Connect With Your Audience
The Five Basics of Great Catalog Creative
The Harry and David catalog tempts with tantalizing treats. Magellan’s speaks like a fellow traveler with an arm around your shoulders. Pottery Barn invites you into a warm home you want to make your own.
For today’s catalogers, being special in the minds of their customers is the competitive difference. And with 14,000-plus catalogs out there, that’s an important realization. Following are the five basic components that can help your book stand out from the crowd.
Branding and Emotion
“There’s a soul in a catalog, where the voice speaks to you on a personal level and creates a place [to which] you’d like to return,” says Carol Worthington-Levy, a San Jose-based catalog consultant.
People make decisions based on experience and emotion with only the slightest pinch of rationality. Companies have been branding their catalogs like this for years. While much ink has been spilled on the concept of branding, the bottom line is this: A brand exists only in a consumer’s mind. Branding is nothing more than how your audience thinks and feels about your company or catalog.
What’s more, emotion doesn’t exist separately in most catalogs. It comes from the total catalog experience. Great catalogers know how to turn their books into focused, coherent customer experiences. The best ones evoke specific emotions and desires—and hopefully responses from their audiences. This focus, or emotional narrative, should guide the catalog creative down to its last detail.
Covers that Motivate
Your cover seizes customers’ attention and motivates them to open the book. More than anything else, it provides the context and emotional understanding for the overall catalog experience. It articulates the values, sentiments and human desires that form the core of your catalog’s brand.
It also illustrates the value of your products. “Pottery Barn’s covers exude a warmth that elevates the perceived value of all the products inside,” says catalog designer Anne-Marie Schmutz. “The cover environment enhances the audience’s perception of product value and makes them feel the products are worth the price.”