La Vanguardia, the leading quality paper of Barcelona (Spain) breakes another record with new circulation figures (213,623 copies), the best ones in the last 30 years!In 2005, Javier de Godo, the president and publisher of La Vanguardia, with the full support of his children Carlos and Ana and the leadership of editor Javier Antich and managing editor Alfredo Abian, decided that the newspaper needed changes.And after the changes were made, this is the good news:In 2007, the newspaper published by the Godo family “changed without changing” and the most recent OJD (the Spanish ABC) results confirm the success of the new format, new design and new content.La Vanguardia sold more newspapers in 2007 than in 2006 (+5.7%) and, more importantly, 33,236 copies more than its main competitor, El Periodico, which after several failed redesigns is now on sale with the rest of the media properties of Grupo Zeta.In December 2007, La Vanguardia sold 16,304 more copies than a year ago, the biggest increase in circulation of the Spanish press.In 2006, we produced a final report with dozens of recommendations for the “new” La Vanguardia.We were granted full freedom to present our own views, but this report was discussed in detail during many meetings and interviews with the owners, editors, directors and managers of La Vanguardia.So, there were no surprises.And almost all of the recommendations were accepted and implemented.Some weren’t, and we expected that, but we wanted not just to please our client but, above all, to give them our best, independent advice.Some lessons learned by INNOVATION from working with La Vanguardia on these changes:
1. Change when you are a leader (our mantra was “only leaders change, and change to be leaders”).2. Don’t rush (we started the “Project 2007″ in 2005).3. Lead the change from the top (The Godo family and its key executives were involved since the beginning).4. Involve all of your staff (INNOVATION suggested that all the journalists be asked about necessary changes, and we conducted internal surveys, seminars and personal interviews to gather as many suggestions as possible).5. Invest in quality journalism (the changes were triggered by a new state-of-the-art printing press, but La Vanguardia realized that this was a great opportunity to improve the quality of the content).6. Don’t change what does not need to be changed (your “soul”).7. Improve your relationship with subscribers (La Vanguardia is adding subscribers; in the last year its number has increased another 1.9%. That’s against the national trend: ABC lost -1.1%, El País -44.3% and El Periódico -71.4%).8. Devote more space to new issues (education, family, lifestyle, trends, science, new technologies, culture, consumer advice, personal relations …).9. Go full-color but don’t make the newspaper look like a comic.10. Integrate your online and offline newsrooms.11. Re-invent the weekend editions (La Vanguardia is now the third-largest Sunday newspaper in Spain after El Pais and El Mundo) and add creative new supplements (ES was launched with emphasis on sophisticated lifestyle issues and a great graphic formula).12. Improve and expand your infographics.13. Improve and expand your foreign news (La Vanguardia has more than 20 full-time correspondents around the world, and this is part of its “soul”).14. Improve and expand your columns, and add more news analysis.15. Get new and younger readers.16. Don’t downgrade your content (“cover soft news in the same way that you cover hard news”).17. Be different (while Spanish newspapers have become more and more partisan, La Vanguardia has become more and more balanced).18. Fight for your city (La Vanguardia has led several popular local campaigns with great results).19. Improve the reporting, reporting, reporting, and editing, editing, editing of your newspaper.20. And then “change without changing.”
La Vanguardia, like Expresso and Visao in Portugal, Eleftheros Typos in Greece, El Universal in Venezuela, A Tribuna in Brazil, Segodnya in Ukraine, Diario Madeira in Funchal, Emirates Business 24/7 and Emarat Al Youm in Dubai, AS, Cinco Dias and Canarias 7 in Spain or Kapital in Bulgaria are recent INNOVATION projects that ended with more readers and more advertising sales.This is the best “award” that any market can give to a media consulting group.