Lexus revamps branded magazine and Web site

Lexus and Story Worldwide have re-launched the Lexus online magazine and redesigned the North American print edition.

A loyalty and brand-building quarterly, Lexus is mailed for free to anyone who owns or leases a Lexus vehicle. By placing the magazine’s content online, the luxury car company is expanding its reach beyond its rate base of 860,000 to draw in potential consumers. Story Worldwide created the site and publishes Lexus magazine.

“We think the way forward for the brands we work with is engaging with people through the value of a well-told story,” said David Betz, creative director for Lexus magazine. “It deepens brand awareness and engagement and increases the authority that Lexus has as a brand to comment on things other than luxury autos. It shows Lexus can step out and talk about lifestyle topics, and Lexus owners trust them and appreciate that.”

“It’s not advertising,” added Cathy Swift, account director for Story Worldwide. “It gives useful content and is reader-focused, not corporate-focused. We do regular reader surveys, and we know they want to hear about travel and food and fine living.”

The print version of Lexus magazine debuted its new look and enhanced content in the January 2008 issue. New editorial sections include Lexus News, which reports on Lexus products, services, owner benefits and partnerships, a Spotlight feature on Lexus owners and Lexus Sense, dedicated to products and events to help Lexus owners indulge. “LEXicon Culture Pages,” reporting on lifestyle interests such as travel and design, and “Sensibility,” an essay featuring an innovator, are also new sections.

Through its regular reader surveys, Story has discovered that at least 85% of Lexus readers spend more than 30 minutes with each issue and pass the magazine along to two or three more people. Reader feedback also indicated that the magazine’s ads — mostly featuring real estate, jewelry and other luxury items — were valued by the readers.

In re-launching the Lexus Web site, Story added multimedia content, like Google Maps and videos. In the first month after the redesign, the site’s traffic doubled.

Lexus magazine online serves a dual purpose, both spreading brand awareness and collecting information. Visitors are exhorted to register as Lexus owners on the site, and all user comments on Lexus products are sent to the car maker’s corporate headquarters. It also directs users to the vehicle site for more information about Lexus products, and Swift reports a “fair amount” of click-through from online magazine stories to the product site.

Story Worldwide is a custom content creator that has worked with Unilever, RCI and Agent Provocateur, among others.

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