Last week, Appear Here’s CEO Ross Bailey sat down with David Michon to discuss what we can learn from the evolving magazine industry. Michon is the former Managing Editor of Monocle and Icon magazines. Between his editorial roles, Michon worked with property companies Capco, Lend Lease and Grosvenor Estate, helping them develop and articulate the identities of their new developments and existing neighbourhoods. Here are some of the key things he believes landlords and retailers can learn from magazine editors.
A magazine tells a story
Knowing what stories to tell requires a full understanding of your audience. “Editors select stories based on the interests of their readers,” said Michon. “The success of concept stores is because they have a specific idea of who they’re speaking to. They understand their audience’s habits and expand on them, such as marrying fashion with cafes, or book shops.”
We need great destinations to coax audiences offline, as do magazines
Magazines have adapted to the demands of the digital world by tapping into tribalism. “They need to think how they create a pilgrimage site, how they do something really specific for a really specific type of person,” says Michon, “creating a great spectacle is all well and good, but it has to be carefully tailored to your audience.”
“Independent magazines have been doing well because they create an experience around their brand,” he elaborated, touching on what has helped make Monocle such a success. Monocle doesn’t just produce a magazine, it has its own podcast, travel guides, cafes and curated stores, which have become their pilgrimage sites.
“People don’t want to just buy a magazine at a newsstand, they want the full experience. So you need to understand the whole lifestyle of your audience and know what their other interests are,” he explained. “This is about tribalism, that’s the way people want to integrate magazines like Monocle into their lives.”
Work with small brands and bring in the influencers
Working with small brands might feel like a risk for many big landlords and retailers, but ultimately they’re the ones who’ll keep you ahead of the game. “When a landlord or magazine invests in smaller brands, they brings in new people or readers. These people are the real influencers in the world, ‘the style makers’ for lack of a better word. They're the grassroots campaign,” explains Michon. “They're the ones who tell magazine editors who to write about. It’s important you don't always go for the most obvious thing.”
You need a clear creative vision and the voice of experience
Every successful magazine has a clear creative identity, and that runs through everything from their content to social media to events. “You need to have a strong creative view in the process and someone who can help direct,” Michon stressed. The best magazines and stores will often have a great creative director curating the content.
But hiring a creative director isn’t an option for many retailers and landlords. At Appear Here we’re trying to lessen that burden by building a team of Concierges to help guide brands through the process of booking a store. We’ve also built Landlord Dashboards with Idea Profiles, which give landlords essential information about the brand behind the idea, from their social following to lookbook imagery. Discover more here.