Luxury Industry Profile: Lynette Phillips – CEO & Founder, MAXMEDIALAB

Working in publishing for over 20 years is not an easy achievement; with tight deadlines and constant pressure it takes a resilient person to survive it. Lynette Phillips had more than 20 years’ experience in sales, publishing and client concept development with Hearst, Mondadori, Northern & Shell and Australia’s ACP before she turned her hand to communications management.

Her publishing career was truly remarkable. She’s been responsible for overseeing titles including Cleo, Dolly, Cosmopolitan, Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Day, NW and TV Week. For the fashion conscious she launched Harper’s Bazaar (March 1998), Grazia (October 2008), Madison (March 2005) and Shop Till You Drop (2006).

From magazines she created commercialised products, turning ACP properties and projects into retail, fashion, beauty and luxury brands. Successes include 30 Days of Fashion & Beauty, 30 Days of Health & Wellbeing and ACP’s Beauty Awards.

She turned publishing successes into digital leaders through the launch of Grazia, Australian Women’s Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Shop Till You Drop online.

Not bad – for a First Act.

Since leaving publishing, Phillips has used her vast experience and networks to build her own media agency – MAXMEDIALAB. Her impressive client list includes Moet & Chandon, Audi, Hermes, Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics, Swarovski and Ralph Lauren.

Lynette was the only Australian businesswoman named on New York’s Luxury Daily, “Luxury Women to Watch” list. ” Her story is one of setting of setting goals, meeting them and aiming higher next time around. said Luxury Daily editor-in-chief, Mickey Alan Khan.

Fashion Initiative spoke to Lynette about the business of Luxury and what MAXMEDIALAB offers.

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You had a remarkable career at ACP (now known as Bauer Media) as Director of Sales, what inspired you to set up MAXMEDIALAB?

I created MAXMEDIALAB three years ago as a full service media agency run predominantly by women, offering a strong woman’s lifestyle perspective and understanding to prospective clients.

When MAXMEDIALAB launched, the marketplace was cluttered with many agencies offering different parts of the solution for their clients. No other agency offered the full list of services that MAXMEDIALAB could provide, including media buying across all mediums: magazines, TV, outdoor, radio, internet, native advertising; publicity strategies; identifying social media channels; and creative celebrity management.

I went against what everyone else was doing, knowing that it would make economic sense to clients to consolidate practices and save them both time and money.

Your agency boasts prestigious luxury clients and very strong brands. Aside from PR, marketing and media buying, how does your agency create sales-orientated results for your clients?

We work with our luxury clients to build brand loyalty by sending out customised direct mail pieces to their customers. Not only does this thank them for their business, but it also reminds them to think of our client again the next time they purchase from within their category. Our direct mail pieces are always unique and represent our clients’ values of luxury, quality and craftsmanship.

Within the digital space we have been achieving strong results in lead generation. We are now able to reach consumers within each phase of their purchase decision through various platforms across digital and convert contact to sales for our clients.

We are also achieving strong sales results for our clients by leveraging our other business MAX CONNECTORS, which specialises in digital media and influencer collaboration. Among the MAX CONNECTORS talent portfolio are the top three beauty bloggers in Australia with a combined reach of over 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube. They also have huge followings across other social media platforms. Online influencers have become an essential part of brands’ media strategies and our clients have seen strong sales results following their collaborations with our influencers.

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Did you have many relationships with your clients prior to setting up MAXMEDIALAB from your publishing days?

Having worked at ACP Magazines I had 20 years’ experience with international publishing companies and key clients within the industry. However, when I opened the doors of MAXMEDIALAB just over 3 years ago, I had to start from scratch. I started with no clients and only one staff member. Today I have 24 staff.

You were the only woman to be named by New York’s Luxury Daily list as the one to watch, with editor-in-chief Mickey Alam Khan saying:  “Her story is one of setting goals, meeting them and aiming higher next time round.” Has your background in publishing been an advantage in offering your clients extra services that perhaps a normal media buying and PR agency doesn’t offer?

Clients have responded positively to the full service offering. MAXMEDIALAB allows clients to consolidate their business practices efficiently, giving them the opportunity to streamline their lengthy and often costly planning times from three months to one week. This holistic philosophy has attracted strong international clients including eBay, Audi Australia, L’Oréal Paris, Unilever, La Prairie, Napoleon Perdis, Hermès, Patrón and Moët Hennessey.

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Tell me about your new division, MAX CONNECTORS …

Specialising in digital media and influencer collaboration, MAX CONNECTORS handpicks talent based on their expertise in their chosen field, brand positioning across the beauty and lifestyle sectors, and their extensive reach across owned digital and social media platforms.

Boasting a growing portfolio of seven influencers, MAX CONNECTORS offers brands access to millions of consumers in Australia and across the globe, helping amplify their desired brand messaging and deliverables via new media platforms.

As I mentioned, among the MAX CONNECTORS talent portfolio are the top three beauty bloggers in Australia – Lauren Curtis, Chloe Morello and Karissa Pukas. Their 3.5 million YouTube subscribers – and casual visitors – spent over 350 million minutes watching YouTube content from just those three bloggers.

Is there much growth for luxury brands in Australia at the moment? 

Luxury goods in Australia have experienced growth fuelled not only by the domestic market but also a significant proportion of sales from inbound tourists. We have seen many luxury brands expanding their presence in Australia as the market presents growth opportunity outside Europe and the US, and Australians share an appreciation and similar taste for luxury brands. High disposable incomes make Australia an exciting growth market for luxury brands. Our cities are also among the most visited so there is a constant stream of inbound tourists who are looking to make a luxury purchase.

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In the luxury realm, what are the constant successes and what’s the next ‘big thing’?

Cosmetics and accessories continue to be an excellent revenue source for luxury brands, whether people are investing in the future of their skin, with luxury skincare brand La Prairie, or in the craftsmanship of a Hermès bag. Customers invest in the story as much as the overall functionally or aesthetic of the product. This will continue to be important for brands that strive to connect with customers in a creative and meaningful way. We are seeing growth across other luxury sectors including automotive and luxury experiences – dining out, travel and of course, champagne, wine and spirits.

How should these brands connect with their customers in a crowded marketplace?

The growth medium continues to be in digital. The digital advertising spend for FY14 was $4.4 billion, which is up 22 per cent year-on-year. The highest growth within digital is coming from video, mobile, social networks, exchanges and Apps. Things we are excited about are wearable technology, digital initiatives that deliver value to customers, continuing to create content that inspires customers and refining the targeting of our digital advertising to an even more personal level.

 To learn more about the services offered by MAXMEDIALAB, their luxury client list, and Max Connectors, visit www.maxmedialab.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

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