10 Lessons On Building A Media Business, From 10 Years of Monocle

Rafat Ali
Rafat Ali
Feb 26, 2017 · 2 min read
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I have been a big fan of Monocle for years now, and as it turns 10 years old, it deserves a bigger place in the annals of successful media companies than it has been given credit by the media class that follow such things.

Everything I have learned about media branding is in large part from Monocle, and its sensibility around its packaging, electicness, and contrarianism.

As one of its biggest fanboys, I have observed it as closely as an outsider can, and below have jotted down 10 lessons I have learned from it, many of which I have incorporated into my own decade+ of media entrepreneur career and still implementing it.

  1. Always, always do your own thing.
  2. Strategically deployed packaged media works with a start and a finish — finite media — in print, in audio,in retail, in person.
  3. Surety in your timelessness with no existential worries. They fully believe the package will remain the same 10 years from now, as it has for the last 10 years.
  4. Being obsessed with design details matters. A dense visual identity and language matters.
  5. It really doesn’t matter what media insidery snobs think of you. Mediatype’s perception of Tyler Brule has had no bearing on what Monocle has become.
  6. Editorial has to be integrated with advertising, as long as it is clear lot of effort and care has gone into producing both. And readers don’t care what the critics think.
  7. Your core group of users will reward you with more money than you would assume going in. If you charge more, they will actually like you more.
  8. Being global and eclectic, and telling people about the places they’ve never heard of or may never go to — and taking them inside by real reporting — really works well even in the age of instant-availability of everything everywhere.
  9. Oldschool gum-shoe hustling by the founders, editors and sales works. Traveling to meet your readers and clients works, as Tyler’s travel schedule can attest.
  10. Media brand extensions are not as hard as you think, if you know what your core is.

Rafat Ali

Written by

Rafat Ali

CEO/Founder, Skift, travel intelligence startup. Founder, paidContent. New Yorker, Global Soul. http://about.me/rafat My travel pics: http://rafat.500px.com

Rafat Ali

Written by

Rafat Ali

CEO/Founder, Skift, travel intelligence startup. Founder, paidContent. New Yorker, Global Soul. http://about.me/rafat My travel pics: http://rafat.500px.com

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