Print is no longer the primary consideration for Conde Nast’s portfolio of magazine brands as the publisher instead seeks to build out a “an ecosystem of consumer experiences” that can marry global cachet with local relevance.

With a spread of titles that includes Vogue, GQ, Wired, Traveller, the print magazine is edited, produced and distributed in any given market for the consumers of that market.

“But now with digital, a cover goes around the world in an instant, Estelle Ayer, director of strategy and research for Condé Nast International (which covers 31 markets outside the US), told the recent The Digital Transformation Conference in London.

And that can create problems when that cover is an image that may be perfectly acceptable in one country but not in another, and readers object.

“A locally made decision has a global impact on the global brand,” she said. “There’s no such thing as local anymore.” (For more, read WARC’s report: How Condé Nast balances global and local.)

The challenge for Ayer has been to ensure brands are consistent globally without taking away the local flavour that makes them strong, and, crucially, without standing in the way of the local talent – the editors, writers and photographers – that creates them.

The way she does that is by thinking in terms of “an ecosystem of consumer experiences”.

And this requires overturning a hierarchical structure that regards the print magazine as the main manifestation of the brand, with everything else being peripheral.

“I’m trying to flip the narrative and have the brand at the core perceived by the consumer,” she explained, with print just one of the manifestations alongside digital, social, events, products, services etc.

“You can’t operate in silos,” she added – whether those are country or channel. “These represent a total new set of challenges, of cultural challenges, but also ways of working.”

That’s one of the reasons for the creation of Condé Nast International to oversee the portfolio outside the US.

“We no longer look at ourselves as a network of independent entities,” said Ayer. “We really look at ourselves as a truly global organisation.”

Sourced from WARC