The Economist

A new era of growth

A new era of growth

In 2019, The Economist Group welcomed Lara Boro as its new CEO - and gave her a mandate to pursue a new era of growth. With brand as the lens, we worked with Lara to accelerate growth across the business, which spans the industry-leading publication The Economist and a suite of B2B offers. 

We defined a value proposition for The Economist to help double the business and reach the next one million subscribers. We also evolved the brand architecture and design system to help clarify the wider portfolio - drawing on the esteem of The Economist brand without compromising its independence.

Independence as a guiding light

In an increasingly competitive news landscape, The Economist Group wanted to bring The Economist to a new audience – doubling its subscriber base while sustaining the insightful, incisive journalism that has helped readers make sense of their world since 1843. Using The Economist customer data, we identified segments most likely to be the source of the next million subscribers.

Through quantitative and qualitative research, we then uncovered a widespread, unmet need: our audience was looking for confidence both in their understanding of the world and in the inputs that shape their worldview. With The Economist’s famously demanding editorial process rooted in independent analysis, the publication was well positioned to answer this need. This brand truth inspired our value proposition - “independent journalism for independent thinking” - designed to attract wider audiences in years to come.

Translating editorial rigour across the Group

While The Economist is known for rigorous reporting, there’s less awareness of the breadth of The Economist Group, which stretches into data, analytics and forecasting, bespoke research, events and content, and executive education. Developing a brand architecture and design system to grow this offer meant clarifying the relationship between each part of the business and demonstrating their shared commitment to The Economist’s high standards, all while signalling their separation from the journalism. 

We developed value propositions for three newly created sub-brands to articulate the offer to their audience, then translated The Economist’s style guide and editorial approach into a Group-wide set of experience principles so each part of the business could apply it to their own sphere. And we radically simplified their B2B portfolio of over 50 brands into four, connected via a unifying design system that could flex to meet the needs of each audience.

A new chapter of growth  

The brand strategy we developed for The Economist Group has begun to make a pronounced impact across the portfolio. “Our brand strategy now positions us for long-term growth and continued success. This approach is already unlocking opportunities and delivering outstanding results,” said Claudia Malley, Managing Director at Economist Impact. 

Over the course of 2023, the social reach of one of the new brands created, Economist Impact, grew by five times, as measured by The Economist Group.

Before launch, The Economist Group had 30,000 followers across all social platforms, and in November it passed 250,000. “There are multiple drivers of this, but a key one is the fact we now have a single identity that we can put our combined marketing efforts and focus behind,” said Jamie Credland, SVP Strategy and Marketing.

Our architecture and design foundations for the brand have also influenced how The Economist Group shows up in physical spaces. The group’s new offices in London’s Adelphi Building feature branding that reflects our new architecture and take visual cues from our design work. 

“Our brand strategy now positions us for long-term growth and continued success. This approach is already unlocking opportunities and delivering outstanding results.”

Claudia Malley, Managing Director, Economist Impact