“I’m having lunch with a living media dinosaur,” writes Eric Reguly, European bureau chief for The Globe and Daily Metro.
“He should be extinct,” Reguly continues. “He believes in print and radio. He has no digital strategy to speak of, not even a Twitter account to market himself or his curiously tactile publications. He clutches his nearly extinct BlackBerry because he likes the feel of a real key-board – how quaint – not a glass touch-screen.”
Brûlé, as Reguly notes, is the founder and editor-in-chief of Monocle, and the genius behind the “pocket global publishing empire” that now includes a radio station and brick and mortar stores.
We’ve been following Brûlé’s career for a while now, including his staunch aversion to digital marketing. Reguly notes that Brûlé cringes when discussing the vast amounts of money that publishers are pouring into failed digital editions and social media. He stands firm that the secret to longevity in publishing is simple: charge for exclusive, quality reporting.
He’s quite simply a devotee of the tactile experience, and that quality shows in every part of his publication and his business empire.
“There is nothing ugly here,” wrote Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway after touring the Monocle offices. That aesthetic comes across in the magazine. There is nothing ugly, out of place or awkward – unless it is done intentionally to drive home the point.
And it resonates. Thanks to the success of Monocle and related businesses, he is considering launching an international weekly in 2018 – and he’s quite aware that he is bucking the trend in the magazine industry.
“I have been very happy for quite a while,” he tells Reguly. “Could we do with better margins, yes, but we get to do the journalism we want to do. I feel fortunate that we don’t have to report to a board that thinks it knows the future of media.”
Clearly his own vision of the future is compelling enough.