Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Smart 150th Anniv Campaign by The Nation

As you'd expect from a serious magazine, The Nation is celebrating its 150th anniversary in intelligent style. Its organizational history campaign has covered all the bases:
  • A history book, pictured above, is subtitled "A Biography" -- a smart approach to corporate histories, in our experience.
  • A commemorative magazine issue is being offered throughout the year as a subscription premium; it can also be downloaded as a PDF at no cost. It contains a strong mix of past, present, and future. As publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel says on the anniversary website: "In a rich series of archival excerpts, we reprint some of the best that was thought and said in our pages—much of it inspiring and eerily prescient, some of it shocking . . . . Interspersed with the archival excerpts are three sections of new material." 
  • The Nation doesn't gloss over the rough spots. Per vanden Heuvel: "We have also included a few selections that turned out to be less than prophetic." (The bigger lesson here, as CorporateHistory.net advocates to clients: All organizations have sensitive issues. Write an honest history, with tough situations described factually and placed in the context of lessons learned.)
  • Numerous live events and discussions are taking place nationwide in public libraries, museums, and theaters -- it's a robust calendar.
  • There's even an anniversary cruise in December. Given the amount of thought and research that has gone into this 150th-year campaign, I imagine that The Nation knows its demographics well enough to make a profit on this.
  • Although The Nation is best known for coverage of political and social issues, it generously includes poetry from the archives in its anniversary issue. It's not always easy to secure reproduction rights, so special kudos on that. What a list of poets! It ranges from Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams to Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Elizabeth Bishop, and many more. 
  • A related documentary by Barbara Kopple, "Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation," is playing at art houses. 
Bottom line: The Nation knows its audience, meets them where they live, and positions itself for the next 150 years. And it has spaced its anniversary publications and events across a full year, instead of relying on a single hit. Many good lessons here!