As a keen subscriber and fan of the magazine and wider Monocle brand, Dean Ford, our Creative Director, gave an extensive interview into his relationship with the brand after being approached by reporter Sunyoung Jeong. In it he covers everything from his views on the brand, journalism and even guilty pleasures.
The article also features an interview with Monocle editor Andrew Tuck.
The original interview can be accessed here (subscription required), and a translation from Korean follows.
Find out more about Monocle at monocle.com.
Dean Ford on Monocle's Tenth Anniversary - translated from Publy, South Korea.
Dean Ford is the Creative Director of The Modern Agency, a branding design company based in central London. Having been a regular reader and subscriber of Wallpaper* since launch, and then in 2007, knowing that its founder Tyler Brülé was launching Monocle, soon became a loyal fan. He has bought almost every edition of the 102 magazines published so far. We met Dean Ford and interviewed him at The Soho Hotel in London.
P: Is not it heavy to carry Monocle around?
Dean Ford: I like to feel the weight of books and magazines. Monocle is usually read when traveling and there’s usually a few copies laying around my home and office.
P: How do you see Monocle as a brand expert?
DF: Monocle is very clever. They know what they are good at. I have never been disappointed in ten years. Monocle also digs deep into a specific audience. Their vertical offering of services is excellent, giving readers a variety of articles, radio programmes and products tailored to their preferences.
Monocle maintain their own position throughout international affairs, business, design and culture, and if you agree with that position, you soon become a Monocle fan.
I do not read every article, but I particularly like articles in the Business, Culture and Deisgn sections. Among them, I like stories about entrepreneurship. It’s always interesting to see how people create the opportunity to build a business. Monocle also offers an alternative to mainstream media which is part of their success.
In the Affairs section, interviews of people who can not be seen in other media are published. There was also an article introducing Korean culture. It is also great to learn from Monocle that there are people with similar attitudes and aspirstions on the other side of the globe.
P: What about Monocle’s advertising in the eyes of readers?
DF: I do work related to advertising, but in many magazines there are a lot of ads that I do not want to see or have no interest in. Monocle’s magazine and radio is not burdened by brash ads. It is a style that is well arranged. I think Monocle is really smart in this regard.
P: Is not it inconvenient to see articles with vague boundaries between ads and articles?
Monocle is a good choice for advertisers. It seems to pick everything carefully from the selection of the advertiser who matches the feeling of the content, and reads naturally. Of course, if you do not like advertising, you can skip that part. They keep a good ratio of ads to articles.
Remember the fashion magazine. There is no end to the tiredness of the advertisement, and the same advertisement appears in several magazines. Compared to that, I think Monocle’s articles and advertising ratios are ideal. Thanks to advertising, readers read high-quality articles, Monocle makes money, and brands advertise amongst relevant content, a win-win-win situation.
P: Do you like other Monocle services?
The newsletter email is read every morning at 7am. There is rarely time to read newspapers and magazines on weekdays. I regularly listen to Monocle24 radio and podcasts.
Reading newspapers is a sort of luxury in these days. I should read the Financial Times or the Guardian‘s weekend edition as long as I can spare time at the weekend.
P: So when does Monocle usually get read?
Read in stolen moments!
P: Do you have any guilty pleasures, something you secretly indulging in? For example, read the tabloids like The Sun secretly?
DF: Not at all. But I think ‘Guilty Pleasure’ makes no sense. Why should I feel guilty about my taste? Whether a person’s taste is high or low, I do not judge.
P: Where do you keep your collection of magazines?
DF: All of the Monocle magazines that have appeared so far, except one or two, I have at home, and I sometimes read my old magazines when I think about it.
P: At present, a Monocle is £6, how much are you willing to pay?
DF: I think £10 for one issue and £100 a year are appropriate.
P: Monocle is lucky to have readers like you!
DF: There is a certain faith in their vision, and it is a belief that grows the business steadily. I really respect that kind of vision. I have been reading Monocle for about 10 years, so the honeymoon period has passed.
P: This is the last question. If you compare it to a movie actor, what kind of an actor do you think Monocle is?
DF: Well… intelligent, charismatic and funny. About 40 years old. Can I act? (laugh)
P: Monocle knows what is good for itself.
DF: Modern magazines are changing their businesses to diversify their risks in a rapidly changing media environment. And the relationship between the reader and the brand does not simply end with the purchase, but extends to the brand experience through the online and offline space. A good brand experience and business strategy are essential to keep readers who are as discerning as Monocle’s for 10 years.