“I hope I have convinced you — the only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard.” – Helen Gurley Brown
Last night Gorkana US held their first consumer brand event by hosting a media-briefing with the magazine that inspires all women to be “fun and fearless” – Cosmopolitan. The event panel featured Louise Court, editor of Cosmopolitan UK, Sara Austin, deputy editor of Cosmopolitan US, as well as Jeni-Lee Chapman, US Managing Director of Gorkana. Held at the gorgeous Hearst Tower, the media event focused on how Cosmopolitan reaches out to their main audience and maintains a consistent brand image.
With 64 international editions, Cosmopolitan has discussed the topics every girl wants to know, but might not always ask. Sara Austin spoke on the brand’s image by saying that Cosmo desires to have an “intimate relationship with its readers.” She elaborated by saying, “We want our readership to be like an intoxicating cocktail of what every woman wants in life — it should be about having fun, friends, a career… and fabulous shoes.” Austin went on to say that the Cosmo brand places itself at the forefront of providing women with relevant, trendy news, as well as topics that might not get discussed otherwise. Austin states, “We’re Cosmo, modesty is not what we do.” The overall brand message led into a discussion about who the editors believed to be Cosmo’s biggest competition in the market.
In order to attract readership, Cosmo UK editor Court says their biggest competition is fighting for a share of voice in the lives of young women. Court states, “Young women are busy. It can’t just be a nice feature, it has to be fit for purpose.” Both editors agreed that Cosmo takes the approach that content has to be tailored to “what she wants out of life.”
How is Cosmo adapting to the age of technology and digital?
Discussing the traditional versus digital approaches to content, Court suggests that twitter gives readers the chance to react to the content, and perhaps amplify the messages. Austin agreed by suggesting that digital offers Cosmo the opportunity to expand across multiple platforms and gain more exposure. The discussion narrowed in on the different ways that content can be presented online. Austin stated that online media can be displayed “more visually, viral and with more attitude.” However, both editors mentioned the importance of maintaining the essence and niche of the in-store magazine. “We don’t want our magazine to look like a website – we want to keep the beauty of the magazine. It also enables longer stories.” Both Austin and Court seemed to agree that there was a prominent audience for both traditional and digital media, the importance being to keep those audiences, as well as the beauty of both outlets.
How do you successfully pitch to Cosmo?
When asked about making pitches to Cosmo, both editors stressed the importance of due diligence, and making connections. Court and Austin contended that part of making a successful pitch is to build a relevant strategy of how to connect, while having an interesting topic to discuss. This includes doing research on recent Cosmo topics, and what the magazine covers.
Quick tips from the editors included:
- Avoid Monday morning and Friday afternoon pitches. Companies tend to hold office meetings to discuss weekly events early morning on Mondays, while Friday afternoon pitches tend to get lost in weekend emails.
- Know your deadlines. When you’re reaching out for digital content, understand that there is always a longer lead-time.
- Be Timely. The editors stressed the importance of understanding timeliness, and knowing the best time frames for getting your content to the right person.
- Research. Avoid pitching a topic that might have been covered in last month’s issue. Make sure you do your research before you pitch.
Building the Cosmo Community
The Cosmo brand is also built on bridging the gap between its international editions. Cosmo offers consumers the chance to participate in global surveys in order to create a sense of community among women. Court states, “It’s about the community of women who have something in common with you. Cosmo wants to encourage being fun and fearless, for all people, in all aspects of life.” She also went on to say that you must “always believe in yourself, and don’t listen to the naysayers.” The continuity of these messages across all the Cosmo editions is what ultimately unites the readership. This discussion provided valuable insight into developing a brand identity.
Thanks to Gorkana US for hosting this incredible event! As well, a large thank you to the panelists Louise Court of Cosmopolitan UK, and Sara Austin from Cosmopolitan US, for their terrific insight into the Cosmo brand and the future of media.
Gorgeous waterfall inside Hearst Tower