Conde Nast – leveraging its niche quotient

With its three magazines – Vogue, GQ, Conde Nast Traveller – doing well in the Indian market, Conde Nast Group is in an upbeat mode. A conversation with Oona Dhabhar, Marketing Director Conde Nast India…

e4m by Akash Raha
Updated: Feb 9, 2011 2:25 PM
Conde Nast – leveraging its niche quotient

With three magazines – Vogue, GQ, Conde Nast Traveller – launched and established in the Indian market, Conde Nast Group is in an upbeat mode. The company, which is soon completing four years in India, may now launch a fourth magazine from its stable – Architectural Digest. Even as plans for this are being given shape, Oona Dhabhar, Marketing Director, Conde Nast India, speaks to exchange4media about the group’s strategy and future plans in India.

There are no industry numbers for measuring titles such as Vogue, GQ, Conde Nast Traveller. Apart from the Ernst & Young print run audit, what are your metrics of proving to advertisers how well you are doing?
This space has been un-audited and when we began, we realised there was significant over-claim in the market. Our first step was to get one common metric, and that was print run, as that precedes even readership and circulation. To give you numbers, we print 50,000 copies of Vogue, 30,000 copies of GQ and currently we are printing 20,000 copies of Conde Nast Traveller. We got ourselves audited and shared this data transparently, and after three years, the data for our magazine has become a benchmark for advertisers.

You have taken the mass marketing route of OOH for Vogue and GQ and then there are on-ground initiatives as well. What are the other aspects that comprise your marketing and advertising strategy for the existing brands?
For us, the job is to make sure that the brand is out there, that we build the right level of awareness and each and every issue that we put on the newsstands sells. There are two or three key marketing initiatives we do. One is the traditional outdoor, which far more visible. We do our signature events. For Vogue, we have ‘Fashion’s night out’, which is an event that we do in Delhi. For GQ, we have ‘The GQ Men of the Year Awards’ and for Conde Nast Traveller, we have the ‘Conde Nast Reader Award’. These events are also telecast on TV, which makes them bigger properties. We also invest significantly in PR for the brand. For every issue we create video content for TV, called Vogue Diary or GQ Diary, which captures the making of our covers. We also do relatively smaller marketing events, which are targeted at some of the influencers or people who would drive the ‘word of mouth’ for our brands.

Why don’t we see much of Conde Nast Traveller at the newsstands though?
The good news is that the first issue is a sell-out, hence it wasn’t on the newsstands. When we had initially planned we thought of bring out 15,000 copies. What we eventually printed were 25,000 copies and not a single copy is left at the newsstands. The second issue is almost a sell-out as well and the third issue has just hit the newsstands.

How is Traveller doing vis-à-vis its competitor in the market Lonely Planet? Do you think the magazine from the Worldwide Media Group enjoys an advantage as it entered the market earlier?
We believe that the two are quite different. The readers and consumers would agree. While both of them are travel magazines, Conde Nast Traveller clearly talks to the affluent, luxury inclined audience. The two magazines talk to different target audiences. Immense planning has gone into understanding who the TG for Conde Nast Traveller is and what they want. We follow a ‘FMCG’ launch model - people, who are interested in travel magazines, will also be very interested in our magazine. Also, Conde Nast Traveller as a magazine has been in existence for really long. India was the sixth CT, but the US and the UK editions have been there for a long time now. Compared to us, the Lonely Planet has been there in a market for a very short time.

Which are the other publications expected to be launched from Conde Nast in the near future?
We have the licence for Glamour, Allure, Architectural Digest, etc. But probably, the lead option we are considering right now is Architectural Digest.

You are also very high on the digital space...
...We are investing significantly in our digital divisions; we have three websites for each of our magazines now. And each of them is doing very well. I think the last number for Vogue was 125,000 unique visitors, 140,000 in GQ and growing. We already have the three magazines available on the iPad since October-November last year. We also launched the first of its kind GQ Blackberry application, which again is doing very well. Digital is going to be an important medium, with iPad or other such devices coming into play. I see the readers demanding more in terms of content, production quality and production value.

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