With content covering technology, creativity, modern leadership, design and innovation, among others, the FAST COMPANY magazine launched a South African edition in October last year. The magazine is considered one of the most progressive media brands in the USA and was established there 20 years ago by two former Harvard Business Review editors.
Robbie Stammers, who was editor-in-chief of Leadership Magazine for seven years and is now publishing editor of Insights Publishing in Cape Town, brought the brand to South Africa. We asked him and Evans Manyonga, editor of the South African edition, a few questions:
The South African magazine market is miniscule, compared to the USA market. What was the rationale behind bringing in a new title into the fray of existing magazines? How will FAST COMPANY stand out?
RS: I have had my eye on FAST COMPANY for quite a few years. Many of my friends in creative fields were familiar with the brand even though it was not readily available locally. We believe our market can certainly squeeze in a title that will resonate with a younger business readership.
I have been involved with many business magazines in South Africa, and although they certainly serve their purposes, I feel that many of them cater for an older market. Many of them are rather stiff and antiquated. With FAST COMPANY we are reaching a younger audience – more innovative and creative thought leaders who are actively inventing the future of business.
FAST COMPANY South Africa does not fall into the usual business magazine bracket. The content expands across business, entertainment, technology and creative design to name but a few. It is also a brand that motivates readers to think beyond traditional boundaries and more importantly embrace change. There is no other magazine in the country like it and we believe that it is a magazine that’s time has come in SA.
FAST COMPANY will carry features from the USA but will also have local content. What will you feature that has a South African flavour?
EM: We will feature the relevant South African narratives that represent progress, design, entertainment, business and leaps in innovation and technology. Our model at this point is 60% international content and 40% local content. The 60% international content will be entirely based on what will be relevant to the local market. We carefully select this as it is important to give our readers information they can relate to, process and also narratives that are appealing to them. Interviews with individuals like the Nike CEO, Google co-founder and the Facebook founder fall within this category. They also give readers opportunities to get information first-hand which has not been the case previously in SA.
Will the local content be specifically aimed at SA, or will Africa as a whole feature?
EM: Reference will always be made to Africa where it is applicable, as SA is a country in Africa. However the core focus will be on SA.
Any plans on doing something specifically aimed at design?
EM: We love design and it is part of our brand. We carry features that focus on design and it is actually a facet that has its own platform within the brand. In short, we will be covering features on design and we already have been doing so in our past issues and there will be more in the near future in terms of design focused events and partnerships.
We look forward to the next edition of this younger, more progressive magazine that will carry the flag for South African design – fast forward FAST COMPANY.