Another meaningful brand going the wrong way.

Crying over another brand being dilutedThere was a news release on the B2B News Alert this morning that just had me shaking my head.

What has Rupert Murdoch rendered upon the Wall Street Journal?

Here’s the story:

“Wall Street Journal’ glossy magazine renamed ‘WSJ.’

“New York—The name of The Wall Street Journal’s glossy magazine, slated to debut Sept. 6, has been changed from Pursuits to WSJ. WSJ., which will

focus on luxury markets, will be delivered to 800,000 subscribers of the Journal as an insert in the newspaper’s “Weekend Edition.” A spokesman for Dow

Jones & Co., which publishes the Journal, said the name WSJ. resonated with both readers and advertisers.”

Seems to me they’re making several mistakes, foremost being they’re diluting the brand promise of the Journal.

I look upon the Journal as the prime source of business and financial news. Now they’re going to include a slick insert focused on “luxury market” material? I

haven’t seen their prospectus, but I’ll bet they’re going to be a cross between Vanity Fair and GQ. Now the market for this insert may be the same as the

Wall Street Journal profile, but the mind set is different.

Yet, I think they could get away with distributing an insert with the “Weekend Edition if they just hadn’t tied it so closely to the Journal by calling it “WSJ.”

Note the “distinguishing “.” That’s part of the name. Does anyone believe that period is going to distinguish the WSJ. with the WSJ? I don’t think so.)

Their press release states that: “WSJ. resonated with both readers and advertisers”.

Well, of course! Name preference studies have proven that respondents always prefer the familiar. So they’re going to dilute the Wall Street Journal brand

with a “luxury market” insert with a name that means Wall Street Journal to most readers. Now I’m all for keeping a brand up-to-date and reflecting the

“now” society. But what’s happening here is different They are taking a new fork in the road rather than using high-octane fuel to reach a pre-determined

destination along a well-defined route.

But that’s not the only unfocusing change the Journal is undergoing. Last month the Journal announced it was going to introduce a sports section to the

paper. So Murdoch is grabbing revenues from non-financial, non-business advertisers at the expense of diluting his brand.

I’ll bet there are editors and reporters anguishing over the fate of the Wall Street Journal right now. I know I am.

Martin Jelsema

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