What do you get when two iconic publishing brands – National Geographic and the Wall Street Journal – decide to collaborate on a new print title? You get the new magazine Far & Away, a luxury business travel publication that showcases the best of both brands.
“The collaboration between the two, who are owned by the same company, began with a discussion of ways to create a publication that would bring together the visual storytelling of National Geographic and the global business reporting of The Wall Street Journal,” explains Jessica Patterson in FIPP.
As NatGeo’s editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg explains, “[WSJ’s] Gerry (Baker) and I and our respective teams started kicking around ideas and finally settled on Far & Away — a title that showcases the best of two great brands, in service of business travelers.”
This isn’t the first big idea that Goldberg has brought to the NatGeo brand. Three years ago she was quoted as saying that closed doors won’t work anymore, as she retooled the way her team interacts in the cross-channel space. Now, she’s opening doors not just across the office but across brands as well.
“The magazine will report on cultural experiences, essential travel strategies, and insider intelligence for business trips,” Patterson reports. “It features intelligent adventure and urban discovery for a selective audience of global travellers who are as curious as they are adventurous and give them the tools to combine business and leisure trips into one. Far & Away will also include digital content and promotion across National Geographic Travel’s social platforms.”
What’s so compelling about this is the commitment these two brands have to their target audience — the upscale business traveler who seeks adventure and discovery while they are on the road. The genius behind the final product is how well it showcases the strengths of each brand, while delivering on the promise.
“Visual storytelling is our DNA,” Goldberg said. “We bring National Geographic photographers, feature writers, magazine designers and — above all — a passion for exploration and cultural engagement.”
The Wall Street Journal provides global insights and information made possible by their team around the world.
“We all grew up loving National Geographic as a portal into a world of gorgeous photography and adventure,” said WSJ’s senior editor for Features and WSJ Weekend. “Now as journalists, my WSJ colleagues and I have huge respect for the Nat Geo team’s mastery of visual storytelling and journalism — to deploy photos, maps and drawings — not to mention words — into beautiful and useful and high-impact magazine stories.”
It wasn’t easy putting their collective heads together, as Goldberg explains.
“I would not say that every single decision had to be made twice, but especially for the first issue, we had to work hard at communication and collaboration across two established brands,” she explains. “Then, our business sides had to introduce the concept to the market and get the traction needed to make our launch a success. Issue number two should be a lot easier.”
Easy or not, it was clearly worthwhile, and both teams report the collaboration has been harmonious and even “delightful.”
As publishers embrace the audience-first mantra, magical things like this collaboration become possible. Walls break down, new ideas take form, and the publishing world raises the bar one notch higher.
Well done, NatGeo and WSJ. This is a fantastic magazine.