Sunday, January 06, 2008

Cover Reference Concept The Wall Street Journal Europe

I had a very interesting year end at the company. It all had to do with the fact I came up with an idea. I've learned the past years that ideas in a multinational have the least chance of survival if they come from inside, and from bottom up. In fact I now understand the tremendous value of using an advertising agency rather than enter the swampy stages of allowing ideas to come from inside (despite what multinationals put in their objectives about cultivating and growing ideas, thinking out of the box, creativity etc). But here I was, holding an idea in my hand, looking around for help in massaging the situation in such a way that the idea would have at least a minimal chance of survival.

The way the idea had to travel upwards, like a ball in a pinball machine bouncing from department to department sometimes gaining momentum, sometimes being cornered for a while, was so fascinating and educational it could easily illustrate some chapters in famous management books on creativity. The idea as such was not too far sought in our line of business. Instead of putting expensive stickers on our front-page for all newspapers going to four and five star hotels in Europe, I proposed to actually print a sponsor reference in the left margin of the front-page of our newspaper (hence the name "cover reference").

Since the "cover reference" is not printed on all copies but just on a specified amount of 15.000 copies every day, this requires a plate change in our most important printplants. Our production, technology and distribution department worked very hard in bringing the idea to life. I am glad to say that we succeeded in printing the cover reference on the front-page of our paper as of our first issue in 2008. We are still waiting for the final results after a few weeks of testing this life in the market, before we can say it is a new standard for our executive travel program sponsorship. But so far all signs indicate we are on track to be able to sell the cover reference in the future to new clients.

(picture: the cover reference, a sponsor tag on the front-page of The Wall Street Journal Europe printed only on a specified part of our total circulation)