Continue to adapt, or die – Condé Nast Spain’s mission for constant innovation

Magazine marketers have to respond to enormous challenges to “reach, seduce and retain” clients who are exposed to a myriad of messages through an endless number of platforms and variety of authors, says Susana Ibáñez Dionisio, advertising marketing director at Condé Nast Spain.

Susana Ibanez winning FIPP Insight Award ()

Above: Ibáñez with FIPP’s president and CEO, Chris Llewellyn, after winning a FIPP Insight Award earlier this year

“These days you can only achieve success by being unique. To be heard in the immense noise of information, you need to distinguish yourself. The main challenges we face at Condé Nast – and in the media generally – are related to two key issues: the media environment and the content. That is to say, how to deal with new forms of access to information and how to present this information, both at editorial and advertising level.”

To overcome these challenges Condé Nast continue to adapt to the changes in the market and the habits of the consumer. Many times these changes are unpredictable. “These days many changes come as a surprise, a novelty or part of innovation. Since consumers receive a multitude of messages simultaneously, they have grown accustomed to change and expect surprising experiences and emotions. Conde Nast’s mission is constant innovation in dealing with the formats we deliver these experiences, offering tailored solutions, improving access to brands through different devices and platforms, and doing it in the most exciting and unforgettable way.”

Their largest success has been with delivering audio-visual content. This happens by means of own productions and fashion films supplemented by copy from contributors. “We have brought our vast experience in creating print content to the digital channel and we have been pioneers in doing so.”

As an example of an innovative format in advertising and responding to new consumer expectations, Dionisio references Condé Nast Instant Luxury Billboard (ILB) created in cooperation with DoubleClick by Google. This exclusive format, which premiered last June, responds to the major challenges of the digital advertising market. “It works on the web and mobile devices, and focuses on brand awareness as well as interactivity because it integrates videos and photo galleries. It is therefore ideal for premium and luxury brands, allowing us to measure user interactivity and participation.”

Dionisio says they have also been successful in harvesting social media as brand builder. “Social media outlets are our main website traffic sources and constitute a significant percentage of the total reach of every brand. According to our estimations, by the end of 2016 Condé Nast Spain will have nine million followers on our social networks. For us, social networks are an appropriate editorial context which provides valuable content to readers. We do not consider them a commercial platform as such.”

She also considers social networks as a medium to allow the promotion of other versions of their brand, both print and digital. “We can be a part of global communication strategies around influential issues or covers in other media at a certain time. For example, our recent Vogue cover with no makeup Kim Kardasian reached 43m impacts on our Vogue Twitter account in only one day.”

The role of mobile phones in the way Conde Nast content is consumed is also growing fast. “Some of our brands now reach 60 per cent of traffic through mobile devices.” But consumption is also interchangeable depending on the need for information. “Our consumption is marked by platforms or devices available at all times. Our readers are big fans of brands, thus there are big overlaps between print and digital versions because the content and approaches are not equal but complementary and adapted to each language and use.” 

She is convinced that many new business models will be discovered as we continue to understand our changing media environment. “Changes in the environment and content consumption generate new business models, many of which are related to ‘revenue share’. More and more frequently, our content will appear on other platforms on the basis of trade agreements beneficial all parties. For example, Condé Nast has an agreement with Facebook to share revenue from videos created by our experts in audiovisual content.”

And the next ‘big thing’? She highlights not one, but two: native advertising and programmatic buying. “Condé Nast has been an expert in native advertising since the beginning of its digital activity. Nowadays, brands demand and emphasise a less commercial and more experiential, storytelling approach.”

As for programmatic buying, Condé Nast is taking advantage and developing technology to provide customers with accurate and detailed audience segmentation. This enables efficient digital purchase.

But innovation and technology is not the only assets Condé Nast employs to build relationships with readers, advertisers and partners. Good old mutual trust is just as important. “In my personal experience, establishing a long-term relationship is always a question of building on mutual trust. In our case, it is the reader’s trust in our brands as guarantors of the highest quality, the greatest discipline, commitment to innovation, to passion  and to a unique way of doing things. Conde Nast readers know that our brands are safe bets, just like our advertisers know that we will not disappoint them.”

Good quality content remains a recurring theme. “To earn long-term trust from readers, advertisers and partners, we focus on quality content. Well-made content and content tailor-made for and implemented on different platforms greatly increases reach, which results in large advertising revenue short, medium and long term.”

While good content remains a constant, she believes advertising models will change. “The digital revolution obliges everybody to be perfectly adaptable and prepared to face any changes in consumption. In Condé Nast we are ready to do that. Thanks to the fact that in addition to conventional advertising, we have several lines of business, we can react successfully. Diversification is key to addressing the changes.”

To be successful, publishers will need to communicate in the broadest way possible. “Our offer ranges from content marketing to experiential marketing. Conventional advertising is only a part of our overall strategy, not the only one.”

More about Susana Ibáñez Dionisio

With a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the Complutense University in Madrid and a two Master’s Degrees in Development Programmes for Managers and Digital Marketing and Online Strategy, she has devoted 15 years as account director in big media companies such as Mindshare, Optimedia and Carat. The past 12 years Dionisio has been managing the Advertising Marketing department of Condé Nast Spain identifying client’s needs and managing communication between six commercial teams and advertisers across print and digital.

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