I looked at this from the back so I said like the dr. evil chair and it really does feel like that now I was sitting in it um mr. in the morning on me good morning everybody and so we’re here to talk to you today about the reinvention of media brands in the digital space and and so I’m going to kick things off by asking Charles and talk just very briefly about how Forbes life has done that and taken what was a well established brand and grown it in digital world sure so good morning um my remit is across all of Forbes media’s platforms but in the last four or five years our business has undergone a significant transformation we’ve had a complete business DNA overhaul of the brand and that’s partly because of the huge shifts in media consumption habits of the target audience it’s fueled by social media it’s fueled by mobile and it’s also fueled by the fact that we recognized that the economics behind journalism or the economics behind web publishing are fundamentally broken so we we had a significant transformation in our business we made for big changes that have contributed to quite a lot of disruption within the traditional media set and the first thing we did was we allowed outside contributors to use the same content management system that our everyday journalist staff editors use on a day-to-day basis that meant our newsroom has grown very very aggressively from to now what’s almost probably just short of 2,000 people and the second thing we did we we gave them access to the same system but we also changed the compensation model on how we pay contributors the traditional model is on a bye how many words or a tenancy fee we pay contributors by how many followers they have the larger the audience their tractor forbes.com the more money they get paid and then finally and more in under Maya sort of wheel so to speak is the commercial side of the business we completely turn that upside down on its head and we invited marketers for a fee to connect directly with our audience and that’s our native advertising play and that’s a product called brand voice and it’s those are the sort of the overarching changes that we’ve made to the business in the last five years and it’s meant we’ve built a unique scalable model and and digital blazer a hugely important part of that success camacho us very quickly when you’re speaking to advertisers are they asking for your overall readership and do you do you lump your print and digital together and your followers or you are still talking to advertisers in a slightly different way separating those audiences out I mean its case by case let’s say the commercial or that the sales teams around the world are responsible for articulating the full story across every single platform so be that programmatic digital display offline in events and magazines so in an ideal situation we naturally want our clients to be buying us integrated cross media platform deals but there’s naturally some instances where some advertisers are only interested in the Digital side or very interested in the magazine side okay so Carla coming to you you’ve got three people with almost the same name on the stage this afternoon so your head of audience development actually have a very lofty job title let you and let you give that and backgrounds as a journalist so have you personally seen your transition your media brand arguably in the last few years change so as an individual I would say that we certainly have seen journalists really needing to really refine their own brands and represent the brand of wherever they’re working and one of the things that we’ve done at the turn is really bringing in quite a bit of the learnings from our business partners in the past there was this very strong wall dividing us but but there was quite a bit of knowledge from both sides and my role which is a brand new role at the journal really bridges that gap so it’s looking at audience engagement looking at audience development newsroom analytics and figuring out new platforms for us to expand out to I was thinking about what we were going to discuss today and thinking that I wouldn’t really say that we have rebranded ourselves The Wall Street Journal actually has taken an approach of doubling down on what we know were really good at okay so you haven’t so much reinvented the brand has extended it extended it exactly so so the wall

street journal will be celebrating 126 years next year and and we understand that our core areas of business technology finance with the elements that really helped someone attain success in their lives yeah so that might be talking about luxury that might be our mansion section you know what what is it that somebody aspirational is is really responding to or entrepreneurial so we’re always focusing around that and figuring out what are the different spaces where we can really be active with those people who we know we have something in common with and that we can provide value to and it’s ooh is that sort of up the DNA of the brand I mean you’re talking about luxury and things like that actually Charles you can probably talk in detail about that but it’s about keeping that DNA whatever platform you might be on and I mean one of the things I can tell you it’s certainly keeping that DNA but also understanding how different consumers are consuming content right so you know the Wall Street Journal just 10 years ago didn’t even have images on the front page of the newspaper in 2007 we we had no images it was just printed words there was a website that had launched in 1996 it was actually the first digital site for a legacy publication and and there was really a lot of work that needed to go into understanding how other people are communicating and really getting in touch with that reader my business partners call the readers customers the newsroom calls them readers and we’ve had to come together and understand that it’s really all about them that’s about the audience and figuring out where they are and finding the most authentic way for the journal to to be in those spaces and not cheap in the brand okay Charles what do you call your audience uses clients exactly the same but I definitely agree on the point that we have to get closer and closer to the audience’s agenda versus perhaps driving our agenda and so consequently that’s why we reinvented or reposition the business for shall we say an era of social journalism and that’s that’s what those changes in that model allowed us to do do you think it’s important for a new audience so thinking about potentially a younger audience or an audience outside of your core one to see you as a different brand or is it important for them to understand the heritage that comes with something like Forbes and I’m not sure whether or no it’s important for them to understand the Heritage I mean the decor although the core mission of what Forbes stands for that hasn’t changed that remains unwavering we write we write about entrepreneurial capitalism in terms of attracting a new audience well fifty percent of our audience comes to false calm through a mobile device forty percent of our audience is aged between 18 and 34 the next generation or the Millennial audience is absolutely critical and a vital part of our makeup and strategy and vision moving forward and incidentally probably Forbes is well known for the the famous rich list be at the billionaires list or the Forbes 400 richest Americans or the global 2000 and these lists scale and get an enormous amount of traffic online but the largest list event the largest social media event that we have under our umbrella is our 30 under 30 franchise 30 individuals under the age of 30 across about 20 categories and that’s started with a list in the magazine a list online is now a significant part of our conference business we just had an event in Philadelphia three weeks ago and we’re bringing that 30 under 30 franchise into Europe into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in April and Asia in the latter part of next year so that is a core component it is a total myth that BuzzFeed invented list force we do you be using it at me if I could just add something to it I think one of the things for for the journal is that we are we don’t really think about demographics in that way so we’re not looking at age or gender or demographics necessarily we’re looking at the psychographics right who has that success gene who is it that is is aspiring to something better and once they’ve achieved success how do they retain that and when you start thinking about things that way which I you know my my mother is a therapist this is something that comes very natural to me thinking about what really motivates someone what really drives them then we just clear away the age thing and and it’s much easier to stay committed to your brand and and who you are so my creative side loves that idea by having certain millions of meetings of

appetizers how do you translate that when someone is sitting there trying to I don’t know sell cereal but want of a better example and says we are targeting this audience we want this age group we want this gender how do you marry those two things so we’re really the way that we look at social journalism or or off platform publishing which I’m sure will we’ll discuss is is thinking through what audience is there and of course age group has a lot to do with it right so if we’re talking about the audience that is prevalent on facebook or on snapchat or whatever platform we’re looking at though that’s where we can really talk about being able to meet those needs from advertisers but I come from the newsroom and and the most important thing for my the KPI is that I’m trying to reach our that we make sure that no matter what platform were on we’re always speaking with the same degree of integrity and ethics and standards and and being creative in how we reach those different audiences but remembering that whether they’re 65 or or 25 that they’re ultimately driven by but something that they have in common kinds of sense of purpose Charles I just want to come back to what you saying that event so about four and a half years ago I launched the huffington post in the UK we didn’t have a huge marketing budget in fact we had zero marketing budget on day one and we had to grow a brand that was known with political circles it was known in media circles but not outside of that and actually one of the first things we did was throw real live events so for a pure digital brand we realized we needed to be out of just people’s computers and mobile devices so held events that we can create social traction around we could create content around but we could also bring the brand to life and for us as a digital-only brand we were learning from news brands and media brands they’ve been around for a long time can you see a a future do you think that that event space is important when you think about real or inventing brands absolutely and again again it’s figuring out ways to the marketers you know the events element gives the marketers another access point in terms of reaching these individuals on a face to face places obviously it’s a little bit different to what you what you’re doing there we have an established global footprint there’s 37 local languages we’ve been in the market for quite considerable time but also in a funny way though the success of Forbes internationally probably drills down more to the Digital side of the business than the print side of the business we have over 10 million unique users in Europe and the revenues are predominantly digital revenues out of this marketplace okay can I ask you both start with you califo we’ve talked to about our brands but what about other brands and not necessarily the media space that you think are really making the most of digital world to grow their brand footprint or to reinvent themselves when the two that I that I think of most often would be a J plus and n Fox to me they are not only digital natives in the sense of how they’re publishing but they truly understand the social journalism behind it mobile storytelling and they’re truly mobile first and and I think we throw around that term quite often and people aren’t necessarily doing that I just wanted to also just note something about events we launched something called wsj Plus which is a subscription only event mechanism where we really connect with our readers and and I think both in terms of growing the brand and and connecting with folks the engagement that you find when you’re able to connect with someone on social on the site in person is tremendous our the events go from posting you know a luxury concert very small intimate faced with you know Broadway celebrities all sorts of celebrities to inside the newsroom kind of events and I’ll tell you that the inside the newsroom events are one of the best attended events so there’s something that I think that people as much as we think that they’re they’re not apt to really connect and bond with a brand yep um they really are willing and hungry for it they want to see behind the curtain yeah and Charles come to you I’m not going to some sort of pick out a particular publisher me do know i’m going to switch it slightly too i think what’s interesting is the marketers that I work with we’re starting to see them be extremely successful in brand publishing or brand journalism probably the stand-up example

that I can relate to at Forbes is the German software company SI p who are phenomenal at publishing content on our site and in many instances actually on Forbes com you’ll see sometimes the actual brands the marketers are the most popular or have the most red pieces of content over and above the staffers and over and above the contributors so what I guess might from my take on my uncle what I’m saying is is seeing brands the market is themselves becoming because their insight and perspective you know that provides value to our audience and more and more that’s trending and tracking really well on Forbes can i connect us and so why do you think that is though if Trust is something that we need why would an audience be so open to reading something from a brand where they they possibly have an agenda that’s a good point I think trust and transparency is really important and actually there was a trust study that Forbes did that came out yesterday and the two brands and I’m not just saying this because I’m standing the two brands are the most trustfully in the business and financial space where the we’ll see gentleman Forbes however in terms of transparency on Forbes it’s clearly labeled as to who’s talking on what vantage point they’re coming from so if it says Carla contributor or Carlos staff writer or it says microsoft voice when it doesn’t work is when you start to blur the lines or if something ser is supported by or brought to you by or in association with the difference is we’re giving that brand access direct access to that same content management system and it is very very clearly labeled that that’s who’s talking and that’s their vantage point and the minute they go down the route of trying to sell a product or a service that’s an immediate turn off for the audience so let’s think of it it’s more of a thought leadership platform as opposed to selling a particular product I’m kind of smiling wryly here because having gone through those experiences with HuffPost and browns wanting to blog on the site and those who just were trying to force a message and just didn’t work didn’t work at all and yet some of them the clever ones the market is who I think really understood content and content marketing such an old fashioned phrase but it it’s actually the right one in this instance they’ve worked how to do that fret the more and more they do it the more and more data and analytics that they that they take on board they start to learn how to publish for the audience so you start to learn how to write for the LinkedIn audience versus the Twitter audience how you position your headline where you put an infographic in where you put a video in and as you it’s not something you’re just going to get in a month’s time these guys have actually been publishing on force for five years but they’re the standout example of success in browser I’m gonna sign up WGSN I think this afternoon that’s the fourth network ok one last thought from both of you Millennials we haven’t used that word yet but but given your talking about the audience you want in the future how are you gonna try and reach them and get more of them interacting with your brand’s Carla I mean that so it goes back to what I’ve been describing its it’s making sure that we’re speaking with that same authenticity that we’re talking about with different brands I think Millennials are and I hate speaking in general terms like this but the generation is is incredibly savvy they understand the inner workings of marketing they they use marketing tools themselves to brand their presence on social media and so it’s really about making sure that we’re not just the old man who’s trying to tell young jokes at a party I’m very aware of that and and really making sure that we are everywhere where they are so that we were speaking a few moments before hand it may not be that we connect with them at this point but introducing them to the wall street journal and saying to them you don’t need to wait until you’ve succeeded and you’ve gotten that c-suite job you can start right now and this is a tool that’s going to help you move up that ladder and and really the other thing that I would say is using social media or different platforms or different storytelling methods whether it’s video or visual journalism and really using that as almost a storefront we’re we’re we’re attracting folks at whatever age to the deeper content that that we host on our site or on those different platforms introducing them Chelsea grievable base points absolutely i knows the clocks counting the other way so I’ll be really quick I think a really interesting development that we’ve made is is a 30 under 30 app and the people on the app are purely on the list so it’s for us is thinking more and more about communities so it’s about the

right audience for the advertiser targeting the right people so we have an appt with 1,500 people there 30 under 30 will extend that geographically and then this week we’ve also launched a specific 30 under 30 channel on forbes.com so okay interest thank you very much both of you thank you thank you