Glamour Magazine Gets an All-American Makeover

But can it keep sales from slipping?

In the year since former InStyle publisher Connie Anne Phillips left the Time Inc. fold to join Condé Nast as vp, publisher of Glamour, the magazine has undergone a significant transformation.

Under the watchful eye of company artistic director Anna Wintour, editor in chief Cindi Leive brought in new talent (including creative director Paul Ritter from Elle) to execute a redesign of the book. At the same time, Phillips was implementing her own makeover of the magazine’s business side, restructuring the creative services department and making new hires in senior positions.

Now, Phillips is unveiling the results of her recasting of Glamour with a new brand campaign.

At the core of the makeover is a new tagline—“Live the life, fill it with Glamour”—and a brand manifesto that describes the magazine and its readers as “unmistakably American, unwavering in its optimism and wide open to the possibilities ahead.”

That all-American “optimism” has a very pointed marketing purpose, as Phillips sees it.

“If you walk into a dressing room optimistic, you’re more likely to buy everything you try on,” she explained. “Optimism means there’s something worth shopping for.”

Redefining the Glamour brand also meant understanding what the magazine isn’t. “We’re not about the red-carpet moment or fantasy,” said Phillips. “Our obsession is the occasions that take place in women’s everyday lives.”

That doesn’t mean Glamour eschews aspiration. Phillips underscores the magazine as part of Condé Nast’s “culture of excellence.” The redesign, featuring the work of A-list photographers including Tom Munro and Cedric Buchet, has also increased the magazine’s chic factor.

Jane Deery, CEO of PGR Media, applauds the changes. “I think that over the past few years, Glamour as a brand lost its soul. They had a reach story, but they didn’t have a [brand] story,” she said. Now, she added, “They’ve put themselves into a really strong arena. The message is less ‘Let’s tell you how to dress for that date’ and much more positive.”

The rebrand is a tactic that Phillips used to great success at InStyle, Deery pointed out. “She’s proven herself in the past, and I think that’s why Condé really wanted her,” she said.

The magazine’s new direction has already had a positive effect on its ad business, which had been uneven in recent years. Glamour shot up to sixth place from eighth place in ad pages among a competitive set of nine titles in the first half of the year versus 2013. In the first quarter, ad pages were up 12 percent, per Publishers Information Bureau.

Among Glamour’s new advertising clients are Parfums Givenchy, Nordstrom, Apple, Swarovski and American Express.