Ink’s Leslie Preaches Truth to the Industry

In times of massive change, those who innovate survive. Take Hearst Publishing, for example. Their culture was built on risk-taking and embracing new ideas and this attitude continues to serve them well.

Innovation abounds in the magazine industry, as technology disrupted the game and radically changed consumer behaviors. The fascinating part in all of this is the range of ways to innovate in this field, with no one-size model to follow and no pat answers.

“To be innovative, we can’t merely look and mimic what others have done before. The whole idea of blazing a new path is that there was no path there before,” writes Ink CEO Simon Leslie in LinkedIn. “Steve Jobs really hit the nail on the head when he said: ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower…’.”

Leslie shares the story of a recent awards banquet he attended, which was infused with talk of how “depressing and difficult” the media industry is at this time.

“When one of the biggest awards night in the magazine industry calendar is loudly caveated by just how depressing and difficult the media industry is right now, it feels like the already battered brows are taking another beating,” he writes. How disappointing on what is meant to be a night of celebration.”

His table took a decidedly different approach. They were celebrating four nominations and had just closed their best month ever.

“In my opinion, the industry needs to stop crying into its champagne glasses and start celebrating the fabulous medium of magazines, the opportunities they pose and find new and innovative ways to get to the huge audience and bustling markets,” he asserts.

Hear, hear.

Rather than join the boo-hoo chorus, Leslie and his team have decided not to play along. They believe in magazines and are building their future there.

“We don’t buy failure. We believe wholeheartedly in the excellence of magazines. And, most of all, we believe they play such an important role in people’s everyday lives. So, to the big media companies out there, you all need to stop allowing the debate to be so negative. We all need to join together, in strength, to talk to our strengths,” he writes.

This is a perfect time for publishers to open their doors to the big brands that are turning away from digital and returning to print. Advertisers are indeed waking up, and the industry needs to be prepared to receive them.

“So, my call is simple: Let’s be brave. Let’s be positive and let’s start innovating.”