Messages from the editor & publisher

BY Sue McCluskey & Carey George

An introduction to Sway, a preview of this issue, and the reasons why we launched this journal.

Welcome to Sway!

Ask your colleagues and friends to define “branding,” and it’s unlikely you’ll get two answers exactly the same. Some will talk about logos, others will talk about messaging and advertising, others still will talk about social media and the experience of a product.

But when we talk about branding at Goods & Services, we start with the audience. Because without an audience, a brand doesn’t exist. This was also our starting point with Sway, as we asked ourselves, “Who would be the audience for a journal on branding?”

The answer was simple: it’s the people we interact with every day. People like you, building and guiding your company, collaborating on a marketing team, managing brands at an agency or just starting out in some aspect of business marketing and wanting to find out more about the topic.

We believe we have a perspective to share, and we’re looking to contribute to the overall understanding of—and appreciation for—what constitutes good branding. Like our agency, our editorial approach is multidisciplinary, opinionated and in-depth.

In this issue, we’re diving in with a look at some current trends and topics in branding, marketing and communications: which ones are on the rise, which ones are waning, which ones are evolving—and which ones need to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • Think it’s too hard to focus your brand? Carey George shows how a small Canadian restaurant has had great success with the narrowest of brand positions.
  • The rise (and fall, some hope) of clickbait headlines gets examined by Lisa Svadjian.
  • Carey and I have collaborated on a piece that we hope will convince you of the merits of building a strong brand internally—even if it means sacrificing some marketing resources that you would otherwise have used on your external branding.
  • Rachel Kenworthy looks at where branded content stands. Hint: If you aren’t taking advantage of it, you really should.
  • Brand storytelling is a trend that seems to keep gathering momentum; I’m inclined to give it a slight dressing-down.

We’re super proud of this inaugural issue of Sway, and we’d love to hear what you think! What articles got your wheels turning, which ones did you disagree with, and what topics would you like to read about in the future?

Of course, if you follow us on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll get insider access to upcoming issues, events and other intel.

Happy branding!
Sue McCluskey, Editor

Your new secret weapon

As Cal Newport outlines in his book So Good They Can‘t Ignore You, passion is not a path to follow; rather, it more often is built as a happy consequence of working hard at a craft that you value.

At Goods & Services, we‘ve collectively spent decades building our craft of branding—research, writing, graphic design, digital development, relationship management and the intersection of all of these into general business-problem-solving. And Newport is right. Over time, our passion for branding has only grown. We see brand strategy as one of the smartest marketing investments a company can make.

This journal is the embodiment of our company: a way to use our passion and expertise to help the people who produce goods and services succeed—benefiting the economy, society and people‘s lives.

It‘s the embodiment of our love for what we do: a constant quest to raise the bar of our industry, to apply serious research and thought to a field that‘s viewed by many as mere decoration.

It‘s also the embodiment of our contrarian attitude: when most periodicals are struggling to survive or, worse, turning out the lights for the last time, has there ever been a worse (or better) time to launch a new journal?

Whether you‘re a marketing director, a company owner or a brand consultant, you‘re holding a new secret weapon for success in a competitive marketplace—a journal dedicated to bringing you ideas, insights and inspiration that we hope you can use to make your brand the best that it can be.

Welcome to Sway.
Carey George, Publisher