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30 November 2008
AmEx treats
journos to a
World view
taste of the
The Economist has moved beyond the elitism of the eighties and is all about
getting inclusive, says brand communications manager Charlotte Smith
high life
Q: The Economist Group recently that anybody who enjoys a good read
opened its first Middle East office. would enjoy The Economist .
How’s it going here? But there is that perception, still. And
A: The office is part of a worldwide we also have a challenge with the name.
initiative that’s seen a move from
the Economist businesses being Q: People think it’s purely about eco-
separate—the conferences, the intel- nomics?
ligence unit, and the newspaper—to A: Exactly. So the message to our
being The Economist Group. So now consumers now, everywhere, is that
we can offer our customers a whole you may think it’s not for you, but if
range of products, not just the news- you actually try it you’ll be pleasantly
paper. That’s the idea behind it. And surprised. What we’ve done in other
the Middle East office was the first one markets outside the UK is to focus on
to open as The Economist Group. It’s correcting any negative perceptions,
a really exciting opportunity and we but also on product education. From
WHILE MOST companies are belt-tightening,
expect it to grow significantly. the very beginning, our overseas cam-
it’s good to know there are others out there
paigns have explained that The Econ-
still stoking the gravy train. Leading the
Q: The Middle East print market is no- omist is more than just economics.
charge recently was American Express,
toriously crowded and—worldwide—
which hosted ‘Perfect to a Tea with Chef
there’s a marked downturn in the Q: What’s the benefit of The Econo-
James Martin’ as part of the Festival of Taste.
fortune of print titles. Is this really the mist for advertisers?
The Burj Al Arab and the word ‘taste’ are
time to be expanding? A: Our audience. They’re affluent,
not often used in the same sentence, but
A: When you look at the print market they’re educated. Wherever they are
the world’s “only seven-star hotel” hosted
around the world, a lot of business in the world—whether they’re 25 or
this seven-course afternoon tea, with the
titles are struggling. There’s a clear 45—they’re looking for opportunities
British celebrity chef preparing the treats.
downward trend. But among our to satisfy their curiosity. Of course,
American Express pulled off this lavish
audience—people who operate in the call them ‘Ideas People’. The Economist is not the only way to
extravagance with a subtle mastery.
knowledge and ideas economy—the But we’re very careful when it comes talk to these people, but they do turn to it
opposite is true. We’re selling over 1.3 to local media and markets that we de- to fuel their minds. They’re people who
It’s a version of
million copies a week globally, and the rive insights and get data from that mar- want analysis and ideas. Not just what’s
circulation’s still growing. ket and use it to develop our commu- happening around the world, but why
marketing that Media nications plan so that it resonates. And it’s happening.
Week would always be
Q: How are you going to brand The that’s key to our strategy. We absolutely It’s fascinating when you get into how
Economist here? believe that local insight is key to build- people read it. The Economist —at least
keen to experience, but
A: We’re currently building the brand ing a brand anywhere in the world. the print version—is not where you get
our credit rating may
strategy for the Middle East, so it’s a bit your headlines and take a quick break.
be on the wrong side of
sensitive at the moment. We have re- Q: Is there an element of elitism in The It is something you savour. It’s more of
gional strategies for every market. But Economist’s branding? a weekend read. Everyone has their own
acceptable. the global strategy is to position The A: I would agree that—in the past, with little ways of enjoying it. Where they take
Economist as a must-read for smart and the famous UK campaign from Abbott it, all that kind of thing.
Media Week was expecting hordes of
curious people around the world. The Mead Vickers in the 1980s—there’s cer-
big-spending Amex card-holders wolfing
core message is pretty simple. And the tainly been an element of ‘belonging to Q: What’s the most interesting place
down complimentary amuse bouche. But it
reason for that is that we see great com- the The Economist club’. Being clever people have said they read it?
seems that in order to create the impres-
monness in our audience, whether in enough to be in the club. But the strategy A: I think the bath is one of them. I
sion that you are the card of choice for
Dubai, Denmark or Denver. We believe has moved on a long way, and the idea like that one. Although I think maybe
the discerning, the discerning shouldn’t
our readers—or potential readers—are behind the campaigns you see in the UK they’re being polite, and they actually
be allowed to mingle with the riffraff—like
very similar, wherever they are. And we these days—especially the last two—is mean the toilet.
journalists. Maybe we just missed them,
distracted by the beef: medium rare, cooked
to perfection, and carved by Martin, who
was last seen in the UK taking part in a TV
John Ross
contest for ballroom dancers. Either way,
it was enough to give us a taste for the mys-
General manager
terious lifestyles of the ‘other half’. OKI Printing Solutions
In the many varied forms of marketing,
from unusual direct mailings to the aston-
Give us five words that summarise how onstrate the number of things you can
ishingly intrusive Etisalat SMS ads, success
you hope you’re viewed by your staff. do with a printer that maybe you didn’t
is not always about reaching as many
Fair, humorous, leader, Scottish, succinct. think you could. If you just want to send
people as possible. Amex showed this to be
out a few leaflets or whatever, you can do
true associating itself with quality food in a
Which should be outlawed first in tech it yourself, in-house. Instead of having to
salubrious, quiet environment. It’s a version
advertising, the product shot or the go and buy 500 of them and end up with
of marketing that Media Week would always
happy consumer shot? 485 in the bin.
be keen to experience, but our credit rating
Personally, I’d say the consumer shot. Also, there’s the green issue. People
may be on the wrong side of acceptable.
People are buying a product, not a life- now have the dream of having a greener
An Amex representative said the credit
style. And the happy consumer shot— office and a greener environment. Our
provider has jettisoned all card-holders
without being too controversial—tends technology, generally, is digital light
with poor credit ratings to focus on those
to belie the truth. emitting diodes, rather than analogue la-
that turn left on the overnight flight to New
sers, and consumes a lot less electricity. our drivers for about 12 years. It allows
York. Maybe it’s a decision that will help the
OKI’s brand statement is “Open up And one of our competitors has been you to be environmentally friendly, but
company survive the crunch as they try to
your dreams”. How might a printer running a lot of campaigns recently still achieve what you want to achieve.
attract more top-end clientele in Dubai’s
help me do that? about how you can print less and save All of that ties in with the statement
finest hotel. After all, if luxury teas can’t
We have a kind of ‘sub-statement’ under more money by printing two or three by allowing you to achieve your aspira-
solve the financial crisis, what can?
that: ‘Look what you can do. S’ o we dem- pages on one page. We’ve had all this in tions, or however you want to put it.
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