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Domino’s Second Wind Is Blowing The Magazine And The Brand Full-Speed Ahead – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Beth Fuchs Brenner, Chief Revenue Officer, Domino Media Group

June 1, 2015

“The print magazine was the foundation by which we brought the brand back, so even the savviest digital people on our team know how important the print vehicle is. No, I don’t think we could have brought it back without print; I mean that’s what people knew and loved and adored. And frankly, people don’t necessarily know that we’re back online, but they know that we’re back in print.” Beth Fuchs Brenner


The Mr. Magazine™ Reports from the IMAG conference.

IMG_6720 Reinventing something requires the ability to take the foundation of the original and build something better and stronger upon it. And that’s just what Domino Media Group has done with Domino, the print magazine, and Domino, the brand. It’s still the same brilliant home design go-to destination as it always was, but has a newer, fresher more synergetic appeal.

During the IMAG Annual Conference, which took place May 18th to 20th in Boulder, Colorado; I was able to sit down with Beth Fuchs Brenner, Chief Revenue Officer for Domino Media Group and talk a bit about the magazine and the brand itself. Beth was very succinct when she said the print magazine was the foundation by which the brand was resurrected from its 2009 grave.

We talked about where the magazine is today; the power of the print component of the brand and how her life is different today than it was in Domino’s former years. It was a very illuminating discussion, with a woman as engaging as the Domino brand itself.

So I hope you enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ reports from the IMAG conference with Beth Fuchs Brenner, Chief Revenue Officer, Domino Media Group. I know it was Mr. Magazine’s™ pleasure to be a part of it.

But first, the sound-bites:

On where Domino is today: Well, we’re light years ahead of where we were in 2009 and also from where we were a year and a half ago. I’ve been known to say in the last few months that everything is really starting to hum.

On whether the brand could have been resuscitated without the print component:
The print magazine was the foundation by which we brought the brand back, so even the savviest digital people on our team know how important the print vehicle is. No, I don’t think we could have brought it back without print.

On whether she believes Lucky is taking a page from Domino’s reinvention book:
I do think that the new Domino Media Group wrote the script and Lucky is playing us in the movie. Clearly the deal itself — the sale of Lucky Magazine to LA-based Beachmint by Condé Nast — was inspired by the success of Domino’s new model.

On how her life has changed today since her former Domino days:
In my former Domino life, I worked for a huge corporation and my new life is a start-up; that alone counts for the difference. I think about the weeks and months that it took to get decisions worked up the chain at a big company versus the many, many decisions we make every day now. And if they’re good ones, great and if they’re not, we pivot and we choose another path.

On the major stumbling block she’s had to face:
I would say that I think it’s harder today to spread the word about a brand and let people know that you’re really back. So, I think just communication and brand awareness is a challenge. Lucky for us we have a lot of that. But if you’re launching a brand today from scratch, that’s a really tough challenge.

On what motivates her to get out of bed every day: Exhilaration. I’ll say that and the fact that I have skin in the game this time and everyone on the team has skin in the game. So, we’re all working toward something that we feel we’re really a part of.

On what keeps her up at night:
Everything. (Laughs) Everything from this job to my kids. And if you ask my staff, they’ll tell you that I’m always up sending messages to them.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Beth Fuchs Brenner, Chief Revenue Officer, Domino Media Group.

Perfect for the coffee table: The latest issue of Domino

Perfect for the coffee table: The latest issue of Domino

Samir Husni: It’s been almost two years since Domino’s return from the dead.

Beth Fuchs Brenner: Exactly.

Samir Husni: Tell me, where is Domino today?

Beth Fuchs Brenner: Well, we’re light years ahead of where we were in 2009 and also from where we were a year and a half ago. I’ve been known to say in the last few months that everything is really starting to hum.

We’re a quarterly magazine that has 200,000 in circulation and an incredible wanted story, with people paying $12 per copy, $48 for 4 issues. I’m so pleased to hear the same sort of passion and engagement that we had back in the days before we were dead still exists today. And we’re hearing that anecdotally from everywhere.

And on the website; we have a dynamic website that has over half a million uniques every month and we have a full-on retail store; we’re an official commerce business and we’re selling hundreds of thousands of products every month.

Samir Husni: Do you think any of that would have existed if you hadn’t brought the print magazine back?

Beth Fuchs Brenner: I think the print magazine was the foundation by which we brought the brand back, so even the savviest digital people on our team know how important the print vehicle is. No, I don’t think we could have brought it back without print; I mean that’s what people knew and loved and adored. And frankly, people don’t necessarily know that we’re back online, but they know that we’re back in print.

Samir Husni: Do you think Lucky is taking a page from Domino in their new plan of action?

Beth Fuchs Brenner: I do think that the new Domino Media Group wrote the script and Lucky is playing us in the movie. Clearly the deal itself — the sale of Lucky Magazine to LA-based Beachmint by Condé Nast — was inspired by the success of Domino’s new model.

But the structures of the companies are vastly different — Domino was essentially a start-up business whereas Beachmint is an established e-retailer with a pre-existing corporate structure. We started from scratch and built a team and a business from the ground up, whereas Lucky and Beachmint have to merge their businesses and their employees. Their transition is still going on — and we will all be watching to see where the company goes next.

Samir Husni: You were gracious enough to show me your latest issue that’s not yet on the newsstands. It looks to be the biggest issue yet.

Beth Fuchs Brenner: It’s not the biggest issue ever, but it’s the biggest issue since the re-launch. And they did look that up, because it felt bigger to me than anything we’d ever published. It’s 184 pages with about 55 pages of ads, so that tells you how lovely our ad-to-edit ratio is. We’re putting in more editorial than we ever have before, so there’s that commitment to really engage people with a lot of editorial.

Samir Husni: If someone asked you to describe Beth’s life with the former Domino versus Beth’s life today with the resurrected Domino; how has your 24-hour day changed?

Beth Fuchs Brenner: That’s such a good question. In my former Domino life, I worked for a huge corporation and my new life is a start-up; that alone counts for the difference. I think about the weeks and months that it took to get decisions worked up the chain at a big company versus the many, many decisions we make every day now. And if they’re good ones, great and if they’re not, we pivot and we choose another path.

But it’s hugely different. Domino alone had about 120 people back in 2009. Domino today has about 30 people and that’s across print, digital and commerce. So, it’s a horse of a different color today.

Samir Husni: What has been the major stumbling block that you’ve had to face with the re-launch and how did you overcome it?

Beth Fuchs Brenner: I would say that I think it’s harder today to spread the word about a brand and let people know that you’re really back. So, I think just communication and brand awareness is a challenge. Lucky for us we have a lot of that. But if you’re launching a brand today from scratch, that’s a really tough challenge.

And the other challenge, I would say, is just growing digitally. You know this from your blog; if you put it out there, people don’t just come. So, you really have to engage people; you have to target people; you really have to work towards that in a big way. And I think our biggest challenge digitally is growing our traffic, because we know as the traffic grows everything else rises to meet it.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed every morning and say it’s going to be a great day?

Beth Fuchs Brenner: Exhilaration. I’ll say that and the fact that I have skin in the game this time and everyone on the team has skin in the game. So, we’re all working toward something that we feel we’re really a part of.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Beth Fuchs Brenner: Everything. (Laughs) Everything from this job to my kids. And if you ask my staff, they’ll tell you that I’m always up sending messages to them. (Laughs again) I don’t know about you, but I don’t sleep much these days.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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