For Peter St. John, two things really get him excited about the Fashion and Luxury space: quality and creativity. These categories represent the very best in high-end products and beautiful messaging, and he says it makes the storytelling that much more exciting.
“That paired with the immense creativity behind them; whether through personal expression from a designer, the story a collection may tell, or the way a brand becomes more relevant because of current events, there is always a lot to work with,” the 29-year-old says.
As international fashion & luxury director at Condé Nast, crafting the correct communications mix and its delivery to the right recipient has always been one of St. John’s guiding principles in everything he’s done. “I remember reading magazines in high school and actually having instinctual reactions to the advertisements I saw,” he says.
Today, St. John thrives on helping brands tell their stories with an innovative approach and in a multi-platform arena. And he credits his mentor, Brendan Monaghan, the recently promoted chief industry officer of Fashion & Luxury for Condé Nast, as the person who helped him understand the connection between clients’ needs and a robust media strategy.
Last February, St. John joined CN from The New York Times where he served as fashion manager for over two years. In the short time he’s been with the company he’s had plenty of big wins, including Condé Nast Traveler’s current partnership with Louis Vuitton.
“After not running with CNT for a few years, we reintroduced [the brand] in 2016 with a robust print and digital schedule. We are now doubling the Louis Vuitton business for 2017; I’d have to say the great market share increase we had as a result has been very gratifying. Becoming the exclusive Travel partner for brands such as Rolex and LV clearly comes to show CNT’s strength,” he says.
St. John also recently took over the Beverage & Spirit categories at CNT, so he’s looking forward to adding some great wins from that vertical soon. The Spirit and Travel industries are so intrinsically linked, St. John believes there are endless opportunities for CNT to help marketers get their message out to the right audience.
Where does St. John want to be 10 years from now? He admits that role doesn’t exist yet.
“The media industry is evolving at such a clip, I’d rather look at 5 to 10 years out and say that I hope I’ve helped with that evolution by leading by example,” he says. “The big deals—the groundbreaking projects that people look back on and say, ‘That was a great campaign,’ or ‘There was a partnership that helped revolutionize how we do business.’ I want to be involved in as many of those projects as possible.”
For now, St. John is excited getting Fashion & Luxury brands more comfortable with branded content—an area where he believes there is much more opportunity. It’s a delicate balance since creative and message is such an important part of their identity, “but trust is key.”
St. John says that “If you trust your media partner enough, then they become a brand partner and will only work to help tell your brand’s story in the most compelling and engaging way. My goal is to become that trustworthy for some of the biggest brands in the luxury business. There are always major projects in the works—but none I can speak to until they’re live!”