From now on, the electronic edition of ISO’s magazine ISO Focus+ (www.iso.org/isofocus+), is available for consultation and downloading free of charge from the ISO Website. In addition, the entire collection of previous issues of ISO Focus+ editions, plus ISO Focus (2004-2009), plus ISO Management Systems magazine (2001-2009) is also available free of charge as electronic files. For those who wish to receive a paper edition of ISO Focus+, a modest annual subscription of 38 Swiss francs is offered.

This will help answer the increasing interest in standardization by managers in business and public sector organizations, government officials, regulators, politicians, journalists, academics and students, consumer representatives, labour officials, nongovernmental organizations and others.

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele comments: “This initiative will help to further promote knowledge of the global contribution that ISO International Standards can make in providing practical tools for tackling global challenges in the service of the international community.”

ISO has long recognized that proposing workable, concrete solutions is not enough. To consider implementing them, people have to know about them. This has not been lost on industry either. In the past, products might be developed according to engineering priorities and “thrown over the wall” to potential customers. Today, however, the most successful organizations understand that products need to be developed according to customer requirements, accompanied by services to help draw the maximum benefits from the product and the whole package communicated and promoted.

ISO’s communication has greatly evolved in pace with such developments. ISO’s original magazine, ISO Bulletin, was a black-and-white publication in which the simple list of ISO standards rivalled the actual editorial content. A cover page in colour and increased editorial content arrived at the beginning of the 1990s. In 2004, ISO Bulletin was replaced by the full colour ISO Focus which marked the evolution from an institutional “flagship” publication to a magazine seeking to interest not only the participants in the ISO system, but also the customers for ISO standards in the world at large.

This evolution accelerated in January 2010 with the launch of ISO Focus+, published in both English and French, which emphasizes the benefits of implementing ISO standards over the processes that produce them or their detailed technical content. In line with this direction, it highlights standards in action and the experience of users of ISO standards in their own words. In addition, ISO Focus+ increases coverage of the technical groups that actually develop ISO standards and presents the individuals that make up these groups. Standards are developed for people and ISO Focus+ puts a face on the people who dedicate time and expertise to develop these standards.

Other recent communication initiatives by ISO include the production of videos, launching on social media platforms and increasing the number of press releases. These measures in turn provide communication material for adaption by the ISO members and by the users of ISO standards who increasingly highlight this use in their own product information and communication.

As for the results: an important measure is the number of references to ISO and its standards on Internet media and business sites. In January-May 2010, these totalled 134301, rising in the same period in 2011 to 153823 – an increase of nearly 15 %.