Take a Look in the Mirror
A refresh for The Big Picture – and a challenge for print providers.
“You – yes you – are Time’s person of the year.” In December 2006, this headline made history. Time editors decided that their annual awardee was not a lofty politician or grimy go-getter, but its readers themselves.
The choice stuck, generating a whirlwind of controversy. Yet, even now, I remember that choice not as a terrible cop-out, as critics claimed, but a bold, brilliant move.
As The Big Picture’s new editor-in-chief, I have big expectations for this brand and, more importantly, for you. The most vital work I’ll do isn’t upholding the legacy of a decades-old publication but finding ways to bring together our expertise and yours to build an industry that is forward-looking and, of course, more profitable than ever.
You’ve heard it before: It’s no longer enough for print shops to rely on word-of-mouth and solid values to propel business. You have to find some way to bring your brand to life because efficient, friendly service won’t mean much if customers can’t find it.
It’s not a gloomy proposition. Do you work hard? Respect customers? Take care of the details? Then the foundation of your “personal brand” is already set. It’s the essence of you, from how you deal with irate clients to the way you drive on the way home. It’s those little bits and pieces that can’t be faked.
The 21st Century challenge is finding a comfortable way to project that brand on a larger scale, whether it’s in the pages of The Big Picture, on your website or social media pages, or presented during an educational conference.
You might successfully navigate new techniques, software, substrates, and day-to-day strategy with a search engine and a beer, but taking the risk of sharing your success alongside your shortcomings is what creates leaders and experts.
And your expertise is needed. Not only by me, but by your colleagues, mentors, and friends who are looking not only for new clients, but better ways to work with them. So, when you finish a cool project, share your results – and the ups and downs along the way. Don’t be afraid to pitch your work to The Big Picture or use your connections to self-promote.
In the months to come, you’ll see a few subtle shifts that will make the magazine more pleasing to hold, more informative to read and, best of all, an efficient way to stay ahead of the competition. But I hope that the bigger change is your involvement in this industry. Whether that means plugging your projects, trekking through a tradeshow, or finally setting aside time for a social media strategy (yes, a necessity), this is still the year of you. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.