Custom publishing update: Welcome to what marketing pundits will surely describe as something new, but something that is merely a boiler-plate custom publishing product, Lexus.msn. The site aggregates some of MSN’s content and utilities and re-packages it in a co-branded fashion for Lexus. I would like to know who’s paying whom? It would appear that Lexus is paying MSN for the product, but whose brand is benefiting more? Is the Lexus brand enhanced by MSN’s? No way. So, who’s paying whom?
Advice for marketers considering an investment in custom publishing, whether it be online or in print: Your customer publishing investment should be focused on enhancing YOUR brand and enhancing YOUR relationship with YOUR customers, not the publisher’s brand.
If MSN is paying Lexus, then perhaps this co-branded website may make sense for some unseen economic reason (an “added value” to an IT contract, for example), but tying the Lexus brand to MSN makes little sense if it was bought by the automobile manufacturer as a relatioinship marketing tool.
Later: Okay, I’ll say something nice about the site. Select the piano music and you’ll get this new age back-ground loop that will make you think you’re getting a massage at a spa somewhere in Northern California. Beware, however: After listening to it for ten minutes, you’ll be so mellow you’ll do a face plant into your keyboard.