How Cosmopolitan reinvented itself

Cosmopolitan is undoubtedly one of the most iconic women’s magazines of all time.

At the beginning of 2015, however, it found itself suffering from a tired reputation and an increasingly competitive market.

Speaking at the Festival of Marketing, editor-in-chief Farrah Storr and commercial strategy director Georgina Holt, explained how the brand has turned around its fortunes in a short space of time.

Here’s a summary of what they said:

Rule 1: Look in the mirror

The first action Cosmopolitan undertook was to ‘slay the sacred cows’.

In other words, it decided that the very things that it was most famous for – like horoscopes, centrefolds and sexually-charged headlines – were the very things that were holding it back.

So, it was out with the old, and back to re-discovering what current consumers actually care about.

Rule 2:  Forget about ego

With the realisation that Cosmopolitan needed to shake off its old stereotypical hallmarks, it also reassessed how it was distributing content.

With content consumption changing, it was apparent that the magazine needed to do more to engage new and loyal consumers elsewhere.

As well as making changes to its distribution model – such as reducing the price to £1 and its reliance on gifting – it also focused on a ‘pop up’ approach.

This meant working with retail partners to curate ‘Cosmo’ experiences in locations like Westfield and the Trafford Centre.

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