Canadian Magazine Industry News
16 December 2009,     TORONTO
Year end Q & A: Eric Schneider
Next in our series of year end Q&A’s is Redwood Communications CEO Eric Schneider. The company, which creates branded content for over 20 companies including CAA and Mazda Canada will rebrand with a new name early next year to coincide with the terms of the deal when purchased by Transcontinental Inc. in the fall of 2008.

Masthead: What measures did your company take to weather the storm?"

Eric Schneider:
It is a complicated answer because we hit the storm before the recession when we lost Kraft in 2007. We had to restructure the business in a
Eric Schneider
Eric Schneider
way that allowed us to be competitive in a tougher economy. We are able to be more efficient, more nimble. The recession has expedited the race to digital which I think has uncovered the need for content as a marketing tool.

M: How is the first quarter of 2010 shaping up for your company compared to the first quarter of 2009?

We are on plan. We are entering into 2010 with an optimistic view of pipeline opportunities and existing clients. There is a great deal of optimism but not without the appropriate concern.

M: What was the highlight of 2009?

ES: Conclusion of the Transcontinental Inc. deal has been a highlight. It has also been our most bountiful deal in terms of new business acquisition. New clients and a much more diverse nature of work.

M: What was the most challenging aspect of the past year?

ES: The atmosphere that has come with the recession. It has left people somewhat like a deer in the headlights. They are slower to make a decision, a commitment. The volatility of the environment becomes a challenge. A go isn’t necessarily one. People that you thought were decision makers aren’t necessarily there anymore. Definitely changes the landscape and makes you worry about every individual transaction rather than a business plan. Have to focus on every little step which in a sense has a lot of benefits but it has shortened the time frame you have to consider decision making.

M: What, in your opinion will be the key to succeeding in publishing in 2010?

ES: For us the key to success is the brands recognition of the value proposition of content as the gel in the relationship with the customer. That brands can extend their brand experience. Social media is creating tighter customer communities and we have definitely seen the notion of communities becoming tighter. Whether it is around Twitter, Facebook. It is about the lifestyle, the thinking.

M: The new federal Canadian Periodical Fund will be launched in April 2010. What effect, positive or negative, do you think it will have on your company?

ES: We don’t qualify because we essentially provide a marketing service. So it doesn’t affect our company.

— Val Maloney
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