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Editorial - Standard rebrand means better news for Londoners

The Evening Standard is an iconic London brand that has been part of daily life for Londoners since it was established in 1827, becoming an evening title in 1859.

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Now owned by Associated Newspapers, it has been through a rollercoaster period battling financial problems, circulation decline and the rise of the London free papers.

Managing director Andrew Mullins moved to the Standard from Times Media six months ago. In that time, he and his colleagues have plotted the best way to revive the paper's fortunes, employing ad agency McCann Erickson and planning an £8m investment in street vending, the Eros cashless reward card and a newspaper refresh.

The fruits of this were unveiled yesterday, with new livery for the street units, digital screens, vendor uniforms, an extension of the Eros card and an ad campaign using the strap line "Know What London's Thinking". The Standard has finally also got a website that better reflects the paper, at www.standard.co.uk, rather than the confusing This is London branding, which is now the entertainment part of the site.

The paper claims to have more business readers than the FT, Independent, Telegraph or Guardian and says more MPs read it than any other paper. It also claims the highest proportion of "Urban Prosperity" readers - educated, prosperous, professional and cultured readers, much valued by advertisers.

The Standard bills itself as the "Voice of London" and claims to set the agenda for the capital and act as a barometer for London's economy. To back this assertion up, it points to a leaked Labour election battle plan last week, which talked of the party's timetable starting with "breaking the story in the Evening Standard". And one of last week's iconic news stories and pictures, about the Madeleine McCann look-a-like in Morocco not being Maddie, was broken by the Standard.

Mullins is clear that breaking news sells papers, and that editorial has the biggest impact on sales, so investment in a refreshed paper and content has to be a good thing. This is partly why he believes duplication between thelondonpaper and the Standard is low, though of course, he would say that.

But, all in all, the changes represent a good start for the paper in re-engaging Londoners and, crucially, the media buying community that had deserted it.

This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk

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