Holistic Creativity: Why Fast Co is doing it right
By Claude Beaupre
At least ten times a day, I find myself scrolling through my Twitter feed, anxiously looking for exciting new marketing ideas in my trusty list of my favourite publishers. The other day, I noticed that one such publisher has the ability to reel me in, nine times out of ten – Fast Company. After much analysis, it’s clear to me that Fast Company is providing attractive content about creativity, but they’re also doing it in a holistically creative way, which truly makes all the difference.
What makes Fast Company so great is their integrative approach to creativity. Not only do they claim and deliver creative content, they’re also emphasizing it through their internal practices. Since their inception in 1995, they have been motivated by their innate desire for content focused on innovation in business. For example, their first issue published in November 1995 claimed, “Work is Personal, Computing is Social, Knowledge is Power,” which, needless to say, is a statement way ahead of its time. What’s more, their means of delivering the message was also graphically surprising and extremely well branded. As co-founder Bill Taylor states, “… we wanted to create an organization that lived by the values and principles the magazine espoused. We wanted Fast Company to be a ‘fast company.'”
In 2008, they helped establish the new norms in “community journalism” by leveraging their social and active following through innovative marketing practices and technology. It’s exactly this kind of inner innovation which would further lead them to co-create rich content with their readers. Many of their competitors and other publishing industry leaders would soon follow suit.
Not so long ago, they rebranded and segmented their publication into three sub-sections. This clever rebranding (using the “CO” in FastCo) is not only well executed, it also enabled the company to extend their reach to diverse audiences as well as cross-sell content. The following are recent postings from each sub-section:
- CO.DESIGN – ” Branch Rethinks The Social Cliches That Wrack Twitter And Facebook“
- CO.EXIST – ” Why Education Needs a New Brand“
- CO.CREATE – ” An Experimental New Starbucks Store: Tiny, Portable, And Hyper Local“
It’s words like “rethink,” “new,” and “experimental,” that Fast Company not only presents in content, but also by practicing what they preach, which makes them exceedingly credible and attractive to eager students like myself.
My goal here is not to sell subscriptions of the magazine, but rather to show my honest admiration of the concept. I think there’s something beautiful about building a company based on the idea of “from entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs,” or “from creatives, for creatives.” The core personality of a company and its corresponding offer provides credibility that is hard to replicate. Fast Company’s example could and should be emulated by a product-based company. For example, if you claim your product can change the world, then you should consider taking on internal initiatives that proclaim this same promise. This holistic approach, properly executed and true in nature, gives real meaning to the brand, organization and what it has to offer.