Branching Out: Successful Spin-off Titles Expand Coldwater Creek’s Brand Territory
One way Coldwater Creek bridges the brand is by keeping the product organization of all three titles consistent. It favors a more eclectic mix of items on spreads, rather than relegating like items to compartmentalized sections. This lively format makes it easier for a company to test a few out-of-category products in the catalog without having to commit to an entire section of merchandise.
Another brand-building technique that is supported by the cross-over between the titles is the ability to occasionally sell the same products in more than one book.
For example, a crocheted raffia hat graces the pages of both Northcountry and its more formal sister, Spirit of the West. In Northcountry, the hat is grouped with numerous products from diverse categories, such as apparel, accessories and housewares/gifts.
The hat receives slightly different treatment in Spirit of the West, where it’s shown with fewer items—all apparel and accessories, in keeping with this catalog’s mission. The copy for the hat is similar in both books, but the Spirit of the West catalog includes more detail and speaks to a more worldly customer. The prices are identical.
The Internet: Everyone’s Spin-off?
In a way, states Hodgson, a catalog company’s Web site can be viewed as a spin-off: It’s yet another vehicle with which to move product.
The Internet has certainly become a more immediate concern that has the attention of top brass at Coldwater Creek. The company has budgeted $1 million to market the new site this fall and moved up the debut of the entire line of merchandise from all three catalogs on the Web site to the end of July—beating the original deadline by a month.
“In the coming millennium, we want to be extremely efficient in the catalog and Internet channels,” says Shonk-Simmons. “The big questions deal with getting the channels right,” she explains. What catalog companies are trying to predict is how many customers are going to prefer shopping on the Internet and how many will stick with the catalog.