Bauer Media – The Value of Talk IV – Women’s talk is like an orchestra…
This post is provided by our partner Bauer Media – reaching more than 19 million adults with its influential brands. Insight Four: Women’s talk is like an orchestra whereas men’s talk is like tennis…each woman plays a different part but achieving harmony is what really matters.
Jane Bruton, Editor-in-Chief of Grazia discusses the fourth of five key insights from the recently commissioned ‘Value of Talk’ study into women’s conversations. Come on, we all know women are more complex than men – and so is their conversation, hence the orchestra/tennis analogy in ‘The Value of Talk’.
Instead of bouncing ideas back and forth like men do, women make use of their ability to multitask. When listening to a conversation between women it is often possible to hear many strands, all taking place at the same time. No matter how many different subjects are being discussed, women have an innate ability to follow the conversation and build upon it by adding their own views to the remarks and stories that others have made.
Grazia is all about capturing the moment and starting or influencing the conversation. In an earlier blog in this series, we discussed the concept of ‘on-stage’ and ‘off-stage’ conversations, with off-stage being more private and more honest discussions with trusted friends and family. It’s off-stage that brands can have the most influence over the decisions women take, but it can be difficult to gain access to this environment.
Grazia has a key role off-stage, and the inside track. As we saw in the ‘The Value of Talk’ survey, as gender roles have changed women talk about a very broad range of subjects, which Grazia’s 10 Hot stories section taps into – covering everything from Demi Moore’s marriage woes to the Amanda Knox trial, to this summer’s riots. We engage in a two-way debate between readers and our columnists by asking their opinions on issues that are genuinely affecting their lives. We provoke them that little bit further than most brands would (we’re never afraid to take a risk), and we get them involved in our debate stories via Facebook, Twitter and Grazia Feedback addresses at the end of all pieces. Grazia has the biggest postbag of any magazine I’ve worked on and we know when we’ve hit a nerve because we are literally inundated with emails and tweets. Our recent ‘casual racism’ piece was fresh, thought-provoking and really got readers going, as did Polly Vernon’s ‘Women hate me because I am thin.’ Polly and indeed all our editors have individual twitter accounts so we can engage in specialised conversations too.
Like all magazines under the Bauer Media umbrella, we make sure we’re always relevant. We make it our job to know what our readers want and need – and quickly deliver it. Readers are our lifeblood and without this focus and dedication to them we would not be able to provide the magazine that we do. But this also means readers trust us, and we have a great responsibility to make sure we always add value to the conversation to preserve our position in this off-stage work and, by extension, our influence. This gives our advertisers and partners a unique resource. Through our cross-platform service, Bauer Access, we work in a consultancy fashion to ensure that brands enter the conversation in the most appropriate way – or to use the orchestra insight, to ensure that brands choose the right instrument. As conductor, brands like Grazia are responsible for ensuring there is never a bad note.
Grazia is the number one influencer of fashion decisions. If we say, for example, friendship bracelets are in, there’s a sudden rush on them. We start trends rather than just following or reporting them. The Whistles pleated skirt we championed, for instance, not only sold out but was debated in the national press. In this case, Grazia helped Whistles play the right note.
Our influence stretches way beyond the fashion pages too. We run agenda setting surveys which spark and stir debate – our recent surveys on Mrs Big and the rise of the ‘I don’t know why she does it’ generation were debated on programmes as diverse as The Politics Show and Women’s Hour.
Because of our influence the editorial team are often invited speakers to many important round-table discussions at the highest level. Recently we contributed to discussions on Domestic Violence at a group chaired by Alan Johnson, ‘How to get more women into politics’, chaired by Theresa May and ‘how to improve social mobility’ in the industry we work in.
Like the best women’s conversations, Grazia is intelligent but not smug, thought-provoking without being snipey. We are utterly in tune with our readers concerns, worries and loves, and deliver it all in a warm, inclusive way every week. Our features often go on to influence readers’ own conversations with their friends and colleagues in that off-stage environment.
To take this interaction a step further, we are currently in the process of setting up a network of Grazia brand ambassadors. These ambassadors will be able to comment, via email and Skype; on everything that we do, even before we publish it.
An orchestra is all about achieving the right harmony, and we try to replicate this in the pages of our magazine. Grazia is still a publication that women consume by themselves and get really absorbed in, but this is increasingly now in addition to our social media offerings. Our hardcore reader will check Grazia’s twitter feed on commute to work for bite-sized insider access to, for example, the premiere of The Help last night, and take a look at GraziaDaily to see what lead actress Emma Stone was wearing… but she’ll read the magazine the next week for an in-depth feature/interview on Emma herself. The end result is three separate outlets – GraziaDaily (our ‘fashion as it happens’ post), Twitter for the reader to engage and comment, and the magazine at the centre of it all. Like an orchestra, they all come together to create the ultimate harmonious balance that our advertisers and partners can add their own unique note to – hopefully something more reminiscent of the Royal Philharmonic than Olly Murs and the Muppets on last weekend’s X-Factor!