Cataloger Spotlight: Cataloger Discovers the Joy of Less Fun
For more than a year, Susan Landay and her staff at Trainers Warehouse discussed ways to strengthen the company’s brand. The 17-year-old catalog marketer of such training and teaching aids as buzzers, certificate frames, fidget toys, flip charts, easels and others was profitable, but Landay felt the company wasn’t realizing its full potential.
“We realized our products appealed to more than just those who were buying from us,” says Landay, the Natick, Mass.-based company’s president. “We wanted to deepen our penetration into our niche and expand our appeal.”
Last February, after some outside consultation, Trainers Warehouse launched a rebranding campaign.
Trainers Warehouse learned it was having too much fun with its brand. Though it markets fun and sometimes wacky products, the end goal is serious: to improve the effectiveness of the classroom experience by making trainers/teachers more effective at communicating and reinforcing new information. And the benefits of the products had become an afterthought to how much fun they were to use.
“To promote the aspect of fun, maybe some of the benefits of the products — of working with and purchasing from Trainers Warehouse — got a little blurred,” says George Hague, vice president at J. Schmid & Assoc., the consulting firm that worked extensively on Trainers Warehouse’s rebranding efforts. This “fun” approach limited Trainers Warehouse’s market share.
To create a more serious look and stress the innovativeness of the products without entirely losing the fun aspect, the company made several catalog creative changes. The fill and adjunct colors that used to clutter the layout pages were removed, allowing the products themselves — which are bright and colorful, in varying shapes and textures — to emphasize color and excitement. This, in turn, freed up lots of space.
The photography in the book also was addressed — particularly the images of models using the products. Hague was concerned these images conveyed too frivolous an attitude regarding the products and who would be using them. So the images were toned down and reshot with a more professional approach. “When that professionalism element was added and juxtaposed with these fun products,” Hague says, “it achieved a very nice balance.”