Not Fitting In

August 17, 2010
A while back, Billboard made a series of posters featuring various pop-stars portraits done in a newsprint-esque CMYK format. Each color is represented by a stamp that represents an artist who influenced the artist in the picture, for example the Lady Gaga picture is as follows: C= Madonna, M=Queen, Y=David Bowie and K=Cyndi Lauper. The CMYK color model is a subtractive color model, used in color printing, and is also used to describe the printing process itself. CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and key black. Just as the CMYK artists symbolically represent the parts and sounds that make up Lady Gaga's music, brand impressions inform the way a consumer constructs their understanding of your product or service. "Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image."---David Ogilvy Branding is the act of creating a symbolic association within the user about your product or service. It is about using words and images to create a psychological or emotional tie between the user and the brand. The Economist has done a good job of branding itself as the go-to news source for the 'aspiring intellectual.' Negotiating a brand image, as a news organization, is tricky business - media companies can very easily blur the line between editorial content and brand reputation. The Economist makes it clear that what is on the outside of the publication does not influence what is on the inside. "Success comes from standing out, not fitting in"--Don Draper, Mad Men I recently got into a fruitful debate with a blogger about the merits of Newsy that he ultimately posted on his blog. My central point, which is at the core of Newsy's unique model, is that 'fair' news is a myth. Editorial bias inevitably makes its way into the equation when determining what is 'newsworthy.' The use of search as a variable could neutralize this effect a little, but the democratic nature of a public press requires some kind of editorial interjection to keep one opinion or world-view from dominating public discourse. There are no facts, only interpretations. ~Friedrich Nietzsche Newsy's format expands the number of voices in the conversation by juxtaposing news coverage from different sources - highlighting different viewpoints. To survive, news outlets have split their audiences, each attempting to carve out and speak to a niche group. Somewhere in the differences between these viewpoints lies a greater level of truth that only individuals can mete out for themselves. We expose these differences to allow users to come to their own conclusions.