The Atlantic Is Rebranding Its In-House Creative Consultancy After 5 Years

The creative consulting service's focus is on digital work

The new brand identity reflects The Atlantic’s digital transformation. Atlantic 57

This week, The Atlantic magazine’s 5-year-old creative consulting service, Atlantic Media Strategies, has rebranded as Atlantic 57. The move, which looks to establish a more fitting identity for a 21st-century marketing partner, comes complete with a revamped online hub.

The new, more concise and contemporary brand name aims to better highlight the group’s work and the emphasis it places on digital while aligning it more closely with the legacy of a publication founded in 1857.

In 2008, The Atlantic embraced a digital-first strategy in order to rely less heavily on print advertising. Only two years later, the magazine, which focuses on politics, culture, business and tech, returned to profitability and saw its digital ad revenue outpace that of its print publications, a seemingly impossible feat at the time for a traditional publisher. Atlantic Media Strategies came about in 2012 as a direct result of this shift.

“When we first launched the business, The Atlantic had gone through a pretty substantial shift from print magazine to leading digital media brand, and we got a lot of press around it,” said Jean Ellen Cowgill, president of Atlantic 57.

That’s when print publishers and companies looking to make their own digital transformations while staying true to their brand identities started knocking on The Atlantic’s door, according to Cowgill, who led Atlantic Media’s corporate strategy.

In a way, consulting work fell into Atlantic Media’s lap, she added, so the organization started to “put that to work.”

The consulting service is now the fastest-growing segment of The Atlantic’s business. It has doubled its staff since launching in 2012 and averaged 25 percent revenue growth in each of the past three years. Cowgill said Atlantic 57 needed a fresh brand identity to more fully embrace its own digital transformation.

“We’ve grown so much over these last five years,” Cowgill said. “We’ve been thinking about this rebrand for the past year. We wanted a name and brand that represents all we have become as well as the ambitions we have for the future.”

Part of the transformation over the past year included in what its statement describes as “the rise of the special center—platforms that serve as thought-leadership centers in their respective industries,” which contributed 40 percent of Atlantic 57’s 2017 revenue. The group has already completed work in this area for clients like Mastercard, Allstate and Marsh & McLennan.

For example, Atlantic 57 created and runs The Renewal Project, a social newsroom and online hub for Allstate that recognizes social good happening across the nation. The project is part of a larger relationship The Atlantic has with Allstate that includes editorial reporting, events and an awards program.

Cowgill stressed that the creative consultancy specializes in developing partnerships and driving business growth. It is not only in the business of “launching campaigns,” she said.

In terms of Atlantic 57’s relationship with its parent company, Cowgill said, the consultancy operates separately from Atlantic Media. But its team of strategists, designers, former agency executives and journalists does provide services to The Atlantic.

The Atlantic does not retain a traditional agency of record, but it has worked with creative shops from time to time. Last year, for example, it tapped Wieden + Kennedy New York to create the award-winning “Am I a Typecast?” campaign, which consisted of a series of long-form ads starring actor Michael K. Williams. The campaign sought to position The Atlantic as a news outlet where people go to “Question Your Answers.”

Atlantic 57 builds on the strength of The Atlantic’s 160-year history of focusing on current events as well as forward-thinking topics, such as diversity and emerging technologies, that businesses and other organizations face every day.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.