What heeds Brands from Becoming Publishers?
From it’s most long serving definition to one that holds a biased importance for advertisers, publishers have always been the vanguards of distributing information and innovation to the public. They are the platforms upon which hundreds, thousands, and even millions descend in its multitude of formats to imbibe and absorb — thoughts and ideas, words and motion, sounds and debates.
It’s impossible then for brands to assume that they can jump the line and get to where the most disruptive or the most historied publishers have gotten without doing the work and making it — publishing — their essence. And that’s because brands more often than not lose interest when people lose interest in them, when their old product lines hold no more value to be stocked, when their core performance in the real world comes from selling their goods and services and not what people say about it.
So how can brands really turn into publishers? Simply at first and harder still beyond that. They will have to separate their intentions like the boy who has been friend-zoned into believing that his purpose now is to be the long serving trustworthy compadre and not the ear nuzzling, hand-holding object of affection.
There was a time, often told with the same whiff of romanticism, when companies relied on a core ethos — a fundamental character or spirit of being. Companies that have stood the test of time or publishers that have waded through the sharp crests and falls of changing formats will often ping back to these beginnings and their journeys along it. Their stories and their character depends on the very embodiment of that spirit. And it is from this vein do they bleed their stories — all pertaining to the same ilk and all bearing their mark. Publishers were often differentiated because they valued commentary over definitive answers, perspectives over gavel-pounding affirmations and most importantly, curation over self-thumping adoration.
Brands must first, and I mean this with the deepest of my convictions understand what it means to write, record and showcase the world, their world, the worlds of others and their perspectives. And as people throng in and around these pieces ringed through a bead over time, they will find themselves giving in more to fulfilling the task of being a publisher than the task of being a brand.
This isn’t a communication strategy. And neither is it a distribution plan. Being a publisher requires brands to hang up their product and sales minded furs up on a rack and instead don a new coat. And if they can actually stick to this charade long enough, they may actually succeed at becoming a publisher. The consumer is now a reader. He knows that your logo in the beginning or end of videos has already tainted that message to some regard so unless a brand can truly step away from that in an objective manner, they will always look at it as the ear-nuzzling fling of the moment.