Marie Claire at 20: Jackie Frank on how it has evolved from a magazine to a brand

Marie Claire editor Jackie FrankAs Marie Claire celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special edition and one-hour show on Channel Seven, out-going editor Jackie Frank talks to Mumbrella about the title’s history, the changes in the industry and how being an editor now also means being a brand spokesperson.

Jackie Frank first took the helm of fashion and beauty mag Marie Claire in 1995. In those 20 years a lot has changed.

“When I first started, the job of an editor was so different to what the job of an editor is today,” Frank said. “We’ve gone through a technological revolution.

“Before there wasn’t that news cycle, there wasn’t that immediacy, there wasn’t that connectivity in terms of technology and availability of information. The whole industry has changed.

“Editors used to just deliver content and now it’s very much you have to be the front person, the spokesperson. You’ve got to come up with creative solutions and now you’ve got to integrate all the new technologies and the new platforms.

Listen to Frank’s full interview with Mumbrella

Marie Claire“You’ve got to be thinking 360, you’ve got to be thinking multi-platform,” she added.

Frank, who has risen to be group publisher of fashion and health titles at Pacific Magazines, is signing off as editor with the special anniversary edition which she co-edited with incoming editor Nicky Briger.

Asked how the industry has evolved in her time at the helm Frank said she does not think any other industry has changed as much as that of magazines.

“These are very challenging times but through challenges come greatness,” she said.

“It’s so exciting to have creativity or innovation being the thing that’s going to drive the business. We’re ensuring innovation surrounds all the brands we’re involved in and that’s the main point and that’s exciting.”

While Pacific Magazines is putting innovation at the forefront, for Frank technology has been one of the changes she found it hardest to come to terms with.

“The fact that everything is accessible. The immediacy and the accessibility,” she said.

“When Marie Claire first started we used to be the only place to find these incredible features. Now when a story breaks you Google and you’ve got the story and seven links of variations on that story.

“Those stories used to be in Marie Claire and you’d wait to read it in Marie Clarie. That’s over. That’s long gone.”

In her twenty years at the helm of Marie Claire Frank has seen audiences fragment.

“With the different platforms there’s different types of engagement. You can’t just create and publish four times,” she said.

“Different platforms have different audiences so you have to be thinking right across those different platforms and the different ways to engage them. You can’t be as tunnel visioned as you probably were when I first started.”

However Frank doesn’t blame social media, rather she says social media gives publications “instant engagement” with the consumer.

“You can see straight away if something is sticking or if its not. You can move on very quickly. It’s like focus groups on steroids,” she said.

Marie Claire the ParcelWhile Marie Claire started as a print publication in 1995, the Marie Claire brand is much more than just a magazine in 2015. In April, the brand celebrated its 10th Prix de Marie Claire Awards and in September last year it launched its sampling service The Parcel.

When asked on the importance of the brand extensions for the publication Frank said: “The important part of what you’ve just said is you started the conversation with magazine and you ended the sentence with brand. That is what we do today – it’s about brands.

“It’s about engagement with that brand and the magazine is one part of the brand, the event is another part, the digital assets are a different part of the brand, the e-commerce opportunities are another part of the brand. It’s about developing the brand in all different touch points where we started with a magazine.”

When asked on the importance of circulation figures given how much publications are extending their footprint elsewhere Frank said: “It’s about the touchpoint and the footprint of the print and brand health rather then just the numbers.”

“Magazines are up and down but it’s about the total audience and the touch points of those audiences and the engagement level of that audience,” she said.

“What’s quite incredible about brands is it’s about the authority, the engagement and the trust people have, the connection that they have.”

The last figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which covered the six months ending in December 2014, saw Marie Claire post a monthly circulation of 80,618; a decline of 9.4 per cent from the same period the year before. The next set of figures are published next Friday.

Marie ClaireTo mark the 20th milestone Channel 7 is producing a one-hour TV special celebrating the title’s achievements. It’s being produced by former Sunday Night executive producer Mark Llewellyn.

“It has a lot of twists and turns. Even Mark [Llewellyn] is surprised by what’s come out through this,” Frank said on the show.

“It’s very much looking at society through people’s stories. It’s the zeitgeist of the issues of the fabulous fashion, of the pulse of people’s stories. Hopefully it will make you cry and make you laugh.

“I’m so excited to have Mark spearing it. He’s exceptional. It’s very much having friends of Marie Claire get involved. I think people will be really engaged.”

The special airs on August 23.

Frank was appointed group publisher – fashion and health back in December last year, with Nicky Briger appointed as editor for Marie Claire in February.

Looking at the publishing industry more widely, Frank said the challenges are around finding new revenue streams and bringing brands to life “while still making money”.

“They are just fantastic brands,” she said of the Pacific Magazine titles under her remit.

“I’m so exited and so honoured to have the health titles in an Olympic year.  It’s the most exciting time. We’re rolling up and working across Seven West Media, across all the different platforms: print, Yahoo, television,” she said.

“We have ‘I Support Women In Sport’ for Women’s Health this year and we’re dialling up the Olympics component of it. There’s so many opportunities in the health area and I feel really blessed to work with great people and to bring a little of my experience to it especially on the cross-platform area.”



Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.