First, I want to offer my congratulations to Vanessa K. Bush, the newly named editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine. As a pillar of black media, Essence Magazine has a venerable and respected history. My hope is that Vanessa finds a way to effectively build Essence into a 21st century brand.
And that’s the challenge. Prior to her appointment, The New York Times looked at the publication’s identity problem. Specifically, there is a perception among younger African-American women that the publication is not for them. The article noted:
Briana Earl, a graduate student, says she does not read the magazine. “I felt that they spoke to my mom’s generation, older ladies in general in terms of who they are relating to,” Ms. Earl said, “but it’s not a magazine that I came to have a huge interest in.”
The publication’s digital strategy isn’t helping it reach younger readers. For example, you can’t access magazine content on the site, unlike publications such as New York Magazine or Fast Company, whose content can be accessed anywhere and through any channel. Point is, if your content doesn’t have a certain ubiquity, then it’s hard to make your brand matter in the mind of millennials. Or any digitally-savvy consumer, for that matter.
But, rather than prognosticate, I thought I’d open it up: What advice would you offer Vanessa Bush on rebuilding the Essence brand? Serious responses only, please. Drop it in the form below. I’ll do a roundup of the best responses.