The ubiquitous newspaper outside nearly every hotel room door, USA Today is in the midst of a radical makeover. The aim? To reinvent itself as a national news brands, viable on several platforms, while continuing a solid presence in print.
The news comes via Brian Morrissey of Digiday, who covered publisher Larry Kramer’s ideas at the Digiday Publishing Summit.
[responsive][/responsive]According to Kramer, the USA Today reinvention builds from their existing solid brand.
“They believed they had a great brand, an iconic brand. They wanted to see if they could preserve some of the values of that brand in being something other than just a newspaper. When I came into talk to them it was, ‘Can you save this brand and build a future for it?’ The plan is to reinvent it as a news brand on every platform,” Kramer said at the summit.
Why is print so important as the brand evolves into a multi-media company?
“Print is far better for discovery,” said Kramer. “The better digital gets at what you want the less able you are to discover something you never thought of. If you’re turning the pages of a paper or magazine or TV, you’re likely to see something you didn’t ask for, and it’s a big palette.”
He went on to relate that it’s all about story, with a thoughtful mix of national and local news that makes the experience more relevant and engaging. He criticizes the compulsion of digital publishers to write for the click, saying “You go there and you realize the story is not as sexy as the headline would make you think. If you do that enough, it sets you back. You can’t build a credible brand short term.”
As more print publishers expand into new media experience, it’s great to see them remember the importance of traditional media for brand awareness, discovery and credibility.