There’s been a fair bit of carnage in the local business and trade press in recent years, with The Independent closing, Fairfax flicking on a few of its titles and moving Unlimited online, and Mediaweb seemingly hanging on for dear life at present. But Vincent Heeringa, publisher of Idealog and NZ Marketing, is hoping to fill what he thinks is fairly large information void with The Briefing, a membership-style media offering aimed at leaders from the C-Suite "who share the determination to transform their business in a world of radical change".
More than one year in the making, The Briefing is a brand extension of Idealog and is sponsored by AUT and ASB. Heeringa says Idealog, which was launched at the height of the recession in conjunction AUT, has been a success and has established itself as an important voice in the country's growing creative, entrepreneurial, start-up economy. But it hasn’t quite become essential reading at the top table, a space that is largely occupied by the NBR, The Economist and various foreign titles focused on management and strategy. So The Briefing, which is centred around a quarterly, bespoke research report delivered at an invitation-only breakfast, plus a research document and a password-protected website, is an attempt to talk to that audience.
“In the UK they have the Economist Intelligence Unit. In the USA they have the Harvard Business Review. In New Zealand we have almost nothing that's designed to equip business leaders with intelligence and advice for managing change," he says. "The Briefing has been conceived to fill that gap. At Idealog we see the effects of transformational change on business. There's a strong need for someone to help chief executives understand the change and help communicate it to their executive teams.”
The Briefing is being chaired by AUT’s vice chancellor Derek McCormack, who heads up an advisory board made up of ASB’s chief executive Barbara Chapman, Dr Jane Cherrington from String Theory, Professor Ian Shirley from AUT and Image Centre’s Roger MacDonnell and Mike Hutcheson. Susan Parkinson is managing the project.
At this early stage, Heeringa says the main target for the executive network is New Zealand-owned, high-growth, export-oriented companies with a turnover of more than $40 million that have IP at the centre of their business, whether that be a brand or a piece of technology. And, based on research, he says there are around 500 companies fitting that description in New Zealand. “Paper-sliders”, as Hutcheson calls them, or services businesses such as accountants, lawyers and ad agencies, are not part of the core audience and it will be an invite-only approach when it comes to politicians.
“We believe our senior New Zealand business leaders need support looking outward of the business in order to navigate transformational change from within,” says Heeringa. “We provide insights, case studies, tools and resources on economic, political and social issues that need to be considered within corporate strategies.”
Membership will cost $5,000 (check out what you get for your dosh and join here) and, while that’s obviously quite a step up from a magazine subscription, Heeringa is confident the benefits are substantial enough to warrant that amount and, as evidenced by the relative success of paid-for business news online and the rise of the consultancy here and around the world, he says businesses are obviously willing to spend some cash if the information helps them adapt and prosper.
All going to plan, he thinks there is a chance to offer bespoke consultancy services to individual members of The Briefing and focus on important business sectors with industry-specific research.
The branding and website was designed by Image Centre Group. And the first quarterly briefing will be ‘Mapping Digital Disruption in New Zealand: Who’s Benefitting and How?'
- StopPress is part of the Image Centre Group.