As Outlook Publishing’s original brand, the founding members of Africa Outlook reflect on the magazine’s journey as we celebrate our 100th issue.
Q&A WITH OUTLOOK PUBLISHING
From publishing the first print magazine to launching our 100th issue as a digital-only brand, Africa Outlook has evolved significantly over the past decade. The magazine’s founding team recount the history, successes, and future aspirations of the go-to industry publication entrusted with telling Africa’s most exciting corporate stories.
Firstly, tell us about the brand’s history – when was Africa Outlook launched and why did you decide to focus on this region?
Ben Weaver, CEO (BW): Africa Outlook was launched the day we opened our doors for the first time 10 years ago in Norwich, UK. We chose Africa as a publication to kick off operations as the result of our extensive experience in the region and the fact Africa was emerging as a major global player in the business world.
Nick Norris, Sales Director (NN): We already had established expertise across the region, existing business relationships, and the knowledge that Africa was very much an emerging market for investors. The fact that Africa had fantastic stories of successful businesses that we would be able to share with the world helped shape our decision making. I am happy to look back on that choice and know that it was the right decision.
How has the magazine evolved since its inception?
BW: The magazine has evolved massively over the past 10 years. Various rebrands and new websites have led us to where we are today and we’re now the leading business to business (B2B) magazine in the region providing the best content to our audience. We’ve also launched new coverage in the shape of industry spotlights which has ensured all businesses, whatever their size or shape, can share and enjoy the exposure we offer.
NN: There has also been a mixture of subtle adjustments with regards to our design and content, alongside wide-scale changes throughout the years for both the magazine and our platform. We pride ourselves on continuously pushing the envelope of the content we produce; Is it engaging enough? Is it varied and serving the needs of our clients and our readers? Happily, with the team that we have behind Africa Outlook, we never stand still and are always looking at improving and refining the content we produce across the magazine and website which has led us to our current format. As a result, I can happily say that we are one of the best-looking magazines and websites of its kind in the market.
What have been some highlights in the magazine’s journey so far? Are there any major brands you were particularly excited to collaborate with?
BW: Highlights from the past decade have been plentiful. These have included covering some massive brands such as Microsoft, Virgin, Barclays, Oracle, and Airtel to name but a few. In addition, I have enjoyed publishing some really exciting Expert Eye features giving a real insight into specific sectors and industries.
James Mitchell, Managing Director (JM): In terms of our audience, it’s always a highlight to be able to curate and share the stories that we believe educate, inspire and empower. Providing insight into the operations, experiences and values of the world’s leading businesses and leaders allows us to help push the boundaries of what our readers believe is possible and achievable. If we’ve helped a single person believe in their own ability to change the world, and then helped them better understand how to do so, then we’ve made that difference.
NN: This issue is a highlight for sure. I would not have thought 10 years ago that we would be sitting here with 100 issues behind us, having featured some of the biggest brands across the region from a whole host of leading sectors. It has been fantastic to share their stories and gain an insight into how businesses and their leaders operate.
Looking ahead, what is your vision for Africa Outlook?
BW: Africa Outlook will continue to develop and evolve at pace and the vision for the magazine is to become a leading platform for business success across the region. We’re 10 years into our journey and it’s been a massive success, and the next 10 years promise more of the same.
JM: We intend to continue innovating in everything we do. Casting the net ever wider to find the best stories in new countries, sectors and environments is key to remaining at the cutting edge of African business. Alongside this, staying at the forefront of digital platforms to ensure that we reach our audience efficiently and at their convenience is vital to remaining the continent’s premier source of business content.
NN: I have three main aims for the future of Africa Outlook. Firstly, to continue to elevate businesses and provide the platform to share their successes with our readers. Secondly, to continue to engage with our readership to meet their needs with the content we write. And finally, to continue to push the envelope in how we provide content to our dedicated readership in an engaging way. We want Africa Outlook to be a leading brand in bringing a spotlight to organisations from across the region, to provide a platform for them to share in their successes and to be used as an invaluable marketing tool for businesses to use for years to come.