Luxury brand magazines are a highly effective way to communicate with the discerning – and changing – luxury audience. Combining a beautiful and tactile product with storytelling and design that enhances your brand and product and engages, while also creating an experience that encourages exploration, makes a printed magazine an effective addition to the marketing ecosystem. Sitting alongside a broader digital marketing strategy, a print magazine is a powerful way to tap into your audience’s key values and engender brand loyalty.

Luxury is a life-long love affair between customer and brand, but how do you capture the interest of those at the beginning – the HENRYs (High Earners, Not Rich Yet) and keep the attention of those that are well established UHNWI (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals)? Reports by British Walpole, the official sector body for UK luxury, and The Economist, show that the growing importance of experience is key, as well as the luxury of time and being immersed in the moment. However, product ownership and authentic storytelling continues to be important, particularly around sustainability.

What is also clear within the current global luxury marketplace is the changing shape of the audience, with increasing multi-generational complexity. A Bain & Company report states: “Generations X and Y are in their peak income years, representing the bulk of luxury purchases and the key pool of income growth in the near future. However, Generation Z is positioned at the forefront of social and cultural change, inspiring other generations’ value systems, with a strong desire for lived experiences and a quest for meaning. By 2030, Gen Z will account for 25% to 30% of luxury market purchases, while millennials will account for 50% to 55%.”

So, how can you engage with this ever changing and complex luxury audience demographic with a thirst for real, lived experiences? Luxury print experiences are one way to reach and inspire this vital audience.

Here at Dialogue, we have extensive experience of creating luxury magazines and the marketing strategies behind them. Although each project is bespoke and targeted according to brand, product, marketing objectives and audience, there are five fundamental elements to consider when crafting a print magazine for your luxury brand.

High-quality magazine design and production

A top-tier luxury magazine must be instantly recognisable as one, so making a great first impression and then sustaining the reader experience inside are crucial.

First impressions count – a print magazine has seconds to capture the customer’s attention and then engage with them to encourage a turn of the page. It must lead with alluring visuals that demand a closer look and the front cover is the jewel in the crown. Like the careful crafting of bespoke product, great time and attention should be taken with the choice of image, masthead and any coverlines.

High-quality magazine designs

When handled, the magazine must be a tactile experience that communicates luxury too and the paper stock of both the covers and the internal pages is something you will want to explore carefully. This principle extends to packaging too, and bespoke delivery options (which can be sustainable ones that avoid the use of plastic) can also offer a way to reinforce a luxury ethos. Further design elements such as slip covers or even beautifully crafted boxes can add a sense of theatre and experience that is appreciated by this audience. In the same way that you might present your final bespoke product to your customer with a special event and a flourish, a beautifully designed slipcover, box or presentation case for your luxury magazine is a memorable way to continue your brand’s sense of crafted luxury and bespoke design.

Once the tone is set with the cover and presentation, the high standards and attention to detail throughout must continue; even the tiniest of mistakes can undermine everything else so the publishing process must be robust. The visuals and typography on the inside must be as impeccable as they were on the outside, spelling, grammar and accuracy of information must be meticulously monitored and any advertising must be on a par with the luxury brand and above the average standard of the mass market.

UHNWI audiences are astute people who recognise at a glance where expertise lies or fails. Your printed publication must reflect the absolute pinnacle of your brand experience – where your stores, premises, hotels, vehicles or products are meticulously designed, crafted and polished in every aspect, your print publication must carry the same ethos from front to back.

Offer the exceptional with immersive storytelling

A compelling presentation alone isn’t sufficient; a luxury magazine needs to offer the reader content of a more substantial nature that they simply could not find anywhere else. One of the best techniques to achieve this is storytelling.

Stories can create immersive and engaging experiences, foster a sense of belonging and resonate on a deeper, more emotional level than cold facts alone. Better yet, they can often help generate word-of-mouth buzz and organic promotion as readers relay the story to someone else too, so expanding a brand’s reach and influence within the reader’s social circles.

“With so many competing narratives across diverse platforms – from print magazines to TV and the internet – fighting for our attention, luxury brand magazine content must stand out from the crowd,” Dialogue’s senior editor, Claire Hutchings explains. As editor of Badrutt’s Palace’s Tower Revue, Burgess’ glorious yacht publication and Bentley’s award-winning customer magazine, Claire knows that that when you tell a story, you involve the readers and create strong emotional ties with them.

“Editors of luxury brand magazines use the power of storytelling to capture attention and captivate their audience. They craft customised stories that resonate with the audience’s interests and beliefs and make them feel part of the lifestyle they perceive the brand is representing. The storytelling must inspire them, convey exclusivity and aspiration, and elevate the brand’s image.

“In Bentley Magazine and Tower Revue, which Dialogue publishes for Bentley Motors and Badrutt’s Palace Hotel respectively, we carefully curate the storytelling content around pillars which shape the structure of the magazine. These content pillars, or overarching themes, reflect the brand’s business, values and positioning as well as the passions of its luxury audience.”

Exclusive magazine content that goes the extra mile

But storytelling is only one technique of many and there are plenty of great ways to give a luxury magazine’s audience something outstanding. Another worthwhile option is exclusive content which is developed specifically for a luxury magazine based on the unique requirements of both brand and audience.

It can take a lot of hard work to arrange the perfect concept, writer, photographer, illustrator, design and so on, but the results can be spectacular. Illuminating examples of such exclusive content can be found in Bentley Magazine and Tower Revue.

“Authenticity and trustworthiness are key values of Bentley Magazine and Tower Revue,” says Claire. “This is reflected in the content, which is written by experts who have in-depth knowledge of their subject. Usually they have experienced the journey, the hospitality, the location, the activity and so on themselves and deliver an authentic and immersive account that draws the reader in on an emotional level so they will remember it forever.

“For Tower Revue, this might include accounts of the writer’s thrilling once-in-a-lifetime experience of nighttime skiing in St. Moritz or wildlife spotting in the mountains. The insight they provide is first-hand and exclusive – it’s not information available anywhere else.

“In Bentley Magazine, the car and driving features are commissioned from the best storytellers, who we know will include the tiniest observations and details, from the sensation of driving the cars to the sounds and smells around them and the anecdotes of the people they meet along the way. These exclusive features will resonate with the reader and be truly memorable.”

As part of a wider luxury marketing strategy, a prominent writer, photographer, tastemaker, influencer or other significant public figure being involved with a luxury magazine can add depth and authenticity for a brand. With the understanding that today’s luxury audience is seeking adventure, discovering, true, lived experiences within the pages of your brand’s luxury magazine captures your customer’s attention and taps into their passion for the unique.

Brand collaborations and partnerships for luxury magazines

Monetising your luxury print magazine can go some way to offsetting the cost of production, however there is a science to the careful balance of chosen brands to collaborate with and how they are positioned. The best collaborations and partnerships are intelligently negotiated so they align the interests of two or more brands and needs of the target audience.

Brand collaborations and partnerships create an appropriate connection that offers luxury magazine readers and brands alike new options – as Dialogue’s Managing Editor Jess Bennett explains in greater detail here. This can mean it becomes possible to create special features, unlock access to exclusive product launches or previews and enhance content with elements that would otherwise be out of reach or even wholly unknown to an audience. Behind the scenes, opening up additional revenue generation options, expanding to new markets with disposable incomes, improved networking opportunities and intangible but undeniable boosts to prestige and reputation are also welcome potential benefits for the brands themselves.

Distribution limits, exclusivity and sustainability

When it comes to distribution, the logic of the mass market has it that bigger is always better and no audience is ever big enough. In the more subtle luxury market, the reverse is often true and careful targeting with distribution can often be a much smarter marketing strategy, enhancing the bespoke feeling sought out by the discerning HENRY and UHNWI audiences.

At the most basic level, keeping the distribution list for your luxury magazine small avoids waste – sustainability is an absolutely vital consideration for a luxury magazine, and not just in content. Today’s luxury audience marks responsible luxury as high importance. A report published by Forbes shows that luxury industries are placing huge emphasis on sustainability, with the automotive industry’s push to fully electric vehicles by 2030 and the fashion industry’s emphasis on recycled and sustainable fashion highlighted. “Environmentally conscious Millennials and Gen-Z consumers already comprise roughly 30% of all luxury shoppers and are projected to represent 50% by 2025. Notably, 64% of consumers in those age groups are currently influenced by sustainability when making purchases,” says the report’s author Sasha Devic. “This means that luxury brands must speed up their efforts toward sustainability and conscious living to remain relevant.”

We discuss how surprisingly sustainable print can be here. Using paper from sustainable and recycled sources that actually increase and maintain forestry and actively look to decrease power and water usage and reduce waste, can significantly lower the carbon footprint of a printed magazine. Working with like-minded partners, from content agency to printers and distributors, can help reduce the environmental impact of a printed publication. A small but well-curated distribution list is also key, with targeted customers, prospects and brand fans. For the luxury audience, rare is automatically precious. A limited print run and targeted distribution gives a more personal touch that this audience appreciates and once more reduces the publication’s environmental impact.

An example of this principle in action is Cloud, which Dialogue publishes on behalf of Air Charter Service. Their customers who charter private passenger aircraft are the archetypal UHNWI audience and the magazine is posted directly to a select cohort and stocked on board as well as being available at high-profile events such as the Cheltenham Festival.

If a wider audience reach is required, then an effective magazine content strategy must also accommodate cross-platform content. Just as customers are seeking in store experiences enhanced by digital technology, so luxury print magazines must exist within a wider physical and digital strategy. Efficient content production for print allows identification of further opportunities for simultaneous content development – for instance if your print magazine has secured a high-profile interview, ensure social content and video is produced at the photoshoot, do additional short interviews and plan for multiple pieces of content for one opportunity. Efficiency, creativity and audience reach combined. For this to work at its best, collaboration between your print publication’s team and your own marketing department, social media department and brand strategists is vital.

Conclusion

By their very nature, print magazines lend themselves well to luxury marketing strategies because they can offer the customer – whether prospective or current – a tangible luxury experience that is crafted much like a luxury car or tailored suit. Curated content that is specifically targeted to the HENRY and UHNWI audience, carrying strong product representation and echoing your brand’s ethos is a hard-working tool in your marketing arsenal. A luxury print publication provides your discerning customers with yet another personal touchpoint on their journey with you, a physical interaction with your luxury brand and products that has a visceral feeling and evokes an emotional response. A beautiful print product, integrated seamlessly into the overall marketing strategy across platforms that captures attention at the top of the funnel, is an effective way to capture an audience that is both growing and changing.

Dialogue has extensive expertise in creating and crafting luxury magazines and creating cohesive cross-platform marketing strategies, so talk to us today to find out how we can help you.

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