W Targets Emerging Markets With Global Style Guide

Issue introduces consumers to history of luxury brands

This month, W magazine is extending its reach with the debut of its first Global Style Guide, a special edition publication that will be distributed internationally in hopes of reaching luxury buyers worldwide. But in an interesting twist, rather than targeting the usual style capitals of Europe, the magazine is going after consumers in the emerging markets of China, Russia, India, Brazil and Dubai.

According to W vp, publisher Lucy Kriz, the magazine—which doesn’t have any international editions, save for a separate licensed version in South Korea—already has a strong following in cities like Paris and Milan. “We have such recognition there that we wanted to focus on emerging markets, where luxury consumers are harder to access,” she said. “These are incredibly powerful countries where you have more and more consumers with an interest in the kind of content that we do.”

The magazine will be comprised of content from the main November issue (also Global Style-themed) and September issue as well as new, exclusive content in the form of brand heritage pieces that tell the stories behind labels like Hermès and Cartier. “Five or 10 years ago, these emerging luxury consumers just wanted a brand name,” explained Kriz. “Now, they really want to understand the provenance and history behind these brands.”

The issue also gives W’s luxury advertisers—including big names like Bulgari as well as smaller designers like Alexis Bittar—the chance to reach new consumers in an environment they’re already familiar with, said Kriz.

As for the choice of cover star—notable because W typically chooses up-and-coming actresses over mainstream pop stars—Tonchi wrote in his editor’s letter that Katy Perry was chosen for her “unparalleled international reach.” He also had to rein in some of W's more boundary-pushing tendencies for the sake of conservative markets like China and Dubai: For example, while the U.S. edition features two different covers, one showing Perry in full cleavage-baring glory, and a second with a cropped image of Perry in a pink sweater, the internationally distributed version is only running the latter of the two.

A total of 75,000 print copies of the Global Style Guide will be distributed in the international markets, focusing on places like VIP airport lounges, premium hotels and shopping centers, while 10,000 copies will remain in high-tourist areas around the U.S. W has partnered with Bomoda, a newsletter targeting high net worth Chinese women, to handle distribution of another 150,000 digital copies. Meanwhile, Bomoda will feature exclusive W editorial content in its emails.