AFR’s BOSS magazine: Concrete examples of success for 20 years

• Editor of BOSS, Sally Patten, spoke to Mediaweek

Monthly title BOSS is Australia’s premier leadership and management magazine, which is found in The Australian Financial Review. With the brand turning 20 this year on a high with recent successes, there is a lot to be celebrated. Editor Sally Patten spoke to Mediaweek about the major highlights of the past year, the magazine’s unique value and content that’s resonated strongly with the publication’s readers.

Patten said BOSS guides Australia’s current crop of business leaders to lead better and do the best job they can. “We’re also there to support those in their late 20s and early 30s who are aspiring to become the next generation of leaders.”

On the direct team, there’s Patten and the deputy editor Patrick Durkin. They have access to all the specialists in the Financial Review newsroom who write for BOSS on a regular basis. “Content with a lot of personal stories receive a really strong reception from our readers,” said Patten. 

“Readers really enjoy it because they get insights into how business leaders think and do their job as well as how they manage their health and stress levels. There’s high interest in how successful business people manage their lives and their work. People also want to work smarter, not harder; so a lot of our articles that focus on how to become more productive at work do very well.

Patten said there’s also a great interest in important issues like mental health and how physical health helps with mental health. “Articles around health and fitness work particularly well with our audiences.”

The brand’s unique value is the fact that it has access to the top business minds, academics and experts in Australia. “We’re in this fabulous position to offer really useful insights and top senior people that our readers have heard of. The ability to have that is incredible.”

Patten revealed a few of the brand’s recent highlights. “In the February issue, we did this whole inquisitive health special which did very well online. That was on the ongoing crisis of everything in the mental health sector in corporate Australia. We had a piece about diet and exercise, and we shared some  useful tips for business team leaders and department leaders to ease the stress and the burden on their workforces.”

Patten said they’ve also tackled some issues that aren’t discussed too often. “For instance, people who go to work with cancer, women who reach the menopause age and they’ve got really big jobs and how they handle that. It’s nice to get into more personal issues which really affect a lot of people but aren’t really spoken about a lot.

In the December issue last year, BOSS published a corporate philanthropy special that resonated with their millennial audience. Like other generations, millennials want to know the amount of money or profit a company is generating, but they also want to know what their companies are doing for the community. “Increasingly, they’re asking questions like ‘what is the business doing for those who are less fortunate?’ To be able to print a list of the 50 biggest corporate givers in Australia was fantastic.

Another highlight for the brand has been some of the covers they’ve produced in recent months. “Some of the business profiles we featured on the covers were CEO of AMP Francesco De Ferrari, Medibank CEO Craig Drummond, and AGL CEO Brett Redman. We had James Gorman on the cover last year, who’s the CEO of Morgan Stanley globally. We also recently had Alana Watkins and Ilana Atlas from Coca-Cola.”

BOSS has introduced a few new columns in the last year which have done well. “Breakfast with the Boss has been great. People have an insatiable appetite for knowing how successful people start their day and what they do before they get in the office. We’ve also got a Masterclass – a bit of a ‘how-to’ hands-on piece for aspiring executives.”

This year the magazine turns 20, and Patten said they’re still in the very early stages of planning BOSS’ big anniversary. “It’s quite a big milestone and I feel honoured to be the custodian of the brand at this time.

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