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Seeing with New Eyes

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: December 6, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

It’s been quite a time the past few months. I feel the reassessment that this industry, like so many others, undertook throughout the past two years is finally bearing its fruit. The upward swing of financials is the clear measurable, but I think the palpable confidence in how to move forward and the excitement of new opportunities, both of which I’ve seen and heard at events I’ve attended this year, are what will propel the industry as a whole in 2011 and beyond. The nail-biting about the coming shifts in markets, shifting consumer behaviors and the shift to a new paradigm in media is gone. The shift is past tense—it’s shifted. And now we can embrace these changes. We do so with caution but not with fear.

GCI, too, has reassessed. It hasn’t always been easy, and to be honest, it’s the less enviable traits that made reassessment difficult—a touch of arrogance and a dash of pretense, for example, can blind one to areas of improvement. Our reassessment began in earnest with the redevelopment of the editorial calendar and a critical look at what we publish and why, as well as where. We also realized that this is a process that is never complete, and we are asking ourselves how we can become a better part of your conversations.

You may have already noticed a change to the cover scheme of GCI—in both presentation and purpose. A cross-brand team at Allured Business Media, our parent company, took on the task of developing a cover concept/strategy and identified ways to present GCI as an “entire experience.” The original intent was to introduce a new look with the first issue of 2011, but because of the groundwork our designers made during their breakout creative meeting, we were able to unveil our fresh face in November 2010 as executed by designer Hon Bannapradist. Steve Jones, the designer of GCI’s sister publication Skin Inc. magazine, took on the design challenge for this issue.

Additionally in 2011, GCI is going to a nine-issue plus directory calendar. With the natural ebb and flow of the industry, January and August are no longer single-month issues, so we combined January/February and July/August, and now the directory is officially the October issue. I’m happy to say the publication is very healthy, and these changes better align us with industry needs.

On the Road

Concepts such as “engagement,” “connections” and “collaboration” remained touchstones of conversation during my recent travels. At the HBA Global Expo, I moderated “Walmart and the Consumer,” which was paneled by Alisa Marie Beyer, founder and creative director, The Benchmarking Company; Lauren Kahn, senior brand manager, Hard Candy; and Carmen Bauza, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of beauty, Walmart.