By Kayleigh Barber • January 30, 2024 • 4 min learn •
Adam Baidawi stepped into the function of British GQ’s head of editorial content material in November 2021 at a time when the legacy men’s trend and way of life title was dealing with a essential pivot level in its id.
Not solely was Condé Nast reimagining its editorial and enterprise technique to be internationally structured, however the very thought of men’s trend and luxury was evolving from a singular supreme picture to embracing individuality. Baidawi, who had been a lifelong fan of the title, was additionally serving as the deputy global editorial director of GQ, and helped lead the refresh of the model, focusing at first on new luxury and neighborhood.
On the newest episode of the Digiday Podcast, Baidawi shared how he utilized the “new luxury” mentality to the publication’s social technique, occasions enterprise and video manufacturing, in addition to how the shift to worldwide operations strengthened the storytelling skill of GQ throughout the globe.
Under are highlights of dialog, which have been calmly edited and condensed for readability.
The foundation of the worldwide audience technique
Individuals don’t eat tradition in neat geographical boundaries. Particularly not now. Even in case you return to 15-year-old me paying a premium to purchase an imported version of British GQ, I did that as a result of I wished to portal into a totally different place… And actually curiously, earlier than we even went by means of our global transformation, 40% of Condé Nast’s visitors was coming from exterior the nation during which the content material was created and posted.
There was a 12-, or perhaps 14-week window [before the international shift] during which three totally different editions of GQ printed three totally different covers with Rami Malik… I’m speaking three utterly totally different shoot days, three utterly totally different hours-long interviews, every thing… None of us knew that the others had been engaged on this Rami Malik story. What a colossal waste of money and time and creativity.
Now we have now story editors per story, who, from the outset of their story, will accomplice with their friends on the design group, who additionally, along with designing the print journal, do the movement Instagram story reveals for epic options they usually work with the social group. The arc of a story going from the reporting stage to closing for print to launching on social, or typically skipping the print course of altogether, is rather more drawn out now. And rather more considerate. An enormous a part of that’s making an attempt to transform the approach we talk with one another as a group and the approach we collaborate, and making an attempt to take action with out having too many conferences.
A narrative editor will now have accountability for guiding a story by means of every stage of that course of and have major accountability for constructing out the thought with the design, visible and social groups to verify it launches in as stunning a approach as attainable.
In 2022, we made a fairly radical determination to, primary, transfer the occasion from September to November to align with a new global schedule we wished to have for Males of the Yr, [and number two], we lower the visitor checklist from 800 odd individuals to about 220 individuals for the dinner. We removed the staging, we removed the awards, and as an alternative we created what I might finest describe as like a actually unbelievable marriage ceremony reception dinner… A couple of individuals rise up and provides toasts and honor their mates… after which you’ve got a actually nice social gathering. And that grew to become the British GQ Man of the Yr format.
However I additionally thought there was a enormous alternative that wasn’t being taken benefit of with content material. This needs to be a social video house run… these are a few of the most well-known individuals on the planet, they usually’re dressed to the nines, we’ve received to be capturing this. The very last thing I felt was that for a menswear journal’s largest tentpole second, it form of felt odd at odds to do this as a black tie second, [which creates] fairly a restrictive gown code… We’re a trend journal so we modified the gown code, we poured a lot cash into social video and pictures and we noticed engagement undergo the roof. Once you mix video views, internet visitors and social engagement, we had been up greater than 300x 12 months on 12 months.