Growing a Storied Food Brand

Client: Bon Appétit
Project: Reorganize and Relaunch

Brief

Bon Appetit, Conde Nast’s premier food magazine, approached us with the challenge of growing their digital business. While the print magazine was going strong with advertisers, the digital property was underperforming with low unique visitors, page views and, consequently, revenue.

Idea

Bring the drivers of the magazine’s success with offline audiences to the web, and become online the place where food and culture meet. Authority is the competitive advantage with cooking at the core of the Bon Appetit experience. Bring images forward to drive engagement. Change the digital product to enable efficient content creation and publishing. Make social media amplify the authority of editors and distribute content. Combine forces with Epicurious. Don’t fight on the recipe SEO game. Arm the ad sales team with the knowledge, information and formats to sell digital.

Here is a comp of the Bon Appétit homepage we designed, showing a host of new strategies, tactics and features intended to drive engagement and revenue growth:

Work

We analyzed Bon Appétit’s website data, business and operations, and developed a three-year growth plan, including a shift in online editorial focus and a new digital product direction and roadmap, targeting traffic growth and deeper user engagement – pushing a full shift to mobile.  We created directional designs used to communicate product enhancements. Developed new publishing and editorial practices focused on using social to grow the Bon Appétit brand and drive consumers to the website.  We helped establish new operational processes across the print and digital teams to increase focus on digital without increasing resources.  We worked with the ad sales team on selling in digital, and developing new ad products and a story for the market. We created a 3-year financial model based on projected traffic and engagement improvements driven by the product roadmap, including budgets and revenue, and accounting for time to implement product and operational changes, and realize growth. Helped BA editor-in-chief and publisher successfully pitch CondeNast executive management for increased investment to enable the growth plan.

Here is what Bon Appétit’s new recipe page looked like, showing how to mix strong visuals and content, with community and interactivity to drive engagement:

Results

Bon Appétit moved up to #8 Food Website on ComScore (previously ranked below top 20)

Unique visits increased over 500% by the end of year 2 (from 688K to 3.5M)

Year-over-year revenue increased 111% in year 1

By the end of year 2 unique visits topped 7M