One of the most disrupted industries in the last 10 years is the newspaper media. Newspapers have always had a certain sophistication, history, and nostalgia associated with them. This makes it particularly hard to observe their disappearance. Of the newspaper industry’s most recognizable brands, the New York Times is one that brings an additional layer of style that makes so many of us never want to let go.
At the same time, even I, a New York Times devotee, have to admit that my interaction with the famous brand has changed. While I used to subscribe to the New York Times in 2009 and 2010, today I am a digital subscriber. Although I love the idea of the newspaper, even I stopped buying it. Although I married a man who reads the New York Times (it was one of the requirements), I am not reading the digital subscription nearly as often as I used to read the paper itself, in college.
Because of my personal affinity with the paper, I was even more happy to read that the Times’ overall digital business is growing faster than Google and that the annual growth of new online subscriptions is averaging 46% since 2011.
Now that is a noteworthy shift that not many “old school” and “traditional” businesses are able to execute.
How was the Times able to do this? By being bold and building a strategy in 2015 that they are executing flawlessly today. The Times did not wait to fade into oblivion before it chose to re-channel itself. Since April 24th, 2017, the news outlet added the millennial channel to their portfolio by joining Discover on Snapchat. This shift is arguably the most digital signaling a news brand can give to tell its customers, “I am where you are. I have not changed my core value proposition of reliable, credible news delivery. I have just adapted to the times (no pun intended) and I am doing it in a different way.”
For a brand to do what The New York Times is doing it needs courageous leaders. It needs leaders who are able to know exactly what they are selling and who are able to recognize, in time, that their customer has changed. The New York Times has earned its position in our CX Bold Moves Series for doing all of this and not having an identity crisis.
We see brands in such crisis every day. Brands that are holding on to the image of their past customer or who are so afraid of change that they say they say they are investing in a digital transformation, but all they do is hire a Digital Transformation Director with no support infrastructure around the role.
46% average annual growth only happens when an organization is focused on that goal and when leadership and funding are appropriately allocated to this big, bold, transformational move. The New York Times clearly has that focus and courage. Do you?