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Publisher to remove newspaper names from building

A regional publisher has applied for planning permission to remove the names of two of its flagship daily titles from the exterior of its head office.

Norwich-based publisher Archant is asking for permission to remove the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News signage at the front and rear of its Prospect House base in the city, to be replaced by new emblems bearing its own corporate branding.

The application is currently under consideration by Norwich City Council, although an objection has been received by someone describing themselves as a member of Archant staff.

If approved, the current gold signage bearing the two titles’ logos, which were put in place 20 years ago and match a large bronze statue commissioned for the building’s opening in 1968, would be replaced by red illuminated signs displaying Archant’s logo.

The current signage at Prospect House (above) and an artist's impression of the proposed change (below)

The current signage at Prospect House (above) and an artist’s impression of the proposed change (below)

One journalist who works in the building, but did not want to be named, told HoldtheFrontPage: “A gaudy red sign showing the Archant logo isn’t going to shift newspapers or get people coming to our websites; advertising our products will.

“It might seem minor but the current signs show we are at the heart of the community.

“It’s worrying that there is no one at the top table who seems to understand basic marketing.

“People don’t want to give their stories to Archant – they want to give them to the papers they know and love.”

A consultation on the application, which can be viewed here, runs until 10 December.

A decision is expected in the New Year. Archant has declined to comment on the issue.

42 comments

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  • December 3, 2014 at 8:24 am
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    Do you a) utilise a prominent and free position to advertise the name of your newspaper to thousands of people every day?

    Or b) advertise the name of a faceless corporation that means nothing to local people in said prominent position?

    Genius.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 8:49 am
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    Although I have every sympathy with the staff member here, I do think it’s a bit much for him/her to accuse the top table of not knowing anything about basic marketing. I expect they do, and that’s why they are doing what they are doing. They are taking the brand beyond newspapers, or trying to. Having said that, I haven’t seen any puffy pieces about Mustard TV for a while. How’s it going?

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  • December 3, 2014 at 10:23 am
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    The EDP is a fantastic product. Those people know what they’re doing.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 10:50 am
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    Archant clearly have little interest in newspapers and their future or the part they should be playing in their communities. They’d probably struggle to differentiate between producing newspapers and rolls of linoleum.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 11:01 am
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    Absolutely agree with JP journo. The paper is what matters to the general public, not the media empire behind it: now I’m out of the game I buy a paper because it interests me, never because it’s published by x, y or z. This smells like corporate egotism at the expense of basic marketing.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 11:08 am
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    As a former employee of Eastern Counties Newspapers I think this is a ridiculous idea. Archant is a made up name that means nothing and contrary to what Idle Rich thinks, I believe the top table is demonstrating a lack of basic marketing knowledge. Reducing the visibility of your best known brands is foolish in the current market. I would like to think the city council will refuse permission.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 11:31 am
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    May I suggest a compromise solution here?
    Why not replace the current signage with the papers’ website, done in sparkly letters. Modern, trendy — and totally ridiculous!
    Makes you wonder what the next piece of newspaper madness will be!

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  • December 3, 2014 at 11:45 am
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    Why take the EDP and NEN signs down? Can’t they just add the Archant logo? All three brands are important for the company.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 11:50 am
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    Idle Rich as sadly mistaken if he assumes that the occupants of the ‘top table’ know much about marketing, or much else for that matter, which is why their business is in decline. Many corporate and public sector organisations are poorly run by individuals with a herd mentality who will refuse to see the elephant in the room or rock the boat, preferring to remain on a gravy train until it hits the buffers.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm
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    Mikle Whalley: agree totally. This is why the suits have stopped talking about newspapers and are all talking about brands – the marketing people have taken over at the top

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  • December 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm
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    Sad demise for a great East Anglian institution…the EDP. Wonder if Harbert’s News from Dumpton is still going (it was in 1970).

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  • December 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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    Funnily enough, we were talking about this the other day over our cups of hemlock in respect of the Great Leap Sideways into digital-first, and specifically the close identification between the print title and the website. Once the paper ceases to exist, so does the brand, for all practical purposes, so what do you then call your website? Do you keep the print title because of the vestigial brand recognition, creating the rather weird situation where a 21st-century (or late 20th-century, really) piece of technology carries a masthead and name that might well date from the Victorian era – Gazette, Courier, Examiner, Telegraph? Or do you come up with a new name for the website, and if so, how do you get the readers and advertisers that used it under its historic newspaper name to migrate? Or do you start a new website from scratch, with a bit of news on it plus all the other disposable clickbait guff the suits are always telling us punters are crying out for? How, then, do you persuade new customers that your website has anything to do with news at all, if it’s no longer identified with a newspaper? Or doesn’t that matter, if the news bit is only a single window crammed in between the pop-ups and the Twitter feed and Men Seeking Women and whatnot? Seems a trivial point, admittedly, but this article shows it isn’t really. As other correspondents have already said, who really gives a toss about Archant? How many readers, advertisers and web users even know that’s who publishes the product? This is either a very shrewd move or, on the other hand, incredibly naive, irresponsible or contemptous, and I know which my money’s on.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm
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    Bit like in the early ‘naughties’ (!) when Newsquest, Northcliffe et al decided to lose the newspaper brands from their websites and call them all ‘thisis…..’ instead of using a recognised brand.

    The ‘thisis’ brand did ever so well…not!

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  • December 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm
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    Just a precursor to the titles going weekly… cynical I know, but wait and see…

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  • December 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm
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    The EDP and the Evening News may be Archant’s most recognisable newspapers for the people of Norwich and Norfolk, but they are in no way Archant’s ‘flagship’ titles. The company publishes a huge number of newspapers and magazines all across the country, and the majority of visitors to Prospect House, whether they are customers or employees, have nothing to do with the EDP or the Evening News. So I think it is right that the head office should represent the company as a whole, not only the local brands.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm
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    It’ll all be academic when the dailies go weekly…..

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  • December 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm
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    archant actually means old French jug – or it did many years ago when we looked it up after they came up with the ludicrous name.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 5:27 pm
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    …and this is one stage on from a move the doughnuts at the top started four years ago, when they changed everyone’s email address to @archant.co.uk instead of @easterndailypress.co.uk.
    Most readers would get in touch and say, using today’s modern parlance… WTF is archant? They identify with the papers we produced not the company name.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 6:07 pm
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    It makes it a little easier to close, merge, or re-brand the papers…

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  • December 3, 2014 at 6:40 pm
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    It’s bonkers. Fair enough put something up to say it’s Archant’s HQ but why take down the free advertising for the papers?

    @Idle Rich – “taking the brand beyond newspapers” is fine – just put www in front of the names, don’t damage your most profitable products!

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  • December 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm
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    Another week, another banana skin for Archant
    If this isn’t an attempt to distance themselves away from these two dire titles then I don’t know what is, if it isn’t then why not just add their corporate logo to the signage already in place?
    They must be really embarrassed about their two daily papers to try to sweep them under the carpet like this in such a desperate and Fawlty-esque” Don’t mention the EDP or Evening News” stunt.

    With readers turning their backs on the EDP and NEN in their thousands and with copy sales at all time lows plus staff morale on the floor it will take more than a cosmetic tidy up to restore any credibility they had years ago,but this is clearly more a face saving operation than a re-branding andTog is right, they are known for their management herd mentality with a yes man culture rife in the commercial department with everyone in fear of saying the wrong thing or going against the flow, hence the sorry state they find themselves in. One last ditch throw of the dice maybe?
    Comedy gold
    A haaaa!

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  • December 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm
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    They must be REALLY embarrassed about being associated with the EDP and the God awful Evening News to have to remove their mastheads from the building,Otherwise they would simply add the Archant bow and arrow logo there as well. ” no comment”? No wonder
    Things must be worse than we thought there, if that’s at all possible

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  • December 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm
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    Says everything you need to know about the sort of people managing newspapers.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm
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    Not the only thing Archant is planning on removing. My spies at their annual conference today say new CEO Jeff ‘Let Me Tell You A Story’ Henry dissed the previous regime, then announced a new top line structure which featured four of the same old, same old suspects. Then a load of loyal execs who do the real work were taken off to ante rooms to tell them they had new bosses and many of their responsibilities are now changing. #classy

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  • December 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm
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    I worked for an outpost of one of the big regional groups some years ago. Head office kept sending a succession of big fat dopes from the ‘senior management’ team to tell us how to do things. They were, understandably, both derided and reviled.
    I wondered then just what kind of pillock you had to be to become a senior manager in one of the big groups. These people were not journalists. At least two were former ad reps. Another was flash, mouthy and useless.
    No wonder, then, that the regional press is vanishing down the loo pan. For decades, the wrong people have been in control.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 8:42 pm
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    JP changed all local papers business cards to irrelevant stuff like Sussex Newspapers. Corporate vanity.

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  • December 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm
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    That is an amazing artist’s impression. If that’s how it will actually look I’m going to get a signed print

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  • December 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm
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    I gather the presentation to those at the conference was missing a layer of the new structure that was then e-mailed out to all staff as soon as the chief exec sat down. This after they had been told communication had to improve and Archant needed to be seen as a company folks “loved” to work at. Way to go Jeff!

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  • December 3, 2014 at 10:03 pm
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    A top team of senior appointments Jeff. My hearty congratulations on selecting fresh, dynamic faces, unencumbered by previous failures and not tainted by any kind of involvement in previous strategy…..

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  • December 3, 2014 at 10:55 pm
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    In 2 years time when Mr Henry has run out of stories he will leave and the papers will be back on the building. Care? No he does not. The other execs “can i get just one more year” must be rubbing their hands.

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  • December 4, 2014 at 1:05 am
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    Still too many people clinging on to newspapers on here. They are dying. Their names are damaged goods. In order to attract young people – future readers – to whatever form of media, be it apps, websites, magazines etc – companies are going to have to brand things more cleverly.
    What young person wants to head to a website for the Daily Press or Evening Echo or Morning Bugle or whatever to find out what’s going on that interests them? Name changes – branding – will become ever more important, just as well designed newspapers were always easier on the eye for readers.
    I’m a journalist, not a brand man, but I’m sorry, this just makes sense.

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  • December 4, 2014 at 8:06 am
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    “At least two were former ad reps.”

    The horror, the horror…

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  • December 4, 2014 at 11:37 am
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    I remember when Archant launched, within days an ad man told senior board members: “I’m now an Archant man, not an (insert name of newspaper) man.” in a desperate bid to suck up to them.
    Wonder what happened to him?

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  • December 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm
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    This after they had been told communication had to improve and Archant needed to be seen as a company folks “loved” to work at. Way to go Jeff!

    Needs to be seen as a company folks “loved to work at” regardless of whether it actually is or not.

    Get a time machine, go back 20 years and then you might be in with a chance Jeff.
    Too much damage has been done to recapture the spirit of those days

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  • December 4, 2014 at 7:03 pm
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    I was told by one that was there that there was much sycophantic crawling pre meeting over coffee and the plates of Family Assortments followed by dry lipped agreement, forced smiles,nodding heads and faux good cheer around the room when Henry gave his impassioned speech about ‘the good times they just around da corner’ but in the spirit of better communication chose not to disclose the names in the new roles til the emails dropped post meeting, by which time he had no doubt started the engine and was zooming off out of Titanic towers more n likely closely followed on horseback by he who shall be forever known as ‘The Proprietor’ thundering down the A47 before the gossip started and some of the 120 managers realised that their days may very well be numbered.
    Anyway,soon be Christmas
    Welcome to the pleasure dome

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  • December 5, 2014 at 5:42 am
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    I’ve got a cunning plan,let’s take down the signage of two of our rapidly dwindling daily papers and put up a name that means one of two things to locals;
    1- nothing
    2- a laughing stock
    That’ll turn the business round pretty damn quick
    Then we will brief our 5,457 managers about our radical re structure which sees the same senior managers given new business cards with pretentious new job titles but doing the same thing that’s got us in this mess in the first place.
    Result;thousands of lost readers will return, the coffers will be full to overflowing and the staff, or ‘cattle’ as we call them will all be happy! Job done
    Any questions? No? Excellent

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  • December 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm
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    Directly opposite Prospect House is Norwich Castle.
    Kafka’s Castle is “often understood to be about alienation, bureaucracy, the seemingly endless frustrations of man’s attempts to stand against the system, and the futile and hopeless pursuit of an unobtainable goal.”
    Well, I like Prospect House and I like the castle. But which is better? There’s only one way to find out…FIGHT!

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  • December 6, 2014 at 12:48 am
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    The Archant name means nothing to the readers. When I worked there if you answered the phone “Archant” you’d get people mutter they wanted EDP and hang up

    I’ve told people I worked at Archant and have people ask “what do they do”.

    Papers may be dying but it’s people like Archant who are killing them.

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  • December 6, 2014 at 6:46 am
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    Must be very reassuring for the editor to know his two titles have fallen so far and lost so many readers and so much credibility that now even the company doesn’t want to be associated with them.

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  • December 10, 2014 at 11:15 pm
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    Usual miserable load of comments from people who seem to spend most of their time simply moaning on here rather than actually trying their best to change things.

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