Business Media Missteps

Jungle Media Group, the publishers of MBA Jungle and JD Jungle announced today that they are changing the magazines’ names to Jungle and Jungle Law, respectively.

“The change recognizes the growing interest in the titles beyond the academic audience, where MBA Jungle and JD Jungle have become the magazines of reference for MBAs, law students, and law firm associates,” states an email news release transmitted late this afternoon.

Now, I like MBA Jungle. Former colleagues have gone to work for the magazine. I’ve met and respect several senior staff members. We’ve even explored possible partnership opportunities. So I say this only as the most helpful of advice: Jungle Media is making a serious branding mistake.

Not only does the title Jungle not communicate what MBA Jungle is about in any way, shape, or form (It reads like an adventure travel magazine for Animal Planet or something.), the rebranding totally ignores the magazine’s core competencies.

The magazine’s content is totally oriented toward — and of interest to — MBA students. Its audience comprises almost entirely MBA students. And despite its 2002 nomination for the National Magazine Award, it’s a challenging time for a business magazine to expand its scope without solid branding.

The name change to Jungle Law makes a little more sense. Readers and non-readers alike will be able to guess what the magazine is about. Also, JD Jungle is still riding high on a 2003 nomination for the National Magazine Award. But with the ever-excellent American Lawyer practically owning that niche, that shift too is a questionable branding and expansion step.

Say it isn’t so, Jungle Media. MBA Jungle was a perfectly fine title. And even if you do plan to expand your audience reach, Jungle Biz is just as awkward. Might as well call the magazine E-Jungle Now.