Custom Publishing Review: Fidelity Magazine Could Be Great

…by putting readers first

Fidelity MagazineFidelity Investments produces a colorful 32-page branded magazine. Delivered quarterly, Fidelity is jammed cover-to-cover with a mix of Fidelity-focused features and departments, along with a few general interest investment-oriented articles. I read the recent Nov. 2006 issue, and found some useful information about education savings plans (529 plans) and about the new Pension Protection Act of 2006.

I have some mixed feelings about this magazine in terms of its effectiveness in building community and conveying the essense of the Fidelity brand. It’s lively and well-written, but I was struck by fact that the first half is dedicated to Fidelity-focused content, which includes:

  • A “President’s Note” (cover 2).
  • News about Fidelity Products and Services (page 3).
  • A pitch for Fidelity money market funds and credit cards (page 4).
  • A pitch for a Fidelity life insurance quote on (page 5).
  • A profile of the Fidelity Magellan fund (pages 6-7).
  • A discussion of trading stocks, focused on using the Fidelity web site (pages 8-9).
  • A survey of Fidelity investment planning tools (pages 12-15).

By putting the most Fidelity-focused content up front, the magazine may signal that the readers’ interests are secondary to Fidelity’s agenda. I sense the heavy hand of an overly cautious Fidelity marketing department driving the editorial direction. This is a lost opportunity to connect with customers, i.e., to truly engage them with useful and entertaining content.

Greater editorial independence would make a huge difference in increasing the time-spent-reading and overall brand attraction. Fortunately, the next few pages provide some redemption, with articles that avoid pitching Fidelity products. I’m concerned though that many readers will ditch the magazine before they read this far.

Here are a few other parting observations:

Fidelity ends with some fairly dense tables of mutual fund performance. Some readers may find them useful, but I question whether they’re timely. Hasn’t the Web made these obsolete?

The magazine also provides only small glimpses of Fidelity’s human face. Along with greater editorial independence, I would want to boost the Editor’s profile, with a large photo and more of his personality injected throughout to give the readers a real person they can get to know.

Finally, I couldn’t help but notice that of the images in which ethnicity or race is distinguishable, fifteen appear to depict white males, while six depict white females. From a practical standpoint, this would not seem to be the best way to convey a sense of engagement with the entire community.END

See the Fidelity Magazine Table of Contents

Fidelity Magazine's Table of ContentsClick to zoom

David M. Kalman is the president of Terrella Media, Inc. and editor of BrandMagnet.

Related Content:
A May 2007 update to this article: Fidelity Mag Redesign: An Update