Liberty London's marketing boss on its expanding print investment: 'It still has a value'

Liberty London's marketing boss on why its launching a luxury beauty magazine with an 'invite only' ad policy

Liberty London has launched an editorial magazine to promote its beauty offering, with the aim of driving footfall to its store as well as cross-brand loyalty.

Altogether 25,000 copies of the title, which is simply named Beauty, will be distributed in-store while 50,000 will be mailed direct to customers enrolled in the Liberty Loyalty scheme.

Building on previous editorial installments it has offered to shoppers around its jewellery and fragrance departments, the first edition of the magazine debuted this week. The brand's marketing and communications director Madeleine Macey told The Drum that Liberty wants to offer people a physical product they can keep, and that previous investments in print have yielded impressive return for the retailer.

"We believe print still has a value to our customer – that special moment when you can pour over great stories and maybe learn something you didn’t know before about a brand or a process," she said.

There are no full-on 'advertorial' spreads in the premium magazine, and the glossy is operating an invite-only policy around which brands can snap up its ad space. "We only stock the brands we truly believe in, and therefore we only invite people to advertise who we also truly believe in," asserted Macey.

Taylor Taylor, Byredo and Somerset House are among the brands featured in the first issue.

Brands turning to print to drive loyalty is nothing new; it's something retailers such as Waitrose and Asos have been doing for years, and Ikea recently admitted it spends 70% of its total annual marketing budget on print. Macey explained that anecdotal feedback from customers enrolled in its loyalty scheme around its fragrance and jewellery magazines was positive on the shop floor, and so it decided to branch out.

"We also have a sophisticated data analysis tool that can understand what our customers responded to and what drove footfall or conversion in store against the product we feature," she added. "The ROI is always excellent."

Beauty's first issue features an article profiling the company's founders, penned by Vogue's Nicola Moulton. A separate feature has seen the brand collaborate with four artists to re-create make-up looks as portraits using actual beauty products such as highlighter and blusher. The artists involved include Marco de Rae, Gill Button, Christina BanBan and Rob Philips, and the portraits are set to feature in an in-store exhibition.

The mag was developed hand-in-hand with creative comms agency Portas, and will be supported by a dedicated social push across Facebook and Instagram, with content also being repurposed for Liberty's own site.

Macey joined the brand in March this year from Manolo Blahnik where she was consulting global communications director. Her main objective since arriving has been to unify the many aspects of Liberty London, which is best known for its silk scarves and fabrics collection.

Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

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