Old Medium, New Expression

Old Medium, New Expression

There is nothing extraordinary about a professional services firm publishing a magazine to distribute content on a regular basis – in fact, you may argue, that a publication of this type is a requisite for any multinational professional services firm today. But often, we see these publications fall into one of two categories: 1.) good content, but also a transparent shill to connect prospective clients to the firm’s consultants and services, or 2.) a few relevant articles sandwiched within other irrelevant pieces often purchased from third-party content mills. In either case, although well intended, the value of the end-product to the recipient audience is debatable.

Nearly five years ago, Korn Ferry elected to jump into the custom publishing game too. We had previously established the Korn Ferry Institute, our think tank and repository for published research, whitepapers, events and other materials, but were lacking a flagship vehicle to distribute our content and extend our brand.

The endeavor was not taken lightly. First, we knew that the space was crowded and that we were entering a realm (print publication) that was rapidly consolidating and being disintermediated by digital content.  We also realized that people have limited time to read anything and that if we were going to compete for this precious time, our publication need be of the highest quality. But we also understood our demographic: senior executives, board directors and other influentials around the world who still enjoyed the visceral reaction of engaging with a quality printed magazine. Our mission was simple: to provide great insights to help leaders lead. Not by telling them what to think… but what to think about.

With this in mind, we set out to recruit a great editor, which we found in Joel Kurtzman, a venerable captain of the industry having been at the helm of Harvard Business Review, launched Strategy + Business, ran thought leadership at PWC, and earned his chops as a journalist at the New York Times.

We brought together an amazing team of writers and contributors from Glenn Rifkin, The New York Times, Larry Fisher, The New York Times, P.J. O’Rourke of Rolling Stone fame, Adrian Wooldridge, the Economist, Victoria Griffith, Financial Times, David Berreby, Discovery Magazine, Chris Bergonzi, MIT’s Sloan Management Review, and many other world-class writers and journalists with a passion for leadership and penchant for the written word. Additionally, we’ve attracted some of the industry’s most dynamic creative directors, such as Robert Ross and Roland Madrid with longstanding roots in the Robb Report and previously Joannah Ralston currently creative director of the Milken Institute Review.  Combining this auspicious group together with our world-renowned practitioners and social scientists we have amassed a formidable intellectual treasure trove.

And finally, the internal editorial, project management, marketing & circulation and creative teams who keep the ideas flowing, the advertisers happy, the magazine on the newsstands and the paper on the press, they are the machine that brings Briefings from concept to reality every quarter.

Briefings began life at the top, thanks to the clout of our firm. Our first interviewee was Ken Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express. Over the years we have been blessed to have interviewed captains of industry, philanthropists, visionaries and dreamers, world class athletes, mavericks, generals and even a drummer named Mick Fleetwood, who’s band just so happens to be a member of the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame.

 Old medium – new expression, that’s what Korn Ferry Briefings on Talent + Leadership is all about. The other day in an editorial board meeting one of the advisors asked, “what in life makes you really excited?” Upon reflection I said, “four times a year when we sit down with a blank sheet of paper and start ideating on how to bring the next issue to life – how to surprise and captivate our audience – how to capture amazing thoughts from amazing minds to stimulate and provoke others – that’s what really excites me.” Enjoy Briefings.

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