Keith Kawasaki on the Longevity of Print

gx-magazineMr. Magazine tells a great story about how the Army National Guard’s magazine came into being – a mom of a soldier asked for a printed copy of an article off their new website back in 2004 —  and the magazine continues to evolve and engage.

That was more than 10 years ago, yet even as digital communication has burgeoned, GX The Guard Experience remains a core element in the organization’s communications efforts. In this digital age, what gives print its staying power? To answer that question, Juliet Stott interviewed Keith Kawasaki, VP of the agency that publishes the magazine.

“The magazines that still have value are the ones that have authentic, exclusive content that is worth people’s time,” Kawasaki explains.

“You see a lot of magazines come and go, but it’s the quality product—whether it’s the paper stock, the finishes, the design and, of course, the content—that leaves a lasting impression. A print product, in order to be successful, has to be a luxury product. You have to create an experience. If you make it a great experience, you’re then creating a magnetic experience—something that’s going to bring people back and bring people together in a meaningful way.”

Especially important to GX is the way the magazine can bring people together across far distances.

“The Army National Guard is spread out over 3,500 communities across the United States. In some states, like Montana, people could be hundreds of miles from their drill location that they go to one weekend a month. By delivering GX directly to their homes, you bring these communities together and keep them engaged with the Army National Guard experience.”

“The soldiers then share the magazine with their families and their employers, which is very important, and all of a sudden these people have an understanding about what the Guard experience is, too,” Kawasaki continues.

“The Army National Guard has a couple hundred thousand soldiers and they want to ensure that those soldiers understand and appreciate the benefits of service,” Kawasaki explains. “So they target key ranks to ensure they stay engaged. But we’ve also found it to be a very effective recruiting tool. If someone is on the fence about whether or not they understand or want to be part of the Guard experience, recruiters will often share GX magazine with them, as it gives them a really authentic look.”

It’s this authenticity and ability to connect that serves this magazine so well.