Changing the name of a newspaper

Date of publication: November 25, 1987


The 'Gelderlander' is the largest regional newspaper in the Netherlands. One of the major editions (circulation 36.000 copies) is distributed in the city of Arnhem (20 kilometers to the north of Nijmegen) and its surrounding area. For historical reasons the edition distributed in Arnhem was named 'De Nieuwe Krant', which means 'The New Paper'. The name refers to a merger of two newspapers 15 years ago and the simultaneous take-over of an existing local newspaper. In 1984 Intomart was asked to carry out a survey to investigate the situation in that specific distribution area. The main questions were: - what are the readership profiles of the two newspapers, - what, according to the population in that area, are the strengths and weaknesses of the two competing newspapers, - what role does name and history play in the image building and in the reader-newspaper relationship, and could the image of the paper - in the long term - be improved by changing the title. With this survey a marketing research programme started that lasted three years; it first determined the marketing strategy investigate the possibilities of changing the name, then the risks of a name-change from 'De Nieuwe Krant' to 'Gelderlander' were analysed. It provided tools for the accompanying communication strategy and communication campaign during the name-change period. Finally, the effects of the name-change itself were measured.

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