Peters writes, “About four years ago they began focusing on large urban areas like Austin, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, places that also happen to have well-educated populations that are likely to find The Economist’s global perspective appealing.
“The magazine’s branding executives have also carefully selected what stores can carry it, and not just any supermarket or general merchandise store will suffice. Two they selected were Whole Foods, the high-end, high-price organic food chain, and Costco, a warehouse club.
“‘Whole Foods is actually a psychographic, not a demographic,’ said Paul Rossi, The Economist’s managing director and executive vice president for the Americas. ‘One of the things people say is, ‘You go after an affluent audience.’ But we don’t define our audience by their demographic. We define our audience based on what they think.’
“He said that above all else the magazine’s marketing tries to stir intellectual curiosity. But he acknowledged that some will inevitably see The Economist as a status symbol. ‘For some people it will be a badge, for some it won’t,’ he said, adding that the magazine does not intentionally shoot for that image. ‘If we ever started to market ourselves to be cool, it would fail.'”
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