Media: Double Standards - Taking female publishing into the digital domain

Serena Privett and Stuart Flint on how the digital divisions of Conde Nast and NatMags offer a great deal more than just an online platform for their magazines.

SERENA PRIVETT - COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, CONDENET UK

- What makes your online brands stand out from the rest?

CondeNet UK launched online in 1995, pioneering luxury digital publishing. We've retained our position as an innovator, frequently developing new digital propositions, and, having launched online ahead of the pack, we've also been the first on mobile, to come off-portal, on YouTube, on Facebook - the list goes on. We skilfully protect the incredible brands we have, while responding effectively to digital trends.

- How do you make a publication work across platforms?

By understanding user consumption behaviour of different media and by offering original content online, produced by a totally separate digital team, while adhering to and complementing the brand values of our print publications. So, quick, news-based, punchy updates or information that make sense in an interactive environment, rather than in-depth, more emotive, magazine-style features, for example.

- How do you build up brand loyalty for solely online offerings?

We launched Stylefinder.com last year as our first standalone site and were thrilled with how successful it was with both users and advertisers from day one. Much of this can be attributed to the connection with our other brands. Users and advertisers know what to expect from a site from the makers of Glamour and Vogue. As long as you have a unique offering that is frequently updated and fulfils the needs of your users, then you naturally build brand loyalty. It is a tough market, though, and you have to offer the best editorial content and continually analyse and respond to users' requirements to maintain loyalty.

- What are some of your brands' most innovative features?

The new Vogue.com offers three totally unique interactive tools - a mapping tool linked in to our Street Chic and Fashion Shows section, enabling users to interact with the locations; a magnifying tool to zoom in on catwalk images; and the world's first interactive fashion calendar that synchronises with your Outlook, Apple or Google calendar, alerting you to key fashion events and driving you to Vogue.com to see coverage.

- What are the most exciting opportunities you've offered advertisers?

We ran a very successful mobile campaign for Cartier, a high-end brand that was quick to see the potential of mobile. More recently, we have done some fantastic video advertorials for clients including Pringle and TK Maxx, and we're proud of a huge content-led campaign across five European markets for LG earlier this year.

- Any interesting new deals in the pipeline?

We have lots of new ideas for advertisers out to the market - all top secret! We're also working increasingly closely with our international colleagues, leveraging the incredible brands we have on a global scale.

- What's the future for online publishing?

Content syndication will be key in order for users to interact with our brands on multiple levels. Publishers need to adapt their brand offering continually to meet the changing digital demands of consumers.

- What's the best thing about your job?

I've been at CondeNet for eight years and am very lucky to work for 12 incredible brands I genuinely love as a consumer. In digital, there's still an excitement about what will be the next big thing, and, across the industry, a sharing of ideas that doesn't exist to the same level in other media.

STUART FLINT - SALES DIRECTOR, HEARST DIGITAL

- What makes your online brands stand out from the rest?

Our experience in the female publishing market, understanding the balance between editorial and community and the constant development of our properties ensures that our brands stand out from our competitors'. We appreciate that our readers, who make up one-third of women online in the UK, are our most valuable commodity, so we invest considerable time and effort ensuring their needs are at the heart of all we do.

- How do you make a publication work across platforms?

We do this through recognising and embracing the individual benefits of print and online media, and collaborating on timely executions that extend the offerings of both. Communication between the teams is key and we have regular meetings to ensure we are not missing any opportunities.

- How do you build up brand loyalty for solely online offerings?

It is important to establish a relevant, trusted and consistent brand identity and then ensure that you respond to market requirements by providing unique, innovative and exciting platforms. Handbag.com, for example, has an identity of being a stylish, glamorous and informative editorial title, which provides the inside track for busy women online on issues such as fashion, beauty and celebrity news. NetDoctor.co.uk, on the other hand, has an identity of being the leading health and wellbeing website in the UK. It has achieved this by providing trusted, expert advice from leading doctors and health professionals.

- What are some of your brands' most innovative features?

Boyfriend Wars on cosmopolitan.co.uk allows readers to upload images of their boyfriends, who then battle it out to become top of the "hot hunks" table with a rating generated by reader votes. Allaboutyou.com, our site that targets 35- to 60-year-old women, is the first of the Hearst digital sites to feature community functionality from Pluck, which allows the community to reach out to existing social networks and elsewhere on the internet.

- What are the most exciting opportunities you've offered advertisers?

We have numerous exciting products for advertisers, from bespoke advertorials to embedding video and creating unique multichannel microsites. Each campaign is designed specifically for the client, carefully constructed to interact seamlessly with editorial content, to ensure the user engages and enjoys the brand experience.

- Any interesting new deals in the pipeline?

Yes, Diet Coke has just signed up for a great summer campaign on getlippy.com and Philadelphia has agreed a cross-network campaign. We are also working on a number of very exciting FMCG deals, so watch this space!

- What's the future for online publishing?

An increased opportunity for interaction between audiences and publishers, allowing audiences to have a voice, interact and influence their online experience. Developments in social technologies such as Pluck will allow greater brand visibility, accessibility and reach.

- What's the best thing about your job?

Meeting clients and designing effective and creative solutions, with the excitement of working in a fast-paced and innovative environment. I would also have to say working with my team.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).