When we think of this fashion icon, the first few words that come to mind include power, glamour, sophisticated, graceful and the main one being a fashion guru.
What Anna Wintour has done with Vogue is an example that brands can learn from in terms of brand personality, brand essence and brand strategy.
Some of these insights include:
1. Executing a clear vision
Anna’s vision of aspiration, trendsetting, elegance, being ahead of the curve, is consistently visible across all media touch points, from the magazine to stylists to photographers and even on the online platform. The benefit in this case is consistency, which often brands struggle with. Therefore, wherever and whenever a consumer is exposed to the Vogue brand, they would see the same message and hence explains the success of the Vogue brand where Wintour is able to maintain a strong balance between her vision and the integrity of the magazine.
2. Keeping your consumer at the heart of the brand
Wintour’s creativity and innovation was not only the best in the industry but it defined the fashion industry. She was the first one to start the popular “high-low” fashion trend, which is wearing a high-end top combined with a high-street pair of jeans. This way Vogue was able to reach the aspirational consumer without excluding the affluent consumer base. Being able to appeal to both segments equally without cannibalizing one another and staying true to Vogue’s brand essence is what the other brands can learn from Wintour’s empire.
3. Don’t be afraid to make a change
When everyone else in the fashion industry was getting supermodels to be on the cover of Vogue, Anna Wintour decided to go in the other direction and feature celebrities instead. In this way, Vogue got the first mover advantage and was able to extend itself in the entertainment industry where everyone wanted to be associated with the Vogue brand. This is an example for other brands to not hesitate to make a change. If they feel there is a potential, they must jump on the opportunity because it might be too late before they realize that it is gone!
4. Charity is everyone’s responsibility
Anna Wintour partnered with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume department and helped raise over $50million thereby, attaching the brand Vogue with corporate social responsibility and made it stand for something much greater than just glitz, glamour and style. Charity is a form of giving and it does not matter how big or small the value is as long as one is contributing to the society in some way to better the lives of people.
5. Transparency is key
Being transparent, helps a company to gain the trust from the audience be it consumers, shareholders, society etc. In the case of Vogue, Anna Wintour allowed cameras to follow the teams throughout while the largest September issue was being produced. It became an extremely popular documentary as people were deeply fascinated and excited to learn about the workings of a global brand like Vogue. This helped in gaining customer loyalty which in turn, means increased word-of-mouth marketing, which we know is the best form of marketing. Also, it would lead to consumers becoming ambassadors of Vogue thereby increasing the equity of the brand.
6. Be different and significant
Vogue is still the industry standard due to Anna Wintour’s continued efforts of creating synergy across all the mediums. Wintour has ensured that continuous innovation takes place and also that there is an engaged employee community where members can voice out their opinions for the greater good of the brand Vogue. There is open communication within the organization which creates a healthy environment and brings out the best in the employees. If the members are not empowered, then the brand cannot and will not succeed.
I have personally followed Anna Wintour’s journey, watched the documentary ‘The September Issue’ and I can say that one of the main reasons for Vogue’s success is that Wintour leads by example. She knows exactly what she is out there to achieve and that not only helps her team but it drives continuous innovation thereby, maintaining Vogue’s status as a market leader.
Lastly, as Anna Wintour quotes, “In the end I do respond to my own instincts. Sometimes they’re successful, and obviously sometimes they’re not. But you have to, I think, remain true to what you believe in.”
American University in Dubai