On 28 January Condé Naste launched Vogue Business – an online B2B title aimed at fashion industry executives. Editor Lauren Indvik told DIS 2019 why – and how – they did it.
Vogue Business started out a newsletter, with the aim of creating a niche audience of engaged, loyal followers. It is now also a website (www.voguebusiness.com), Instagram account (@voguebusiness) and LinkedIn page.
The new venture is headed up by fashion and business journalist Lauren Indvik, who was previously Head of News and Features at Vogue International. The editorial team is based in London, but draws on the insights of Condé Nast’s vast network of 800 journalists across 29 markets, from Japan to Russia and the United States to Brazil.
"We take a new global, visual and data-driven approach to journalism," Indvik told the delegates at DIS 2019 in her presentation. "Our journalism is designed for maximum impact and accessibility, making it easy to understand key ideas at a glance, and to enable fashion leaders to make the decisions that will grow and future-proof their businesses and careers.”
New source of revenue
Vogue Business is Condé Nast’s first B2B title – and marks the latest move by the publisher to establish new sources of revenue.
“Condé Nast identified a new source of revenue outside advertising,” said Indvik. “The company reaches 459million people across all its brands, with Vogue the biggest brand in their portfolio. So it made sense to use Vogue as a guinea pig.”
“We came up with the name Vogue Business, because you know it means fashion and it means business.”
While sharing the name of the world’s biggest fashion brand, Vogue Business is as a wholly separate entity, with its own distinctive voice. So how did they identify their audience, and find this unique voice?
“There was a five-stage innovation framework, which involved extensive research into the B2B space,” explained Indvik.
1 Discover customer insights
Indvik and her team looked at what the fashion industry needed to be more productive, and what was holding them back, from technolgoy (which Indvik explained was poorly covered in fashion) to keeping up with consumer demands.
2. Define ideas
This was where they identified their target audience. “We developed a number of personas, including fashion experts and entrepreneurs,” said Indvik.
3. Incubate prototype
The team tested their assumptions about the product, including editorial style, topics, and different markets.
“We had to ask whether we could grow an engaged audience around world and create something different,” said Indvik.
They set up a newsletter on Mailchimp under a fake name, and gathered data using surveys, poll and email feedback from readers. They started with 250 users, which expanded to 7,000.
4. Accelerate – prove scale
Indvik and her team mapped out what was needed to launch the product - from the name to a website. They also secured funding.
5. Scale – establish
A deadline for data capture and research was set for 21 December 2018, with a launch date of 28 January.
It was decided to initially launch as a newsletter. “We felt this was the best format for creating engaged and loyal followers,” added Indvik. “It’s also great for testing new brands and concepts and for getting feedback.”
Scale reader base
It’s been eight weeks since Vogue Business launched and Indvik acknowledges that the “learning comes hard and fast.”
“The Industry was sceptical at first – it will take time for people to realise the value of Vogue Business,” she stated. “We are still getting feedback, and making changes. As a result we now have a data editor, a retail marketing editor, and a careers product.”
Vogue Business has also launched a website, and there are plans for Vogue Business events.
“We realised a newsletter has it limits as it’s not easily shareable,” said Indvik. “Also, if we want to monetise Vogue Business via subscriptions we needed a website.
“The biggest challenge we face is how to scale our reader base. We are developing new paths, but ultimately we want to publish high-profile stories in order to expand our reach. There are so many more stories to be told there.
“Condé Nast has a great history of visual storytelling, and we have access to so much data. We will use this to provide a new way of telling valuable insights to the industry. Vogue Business is truly global and future focussed.”