We are living in exponential times, INMA CEO Earl J. Wilkinson told delegates at the INMA European Conference on Friday. Culture and innovation dominate discussions among European publishers.

Age gap is the issue: newsroom vs. audiences, print vs. digital. Leveraging Big Data for practical engagement. 

Wilkinson says there is a need for simplicity: The fast will eat slow. The big will not always beat the small. The simple will always displace the complex. 

Publishers need to find a new road map for media companies, according to Wilkinson. There is a need to understand rapid revenue diversification: print + digital + new emerging tools and platforms. 

The future of print is still a mystery to many, but Wilkinson thinks print with digital will be together for a while. Among publishers, the moods about this differ: one-third of the INMA members will destroy print in next years, one-third can’t see anything else but print, and one-third are stuck somewhere in between. 

Considering the bigger picture, 95% of legacy publishers today are print-first, Wilkinson said. So there is problem with values of digital (mobile, social, transactional) and print (compelling content, robust utility, engaging graphics, value pricing).

Multi-media is the combination of culture and innovation. Innovation is the cultural process of making ideation routine. Wilkinson sees the value in human resources — a strategic extension of CEO. 

The “new” hybrid news brand will emerge, he said. The question is how the news brand is going to look in the future. 

There are too many platforms in the market: newspaper, Web site, mob app/site, iPad. Publishers can no longer think in product-only terms, but should consider themselves brands. The principles of hybrid news brand are: convenience, relevance, consumption choice, empowerment. 

News brand should have three faces, Wilkinson continued: print newspaper (front page), home page, and the building (front door). Thus the image of these projects is important. 

The top 10 questions to determine if you are a hybrid news brand: 

  1. Are you more obsessed with databases or printing presses?

  2. What does your print newspaper say about the image you want to project?

  3. Does your physical building represent the brand you want to be?

  4. Does your workforce look like your target market for readers?

  5. Is your digital/print ecosystem mobile-first and responsive design?

  6. If your advertisers are a brand reflection of your audience, who are you?

  7. Is your brand a magnet for young digital talent?

  8. Can your advertising department routinely answer integrated marketing services needs of companies?

  9. Have you built in 10% of every staff member’s time each week for change projects or to upgrade projects?

  10. In what part of the city is your office? What does it say about you?