Media Moves

The strategy behind a Bloomberg Businessweek story

November 19, 2019

Posted by Chris Roush

Joel Weber

Joel Weber, the editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, spoke with students at Tsinghua University in Beijing about how the magazine tries to differentiate its content.

Nico Gous writes, “A relentless diet of scandal stories tires audiences, Weber said. That is why Businessweek also covers people trying to solve problems. To do that, Weber wants all Bloomberg Businessweek stories to tick one or more of these boxes:

  • Strategy stories: How businesses are winning and losing in real time;

  • Stories connecting the dots about what is happening in the news;

  • How to get better at business, build better businesses or a better world; or

  • Surprise and delight. Or shock and awe.

“Weber asked students to compare the storytelling of a classic Coke commercial from 1979 and a 7 Up commercial from 1981. The audience agreed the Coke commercial featuring football Hall of Famer ‘Mean Joe’ Greene was more compelling than boxer Sugar Ray Leonard’s soda ad. Why? The Coke commercial told a story featuring change.

“‘There was a before state and an after state. Coke was the catalyst for that change … There is no change in the 7 Up commercial,’ Weber said. ‘Stories are the emotional response to [a series of events] on a timeline … Part of stories is how you amplify the lowest low and the highest high.'”

Read more here.

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