Monthly Archives: November 2012

Forbes Details Plan to Evolve Martha Stewart Brand

There has been much discussion in the media lately about MSLO and the Martha Stewart brand. Martha is a recognized and much-admired personality, but the challenge faced by the company is how best to convert Martha’s reputation for quality and entrepreneurship into revenue. They have already made cuts to reduce expenditures, but Wall Street and others are watching to see how MSLO navigates the road ahead. Forbes is confident the company will thrive. As they point out, “She can figure it out. Martha is one smart and tough cookie.” Agreed!

In the Forbes article, the magazine outlines its own plan to revive the Martha Stewart brand, which I’ve summarized below:

Make Deals to Evolve the Brand

Evolving a brand is different than growing a brand. To evolve a brand you need to find new affiliations to update the brand message. Here are three ways.

1. Find New Partners. Making deals to breathe life into the brand is essential. Stewart says “We are forging ahead with new partnerships and new products, and we expect to be able to gain the international foothold that has been so elusive in the last few years.”

2. Find New Platforms. Another important task is to get the new brand message to new audiences in new ways.  For example, Stewart is now exploring reality-TV deals and developing short how-to content for the Web and mobile devices.

3. Find Ways to Diversify. Having only one voice of the brand does not cut it anymore. Over the years, the areas of the homemaking that Martha pioneered have since splintered into market segments. Forbes points out that Oprah diversified into market-specific segments by promoting Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, both of whom are leaders in their respective areas. Martha has started to do this with Emeril (whose licensing rights were acquired in 2008), and with “Mad Hungry” lead by MSLO Food Editor, Lucinda Scala Quinn.

You can read the entire Forbes article here.

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Martha Launches New Online Video Series, “Countdown to Christmas”

One of the ways MSLO has reduced expenditures as the company returns to profitability has been to reduce its presence on network television. (As you might guess, producing a daily talk show and taping before a live audience are both quite expensive.) Instead, MSLO promised more web-based programming, along the lines of the Sarah Carey-hosted Everyday Food videos that you can sign-up to receive each weekday in your mailbox. Now, the company has released the first web videos hosted by Martha herself, titled “Countdown to Christmas”. The exciting news about these new videos is that they were shot at Martha’s home in Bedford, NY. NINE recipe videos and SEVEN craft videos have been added to the revamped video hub at the Martha Stewart website. Go visit and enjoy! FOMs: It is like spending the holidays on Martha’s farm! How exciting!

From the Advertising Age website:

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is making an effort to go beyond posting clips culled and repurposed from its hundreds of hours of TV content. The new holiday videos are the first pure, short-form online videos to star Ms. Stewart herself. They include prominent product placement from brands such as Starbucks, Estee Lauder and Truvia. Ms. Stewart incorporates Starbucks, for example, into a craft project where she makes a felt-package for gift cards. “I think they are very pretty,” she says, holding up a Starbucks gift card.

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Martha’s Appeal Spotlighted in Sunday New York Times Article

Did you catch the very flattering article in Sunday’s New York Times? In it, Martha’s appeal to entrepreneurial twenty-somethings is spotlighted. It seems Martha’s personal story of turning her passion for homemaking, catering, and crafting into a multi-million dollar empire continues to inspire. MSLO has responded by messaging directly to this demographic, as they did in the recent “American Made” promotion that culminated with a festival in New York’s Grand Central Station. The challenge, however, is how to convert Martha’s appeal to these younger people into sales. MSLO has been struggling to achieve profitability, although Martha herself seems to be more popular than ever! GO MARTHA!

From the NY Times article (as is the photo above):

Ms. Stewart, the 71-year-old founder, has emerged as something of a patron saint for entrepreneurial hipsters, 20- and 30-somethings who, in a post-recessionary world, have begun their own pickling, cupcake and letterpress businesses and are selling crafty goods online.

“She’s an example of a strong woman who has done amazing things with her life.” Ms. Farill said.

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Martha Stops by The Today Show to Judge Centerpiece Contest

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Martha stopped by The Today Show to judge their Thanksgiving centerpiece contest. FOMs: Watch the video and let me know your thoughts about Martha’s decision.

From The Today Show’s website (as is the above photo):

After beating out hundreds of other submissions, three viewer finalists compete to have their homemade Thanksgiving centerpiece named TODAY’s best by the queen of crafts herself, Martha Stewart.

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Martha on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!”

This is a delightful interview with Martha that aired on the NPR program, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”. The interview is followed by a short game or quiz about quirky crafts. Of course, Martha shows her trademark quick wit and good humor. I promise you this: Martha will surprise even her most ardent fans with some things they did not know about her. Enjoy, FOMs!

You can also read the transcript of the interview here.

From the NPR website:

For 30 years, Martha Stewart has been teaching people how to be classy, useful, attractive and elegant, with her books, TV shows, magazines and websites. Though we’d like her to declare Wait Wait one of her trademark “good things,” we can’t promise that’s going to happen. Stewart is known for helping people come up with great do-it-yourself projects, so we’ve invited her to play a game called “It’s a bad thing.”

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MSLO to Sell Whole Living Magazine, Reduce Everyday Food to 5 Issues/Year

Some tough times at the publishing division of MSLO. The company announced on Thursday that it would be laying off many employees, and selling off the Whole Living magazine. It also announced that Everyday Food will no longer be a stand-alone magazine, but will instead be published as a supplement to the flagship Martha Stewart Living magazine. The number of issues of EDF will be reduced to five, from 10/annually. Obviously, decisions like these are not made without considering the impact on the affected employees, as well as the morale of employees still employed by the company. Please join me in wishing them all well, as they take their experience of working at MSLO and continue their professional ambitions. Myself, I love Everyday Food magazine, and while I am sad to see it reduced, I am very glad that it is not going away entirely. I find the information and recipes in the magazine to be extremely useful–indeed, it’s become my go-to source for what to make for dinner! All involved in the magazine, past and present, should be very, very proud.

From the New York Times:

he announcement capped a rough week for the company, which lost its power at its Manhattan offices and had to use phone and e-mail to inform the staff about layoffs and cutbacks at two of its four magazines. On Thursday afternoon, the company said it would lay off about 70 of its 600 employees. It also announced it would cut back publishing the magazine Everyday Food from 10 issues to five and no longer sell it as a standalone magazine. It is becoming a supplement that will be sold with Martha Stewart Living.

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