At a recent panel on the state of the magazine industry, execs from some of the leading publishers agreed that creating a collaborative, forward-thinking, and open-minded company culture is of paramount importance, especially in an era of declining revenue from legacy print products.
So much so, Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp told the audience, that the company has passed out what he called "culture cards."
"We are now one Time Inc.,'" Mr. Ripp said. "We now all carry around culture cards."
A company spokeswoman, when asked by Ad Age, provided a bit more clarity about the initiative, which she said is "part of a larger push around our cultural transformation." The cards were passed out in mid-September, she said.
"Each employee throughout our global company received a card (it's the size of a business card so you can easily carry it) that features our mission, our vision, our strategy, our heritage as well as One Time Inc. Expected Behaviors (TIME: Teamwork, Innovate, Motivate, Execute)," the spokeswoman said.
The idea, she said, came from former Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally, who attended an offsite last year for Time Inc's senior leadership team. Ford, under Mr. Mulally, had distributed such culture cards -- containing the company's business plan and values -- to its employees.
Time Inc. employee reaction to the cards has been "overwhelmingly positive," the spokeswoman said.
It's not uncommon for large media brands to give out items to employees emblazened with company principles, but Time Inc.'s choice of medium seems to be a throwback to the days before LinkedIn, when business cards were ubiquitous.
The bigger question, to company-watchers, is how Time Inc.'s efforts at cultural transformation play into its larger business strategy. Time Inc. will report its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday.