Conde Nast redesigns Glamour, moving the title to an integrated print and digital team

Glamour is the latest magazine under the Conde Nast Britiain umbrella to overhaul its offering, starting with a redesign of its print edition through to digital, as the brand transitions towards a fully integrated print and digital multi-discipline team.

The title's print edition has been given a reinvigorated look and feel, courtesy of the magazine’s new art director Lisa Rahman, who joined at the end of last year. The new look magazine was revealed in its May issue, which went on sale last week, marking its 15th anniversary.

The rationale behind the redesign is to “freshen up” the brand, with Glamour’s publishing director Jamie Jouning saying it “seemed the right time to reevaluate the print product” to make sure the magazine kept its success on course. The idea was to give the brand more of a modern edge by streamlining the content, as well as ensuring Glamour has a clear and consistent identity across all of its platforms.

A better balance between print and digital

As the brand transitions towards a fully integrated print and digital multi-discipline team, it has gone through an editorial restructure which has included the appointment of a digital strategy director (Natasha McNamara), an engagement officer, and multimedia producer.

Jouning told The Drum that the brand is “exploring every okportunity out there” through the creation of new roles to ensure it is “keeping new technology at the heart of everything we do”, a future-proofing exercise to use its digital capabilities to help keep its print edition afloat.

“Some roles will work and some won’t” he said, adding “that is the reality of the world we currently live in".

The print circulation figures for the magazine sit at 350,000 copies per month, but Jouning muses “there is no denying the print market is extremely competitive”, adding everything the brand is doing in digital, social and video is about looking at it in totality to grow its audience across print as well as digital.

“We have to look at the bigger picture now. By growing our overall audience we expect that to keep healthy numbers of people buying the print product at newsstands, because everything feeds through from platform to platform.”

On the digital side, the title's site has been reimagined with the mobile experience at the core, since 70 per cent of the magazine’s traffic comes those devices.

“We need to acknowledge that most of our audience are consuming our digital content on a mobile device. It has gone past responsive now into a new world of mobile-first as the biggest priority,” said Jouning.

As the brand bolsters its digital presence, with it comes an open approach to content distribution, with Jouning saying Glamour has to think about content “more agnostically than perhaps we have previously”.

Building a true agnostic approach to content distribution

“With distribution, it really is a question of making sure and acknowledging that content has to go everywhere where our readers are spending their time, who might not necessarily traditionally buy print, and are more likely to be on social platforms," he added.

Rather than taking a “scatter-gun approach” to distributing content across third parties, Jouning is looking at each platform separately, handpicking content based on what will work best on each, and delivering it in a way that is easily viewable: “That is our underpinning strategy for everything that we do with our content”

It means Glamour is keen to jump on new offerings that appeal to their young audience, and is why Snapchat Discover is of particular interest to the brand now.

The pubisher was quick to experiment with the Facebook Live platform after it launched earlier this week, curating its first post yesterday (7 April).

It involved the magazine’s beauty director Alex Steiner take ‘Ask Alex’ to the Live platform, answering questions in real time for half an hour, gaining 71,000 views in that time without any prior promotion of the live stream. The reason for this is the video that a brand produces gets pinned to the top of news feed, making the activity more likely to “snowball” explained Jouning.

He said the platform was a “very simple and straightforward proposition” that proved the Glamour audience is “ripe” for that style of brand activity. The media executive described the live stream feature as a very “natural” way of engaging readers, giving them the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Glamour staff.

Glamour was also one of the first titles to go on Apple News and is currently waiting for some “robust figures” back from the technology business to see how well its content performed in the new environment. It is also eyeing up Google AMP as way to improve the speed at which its posts get to people on mobile.

Taking a wide approach distribution has its many benefits, but monetising content shared across third party aggregators is the challenge facing every print publisher outlet.

“We are all very used to a world where we knew very easily and very clearly how to make money from a print product. Now we have to find new ways of monetising from digital platforms, by reinventing how we serve ads, the kind of ads advertisers want to buy and the sort of audiences that our advertisers are interested in. It is an evolving process; nobody has got it 100 per cent right yet.”

Together with providing a more seamless experience for readers, the reimagined website has been designed with Glamour’s advertisers in mind, by embedding native inside Conde Nast’s custom built CMS to put it on the same level as editorial content.

The custom-built CMS was first developed for Conde Nast’s men’s lifestyle title GQ, and will soon roll-out across all Conde Nast titles, Jouning said, with Glamour's version arriving next month. It has been designed to provide deeper integration and better exposure for branded content across the titles.

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