themselves.
Therefore, we rarely recommend a name change. Instead, rebranding is so much more than that. It’s a new way of thinking that makes you more relevant to your target audiences. A rebrand seeps into everything you do. The new brand serves as the lighthouse for each action you take. If you’re about making things simple, for example. Then, that becomes your direction for everything.
A Time rebranding effort doesn’t need to include a name change. But it does need a greater meaning than it has now. One that is the most emotionally intense for its target audiences.
That’s what is important. Changing the name does nothing.
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