ILN CEO, Lisa Barnard, named Luxury Woman to Watch

ILN’s CEO Lisa Barnard has been chosen as one of Luxury Daily’s 'Luxury Women to Watch 2017', an initiative celebrating high-flying female executives working within the luxury sphere. Featured alongside other prolific individuals like Stephanie Pfeffer Anton (Executive VP, Luxury Portfolio International) and Fflur Roberts (Head of Luxury, Euromonitor), Lisa also gives an interview about her work at ILN, key insights into the industry and her predictions on how luxury will evolve in 2017.

30 Jan 2017

by Andrew Hearn

  Lisa Barnard

The full article can be found here but Lisa’s views have been reposted below:

What do you most like about your job?

ILN is a content marketing agency specializing in global luxury brands.

I love seeing client activity evolve from what might be a loose idea into a fully formed brief into a beautiful piece of work, which achieves the desired results.

In the luxury sector, we have the luxury of being able to push the boundaries of engagement, as well as to finesse the final creative output appropriately for the audience.

We’re a boutique agency, so senior staff are hands-on and able to add value to major projects.

I like the fact that all members of our team genuinely care about the work we do, and take pride in the end result. It’s all about the people.

What is the biggest challenge in your job?

Being perfectly honest, it’s nothing to do with luxury.

As a smaller agency the ebb and flow of business and timings, in an unpredictable marketing environment, is the biggest challenge.

If a client doesn’t pay on time, or a project we were counting on doesn’t materialize or is postponed for whatever reason, we have to adapt and leap frog over a possible black hole, elegantly, of course.

I’m a mother of three daughters, the oldest just stopped being a teenager and the youngest is about to become one, so I know all about challenges.

But having 20-plus mouths to feed at work each month is what keeps me awake at night.

What is your work priority for 2017?

We launched the Luxury Content Network last summer and my priority is to expand it in 2017.

We have created a series of online magazines and content partnerships with global luxury brands, including Aston Martin, Sotheby’s, Raffles and Godiva Chocolatier.

Our big idea is to join up these audiences to allow access to a combined 3 million-plus affluent consumers per month and create opportunities for native advertising for third-party brands.

We believe that launching a network of luxury brand publishers is a media first.

What is your proudest achievement in luxury?

My proudest achievement is undertaking a management buy-out [MBO] of Illustrated London News (ILN) in 2007 and developing it into an agency that specializes in luxury and works with world-class brands.

I am proud of the work we create and that we punch above our weight – for our clients and for ourselves.

For example, we have just been reappointed by Aston Martin to publish their brand magazine in a competitive tender against some major companies – it’s a brand all agencies covet and we’re proud to have been retained.

We have been through one major recession, then things got better and now the climate in the U.K. post-Brexit is uncertain.

When my friends ask me what I have achieved since the MBO, I say survival.

How do you see luxury evolving in 2017?

Luxury was slow to embrace digital. Now luxury embraces digital wholeheartedly. That development has meant an extraordinary content revolution.

Content is ILN’s specialty, so we feel we are in a good space for the future.

The next biggest evolution for luxury brands will be the integration of data with content.

The luxury sector has been slow to leverage the full potential of Big Data analytics, but is perfectly poised to take advantage of it now. That will result in reducing complexity and increasing focus and effectiveness.


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