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Fact Finding: Instyle Magazine Essay

Instyle is a women’s fashion magazine originally launched in the United State by Time Warner Inc. The magazine issues monthly, providing photographs and articles about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and celebrity styles to readers. (http://www.instylemag.com.au/about.asp) After 18 years development, Instyle becomes an international brand that has editions in seventeen countries. The brand has five extensions – the InStyle website, InStyle Weddings, InStyle Hair, InStyle Makeovers, and Instyle books. The mission of Instyle is to translate high fashion and celebrity glam into options for readers to buy and try (Instyle Media Kit, 2012). Instyle targets 18 – 50 years old women, with the core target market being from 25 – 35 years old. Most of them have college educational level while some of them attended graduate program.

They are financial independent. Many of them have home ownership (Instyle Reader Profiles and Circulation, 2011). They are interested in the “trend of the moment”. They focus on building and enhancing their own personal styles. Because of their busy career, they don’t have much free time to discover fashion by themselves. Thus, they are willing to receive dressing guides and suggestions by professional experts. Instyle ranks 43 in the Top 100 Magazine by Circulation, with a rank of No.3 in women’s fashion magazine. Within women’s fashion magazine industry, Instyle competes with the likes of Cosmopolitan and Glamour. Instyle competes with Glamour in circulation. Glamour circulated 2.3 million in 2011, while Instyle circulated 1.7 million. Instyle was only 0.6 million behind Glamour (Top 100 Magazine by Circulation, 2011).

Cosmopolitan, the main and biggest competitor of Instyle is the best seller in the women’s fashion magazine category with a circulation of 3 million (Top 100 Magazine by Circulation, 2011). Covering wider topics than Instyle, the content of Cosmopolitan includes articles on relationships, sex, health, careers, and self-improvement. According to statistical distribution of Cosmopolitan’s contents, contents on relationships holds equal weightage as the combined contents on fashion and beauty. In a survey conducted to know which fashion magazines women are most involved with, 52% of the participants voted for Cosmopolitan while only 35% of them supported Instyle (Cosmo Media Kit, 2012). Comparing to its competitors, a strength that makes Instyle stand out is the practical beauty advice it offers. Instyle believes that everyone has his/her own attributes. Hence, Instyle teaches readers how to optimize their attributes and how to connect fashion with their attributes (NBC News, Feb 2009).

Readers make use of these advice and fashion tips from experts to choose the right clothes and make up for their own style (The Daily Telegraph, Sep 2012). The magazine gives readers different dressing codes for different professions. In its latest September issues, a brand named Ann Taylor presents a style guide for different occasions including “the editor”, “the agent”, “the creative director” and “the entrepreneur”(MIN Media Industry Newsletter, Sep 2012). Although this style guide may indicate that Ann Taylor has various pieces suitable for any occasion, it also inspire readers about which style fit their job best and what pieces are included in that style (Introspection). In 2011, Instyle cooperated with Selfridge, the world’s best department store, to launch a multi-platform little book of beauty advice. After launching the book, Instyle packed all the advice into a stand-alone beauty bible, distributed within the magazine as a free supplement.

The Instyle editor viewed the supplement a good way to share beauty knowledge with readers (Targeted News Service, Mar 2011). In order to have deep understanding about the reputation of Instyle, I interviewed several friends who follow fashion magazines about what are the differences between Instyle and other top fashion magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour. They all agreed about the “reality” of Instyle – Instyle speaks to how we can take the things we see in other “luxury” magazines like Cosmopolitan and make them real (Introspection). Another strength Instyle has is that clothes showed in the magazine are more realistic and attainable.

The editor of Instyle, Ariel Foxman, claims that Instyle features more mass-market advertisers and fewer luxury brands (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/instyle_out_vogue_in_ad_pages_JQy5NKdnewboUZDmQy6QUL). Unlike Cosmopolitan and Glamour that have more beautiful spreads but feature more exclusive brands that many people cannot afford, Instyle is a middle-class friendly magazine because of focusing on mass brands (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/09/business/media/09mag.html). Instead of showing how creative and encompassing fashion can be, Instyle embraces the simple way of displaying clothing and accessories average people can really wear. I have subscribed Instyle for two years.

There are certain sections of Instyle that I view as Instyle’s opportunities to gain more readers. First, I love the piece-by-piece break down in Style File. It makes it easy to see what each individual piece should look like so I know what to look for. Another favorite is the Party Guide section in the entertainment portion of the magazine. Each month, this article provides a menu, decorating ideas, and a preparation schedule for throwing a party. Although I have never followed a whole party plan, I often steal bits and pieces to add a special touch to events I am involved with. These two sections I enjoy most, again, contribute to the reality of the magazine. (Introspection).

Key Insight – Instyle magazine
Fashion is no longer expensive and abstract. Women’s fashion magazines can bring fashion closer to the real life.

Creative strategy – Instyle magazine
Who is our target?
Realistic doer

* They are middle to upper class women between ages 20 – 50. Most of them have college educational level. They have an average household income of $60000 or greater. Being independent both mentally and materially, many of them have the house ownership. * They are ambitious. They believe that if you love something, you have to try your best to pursuit it. Therefore, pictures and advertisements on the magazine cannot satisfy them, they often want to own pieces wore by the celebrities and models. They are doers rather than dreamers. * They are adventurous. They are interested in exploring new dressing experience, so they are willing to find and try different styles presented on the magazine. Where are we now in the minds of this person?

* The up-to-date entertainment reports in Instyle are interesting to look at. * Instyle is bulky and thick, with too many advertisements. * Instyle is closed to the real life because of its shopping session that tells you where to shop a particular piece, and its makeup and dressing tips. Where is our competition in the minds of this person?

* Cosmopolitan. Magazines like Cosmopolitan contain more various and diversified topics than Instyle. Those topics important in a women’s life, including love, relationship, fitness and health. * Vogue and Elle, depict fashion as an art. Focusing on the high-end couture, Vogue and Elle stimulate readers’ imagination about how beautiful will they be if they own all the luxury clothes made with expensive materials. Where would we like to be in the mind of this person?

* Instyle is a realistic magazine. It does not purely present advertisements of luxury brands. It guides readers to discover the little celebrity stylist inside of them. * Instyle focus on how to get the style you like, how to alternate your current clothes, which pieces to get, how to make those pieces work for multiple outfits. What is the consumer promise, the “big idea”?

* You will enjoy a fashionable world where fashions are affordable, readable and practicable. At the same time, you will gain lots of useful instructions and advice about how to style yourself. What are the supporting evidences?

* Instyle has more mass-market advertisers than other fashion magazines, so brands on Instyle are inexpensive, can be afforded by middle class women. * Instyle already has some readable news – it provides an insight into the world of Hollywood glamour and trends, also celebrity stories (without gossip). * Instyle has an interactive online game on its official website to test readers’ fashion tastes. After readers complete the genius’s look, the site rewards with points to the genius and provide advice of how to make it trendier. The game makes fashion practicable and realistic because it is an educational guide telling you how to dress yourself. What is the tone for this advertising?

* Clever, realistic
The Product Manifesto – Instyle magazine, fashion is not a dream.
You graduated from college for four years. Now you have a decent job in
Manhattan New York. Living in the world’s fashion center, living at the age of 27, you feel that it’s important for a woman to keep up-to-date and follow the latest fashion trend.

However, you have no idea where to start. You buy fashion magazine every month (you have tried many of them except Instyle). You see lots of pictures and advertisements of latest styles but you are still confused. You appreciate fashion as an art but you feel fashion is untouchable. Dreaming about clothes on those luxury designers’ advertisements is a waste of time because you still buy nothing new after flipping over a heavy six-hundred-page fashion magazine.

It’s Saturday again, you have a free afternoon of your own. Looking forward to productive shopping experience, you decided to count on fashion magazines one more time. You pick instyle from the magazine crowd in convenient store. After one hour, you walk out of your apartment and go shopping happily because you finally know how to make your fashion dream come true.

Following the tips and guides on the magazine, you find the right place to get the style you like. You even find some accessories that models wear in fashion shows! This time you are finally able to get something back after flipping over hundreds of pages. You are finally able to get something back before the stores close. “Fashion can be something I can really wear,” you stand in front of your mirror and smile.

This is who we are. We are realistic. We aim at making fashion real. Fashion is not a dream because we help you get your dream style by providing you the locations of every piece in each picture. Fashion is not a dream because we help you get your dream style by offering you tips about what you should buy to get a certain style you want. Fashion is not a dream because we help you get your dream style by presenting mass-market advertisements, not only high-end designers. Fashion is not dream because we help you get your dream style by putting up inexpensive pieces on our pages.


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