The relentless march of technology – as well as the new ways of working it enables and the new tribes it has created – has often bred fear, distrust or simple apathy among the old guard. The next inevitability for that old guard, after some dying gasps, is often loss of influence, and the irredeemable fade into irrelevance.
But not all are destined to be led down this particular garden path. Take Private Eye, for example – the 55 year-old magazine whose unapologetic anti-digital strategy has defied the trend of falling print sales across the industry. At a time when publishers are trying desperately to address the issue of staying commercially viable while also staying relevant, Private Eye’s core belief in its product is refreshing.
Editor Ian Hislop, featured on the cover of the latest issue of The Drum, is resolute in his belief that quality content, like everything else, should be paid for. And this steadfast point of view has sustained the brand’s influence in a rapidly changing media landscape.
But while this approach may work for Private Eye, others in the media industry are under pressure to revolutionise their content strategies to survive and play a defining role in culture. It is this issue of culture – and influence – that we explore in this edition, asking how fashion industry stalwart Vogue, and other high-end publications like it, can remain relevant in an age of accessibility and democratisation.
Fuelled by social influencers and platforms such as Instagram which allow for quick and easy fashion inspiration, is the nature of cultural curation changing in fashion, and what does it mean for a brand like Vogue which has always relied on allure and exclusivity to maintain its position? In the age of collaboration where anyone can be a curator, how can publishers ensure they have a strong point of view?
We touch on influence elsewhere this issue – that is, the unconscious biases influencing our decisions and choices as marketers. You don’t think you’re biased? Well, while we all like to think we’re autonomous creatures guided by our own principles and beliefs, the brain is complex, and biases something it creates to make sense of the large amounts of information it has to process. It looks for patterns and establishes connections, and it makes assumptions.
Whether we realise it or not, these assumptions underpin our decision-making and can hamper inclusion efforts in the industry, as people hire based on their own image. And so, Daniele Fiandaca, co-founder of Token Man and Creative Social, catches up with industry leaders to asking them to share their unconscious bias score. And he finds that it is a complex issue with some who thought they were completely open-minded finding that they still harbour biases. The solution? Learn what they are, and take steps to address them if necessary. Awareness is just the first step to change.
It is this belief that we need to stay one step ahead that has helped inform The Drum’s next move. As of April our focus goes global, covering trends wherever they might arise, whether that be in our birthplace of Glasgow or as far afield as Greenwich, George Town, Georgia or Gunsan.
You’ll find us wherever technology fuses with creativity, and wherever the fourth industrial revolution impacts on everyday life. Stick with us and you won’t be left behind.