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British Vogue’s editorial transformation over the past four years has been widely documented, but changes on the business side are equally noteworthy. Vanessa Kingori, British Vogue’s first female publisher (who works alongside editor-in-chief Edward Enninful), has taken more of a consultative role with advertising clients, focusing on the health of their brands, not just reach and impressions. Today, brands are more interested in how they can create human connections and innovate through Vogue’s channels, rather than just buying space on the printed page.
On the latest edition of The BoF Podcast, Kingori talks with BoF’s Imran Amed about the publication’s new business strategy, and how it ties in with the magazine’s focus on diversity, inclusion and sustainability.
Cover launches still matter, but Kingori and Enninful are focusing on reflecting the multifaceted lives of their readers. With that, has come a change in how the magazine highlights and thinks about women. “The big shift here is [Edward] is taking the magazine from being about these beautiful dresses, to being about the woman in the dress,” said Kingori. “She wants beautiful things, but she also has a lifestyle. She has a career. She has other aspirations, she wants to accessorise a dress.”
Though everyone seems to be ringing the alarm bells, according to Kingori, print is not dead. “There is no digital marketing that you could do that would be more effective. Our print magazine is our biggest marketing tool, and our social media platforms are our biggest agents,” she said.
The title hasn’t shied away from making brands feel uncomfortable by bringing up societal issues, and it’s actually been of commercial benefit to British Vogue. “The reality is, we have increased our sales revenue and our digital audience in every single way, in every single metric since we started. Audiences are ready for those difficult conversations,” said Kingori.