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October 31st 2018

Tell your story through brand publishing

Let’s face it; the customer magazine is a bind, right? All that content to be sourced – the interview with the new VP of springs and washers who was the only one to say yes, the customer who agreed to give you a testimonial only for you to learn now owes you stacks of cash and isn’t returning accounts calls and then there’s that profile on the parts manager whose now suspended pending investigation into his eBay business. But it really doesn’t have to be like this.

Customer magazines are a well established channel to engage brands with owners – a true opportunity to deliver the perfect combination of stories and working life content both in print and digitally. Publishing your own magazine provides the potential to become a trailblazing brand within your market. But, it’s how you approach the opportunity that counts...

Know your audience

This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many brands don’t know their customers’ as well as they ought to. This can certainly be true when products are sold through independent dealerships and that’s a story on it’s own. Get to know them, find out how, where, when and why? You can’t begin without this knowledge.

Plan, plan, plan

Yes, it takes time and indeed effort, but the more you get right before you begin your first issue the better. Ask yourself . . . What’s the shape and size? What’s the frequency? What’s the editorial tone and style? Are you image or copy led? Will there be regular features? How many copies printed? Will it be print only or available in digital format? This is important from the outset, don’t try to shoehorn a printed magazine onto the web at a later date. If you’re going out all guns blazing then the form and function must match that of the media.

Content is king

Have a clear content plan. Make it authentic and reinforce the owners’ decision to purchase your vehicle. A recent survey by Jaguar Land Rover found that 85% of people who read their magazines were more positive about the brand. Quality stories, photos, illustrations and video must be at a premium level connecting with other brand messaging via social media, experiential and direct marketing.

Use the MacGuffin

Alfred Hitchcock popularised the term MacGuffin, a plot element that catches the viewers attention to great effect – in crook stories it’s almost always the necklace and in spy stories the papers. What’s your MacGuffin? Surprise them.

Hold your nerve

The brand history books are littered with well-intentioned customer magazines that bit the dust because it was easy to dump them when the budgetary belts got tightened. Don’t add your publication to this list; if the history books teach us anything those brands that lost their nerve also lost a bit of their soul too.

Still with us?

If all this sounds like hard work it is, but the rewards are waiting for you. Leave mediocrity as the preserve of your competitors, right now an opportunity exists to steal a march and become a truly trailblazing brand. Be that brand, claim that ground.

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