As Digital Creative Solutions Manager for British Vogue, Emma Geary is an amazing brand ambassador for the magazine, with core focus on ambitious digital advertising solutions. Part of her job is analyzing data and using it to deliver the most relevant content to the readers. Video, native advertising, assimilating brand DNA: during in passing through Luxembourg, Emma Geary gives the BEAST readers her ingredients for success.
You like to talk about “assimilating brand DNA”. What does it actually mean?
Native advertising has been a huge buzz word in the industry for the past couple of years. It implies bringing together the voices of the brand with the editorial content of Vogue or whichever publishing platform. Assimilating brand DNA means going a step further and blending the DNA of each brand to the extent that you create an almost third entity. According to me, it can be seen as the final frontier of native advertising. In this respect, I think that assimilating brand DNA is the future option to pursue.
Vogue is one of the best known and most influential women’s fashion magazines in the world. Could you tell us how you achieved this success? What’s your magic formula?
Unfortunately there is no magic formula; but we are very ambitious and work very hard every single day. Fashion is an industry which brings together many strong personalities and we therefore need to be calm, respectful and diplomatic. I have always been told that people need to dress for the job they want to be in, and not for the job they are in. It is actually pretty funny because I used to dress like a publishing director when I was 20… but looked like I was 35! What it actually means is that pioneering ideas and innovation makes you and your company stand out in the crowd, and drives business forward. So my personal magic formula would actually be to go for anything that adds value to the company… and the people!
You are currently working as a Digital Creative Solutions Manager for British Vogue. What is the company’s digital strategy all about?
Our strategy is tied to four different pillars. First of all, 65% of the traffic comes from mobile devices – 10% from tablets and 55% from smartphones – therefore mobile first design is crucial. This huge shift from desktop to mobile has now come to the UK, and I think that the saturation point will be around 70-75%. This mobile first design needs to welcome native advertising that feels “editorially integrated” as I like to say. Moreover, in order for the reader to trust us, he needs to know that sponsored content and promotions have been integrated.
We are also using data informed content plans. Our programmatic exchanges tell us what our readers are searching on the internet and we are now able to tailor our content, editorial and native advertising strategies. We are similarly working on video as it probably is the most impactful way to get to our readers. Vogue has launched its official video strategy last June and we are extremely excited as video is probably the most compelling method of storytelling there is. Overall, our ambitious and young team full of fresh perspectives leads that digital charge.
Among all of the different digital platforms that you work with, is there one which appears to you to be particularly efficient and useful?
I’d say Instagram from a branding perspective, not from a traffic- driving perspective as it brings almost no traffic to our site. But the depth of engagement and the real dialogues it can open with the public, readers and users is fantastic. With any sponsored posts that we publish on British Vogue Instagram channels, we have overwhelming responses: we have almost more «likes» than we get click-through rates. The depth of engagement is so strong that it sparks genuine conversations. This means real feedback in real time. Instagram is incredibly dynamic and I think that its value is yet to be fully recognized.
“VIDEO IS STILL THE BEST STORYTELLING METHOD”
What is the Vogue strategy for the 5 coming years?
In my opinion, video is going to be the real pioneer and we are really going to push ahead with it. It is a great method of storytelling and it is fantastic for editorial purposes. All of our writers are fantastic storytellers and Vogue is all about crafting fantasy, and what better way to communicate that than through video? We are known for our beautiful glossy shoots and the real enhancement and extension to that is to show it in 360 full colour in-depth interviews that can be viral and have a great social capacity. I also think that more and more publishers will start acting as creative agencies. Vogue in particular, also GQ, has a very strong little black box of creative talent. We have great networks, great photographers, and great model contacts across the world and relationships which go back so many years that we can really leverage it on brands behalf.