How Harper’s Bazaar’s niche audience attracts ad dollars

Editor-in-chief Kellie Hush discusses building its event portfolio and why luxury print titles are here to stay

Bauer Media’s title Harper’s Bazaar has scaled up events offerings considerably in the last two years.

As of this year, the glossy title has four live events including a reader event called Bazaar At Work, an annual advertiser dinner to coincide with the release of the Fabulous At Every Age issue in July, Woman of the Year Awards held in November and a fashion charity event called Bazaar In Bloom.

“Our reader is 38 years old, she is highly educated and has a high disposable income.”

“You can’t have all your eggs in one basket now,” Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Kellie Hush told Mediaweek as she was preparing for the Fabulous At Every Age dinner.

“I have been in this job now four and a half years, and in the last two years in particular, events have become incredibly important.

“The events are great for brand recognition. Also, to be honest, it’s another stream of revenue. They are ticketed and sponsored events.

“We do executions across every platform as well,” Hush explained. “Every time we do the Bazaar At Work event for example, there are about eight pages in the magazine on it, which are sponsored by our Bazaar At Work partners. We create content for online and social as well.”

Kellie Hush

Kellie Hush

With four flagship events each year, Hush has the biggest vision for Bazaar In Bloom. “Every year we do an event with The Royal Hospital for women. Last year we raised $250,000. I want to double that this year. I hope in the future that Bazaar In Bloom will become Australia’s answer to the Met Ball. I hope it becomes the most glamorous charity fashion event on the social calendar.”

Harper’s Bazaar annual Fabulous At Every Age edition went on sale on 4 July 2016 featuring Bella Hadid on the cover.

The magazine, Hush said, has a niche audience. It has an older target market than the other fashion titles in the Australian market.

“We produce a luxury fashion magazine. It’s not targeted at everyone. Not everyone can afford to invest $2,500-$3,000 in a handbag,” Hush pointed out.

“Titles like marie claire and InStyle are what I consider as mass fashion titles.

“Our reader is 38 years old, she is highly educated and has a high disposable income.”

Fabulous at every age cover

The Bella Hadid cover

While the business is diversifying, much of Harper’s Bazaar’s revenue continues to come from the magazine. This will continue to be the case for at least the next decade, Hush predicted.

“The print run might not be as large in 15 to 20 years’ time but you will always have the printed product.

“People love the luxury of what Harper’s Bazaar gives them. It’s a beautiful magazine with incredible photography.

“Luxury advertisers invest a lot of money in print campaigns. We haven’t seen that diluted at all. If anything they have diversified, so campaigns are now going across digital, as well as cinema and television. However, they still have these incredible print campaigns shot by well-known photographers like Karl Lagerfeld with high-end models in them.

“We’ve had 300% growth online in last 12 months, but the reality is that the digital advertising spend doesn’t make as much as print.”

Having talked about the magazine’s target audience, Hush emphasised that the appeal of the title’s content online is broader and younger, meaning the likes of the Hadids, Jenners and Kardashians will appear in stories produced by Harper’s Bazaar online.

The Kate Upton cover

The Kate Upton cover

“When people say, ‘print is dying’, the thing is print is still very strong for us. But what we have also been able to do is create a whole new audience, which is online.

“The reader that we are attracting online is a different woman from the one we are attracting to the printed product. In actual fact our audience has grown quite a lot.

“What we put online is slightly different content from what we would put in the magazine. Everyone is still interested in what Kim Kardashian is doing,” Hush laughed. “The content skews younger, because that’s who that digital audience is.”

Hush described the diversification of the business as like going from having one child to having four. Editors are not just sitting behind their desks and commissioning stories any more. They are involved in every aspect of the business: knowing what’s going into the magazine, what stories are being published online, how social media is performing, attending meetings, identifying growth opportunities and new revenue streams, as well as fulfilling client commitments.

When it comes to trips overseas, Hush mentioned three stand-outs for her in 2016 so far: the Chanel fashion show in Cuba, Louis Vuitton’s show in Rio de Janeiro and the Gucci show in London.

“I am a business woman, not an editor-in-chief,” Hush declared.

“We have a lot of magazines in this country and we are all pushing to be #1.

“I can’t ignore anything. It’s become more busier than it was. I used to work for Harper’s Bazaar 15 years ago. Back then we had double the staff and a quarter of the stuff we had to do. Now we have four times the amount and half the staff.”

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