International brand expansion discussed at FIPP Congress

Experts from leading international publishing brands took the stage for a panel discussion at the FIPP World Congress in Rome today to talk about the strategies behind their global expansion.

Lagardère Active’s ELLE magazine recently launched in Australia, adding to its portfolio of 44 editions. Executive vice president international of Lagardère Active, France, Francois Coruzzi (pictured), discussed the new strategy that was used for this launch. “It’s the first time we launched the website, mobile and social network before the magazine, so it has been quite interesting,” he said. The company decided to create a buzz around the brand before the actual magazine was released.   

Coruzzi discussed how a big brand such as ELLE can expand into so many territories, while remaining consistent in terms of content and identity. Although ELLE is an international brand, it is also a local magazine in each market and needs to connect with the readers in the appropriate way. The key issue that he mentioned is being able to find the appropriate editorial team in each market that will be able to work with them on localising the brand. The content itself must be an appropriate mix of domestic and international content.

Dr. Eckart Bollman, member of the executive board, Bauer Media Group, Germany, had a different approach. Bollman made it clear that Bauer Media Group still has a strong focus on print and focuses more on the magazines than the overall brand. After extensive market research, they found that the expectations for their readers are exactly the same across different countries, so they are focused more on transferring the concept while spending time on training. “When we go somewhere, we want to stay there,” he said, and that as long as they have good people with good ideas he will be happy. When looking for joint ventures and licensors, Bollman considers the positioning of the potential partner in their current market and makes sure they have the same goals for the brand.

Robert Novick, senior vice president international, business development and partnerships, Rodale, USA, discussed Rodale’s strategy of following trends when deciding what territories to expand into, rather than forcing the trends into a market. Additionally, as a publisher of several healthy living titles, Rodale needs to be able to work with app developers who deal with online media in addition to mobile. The main extensions for a fitness magazine would include training programs, many in video form, that can be accessed across multi-platforms.

Similar to Coruzzi, Novick believes that it is necessary to adapt the content to each market.  “A translated edition of Men’s Health just put in a market will not do well,” he said. “It has to be localised and it has to speak to the culture.

Your first step to joining FIPP's global community of media leaders

Sign up to FIPP World x