Creative: Develop Solid Catalog Creative Through Open Communication
As the saying goes, it’s not good creative if it doesn’t sell product. But from the very start of your catalog creative process, how can you be sure you’re developing creative that will sell well? Andrea Syverson, a creative marketing strategist and president of IER Partners, a Black Forest, Colo.-based catalog consultancy, offers the following tips on building stellar catalog creative.
¥ Establish a solid relationship between your merchandising and creative teams. Your creative staff needs to know as much as your merchants do about what creative has worked in the past, says Syverson. She recommends establishing regular meetings at the start of each catalog creative cycle where these teams come together and share information. For examples of what information you should share with your creative team, read on.
¥ Inform creative with a solid merchandising analysis. All creative decisions should not be based solely on a designer’s personal opinion of aesthetics, but on sales facts, notes Syverson. Which catalog creative has generated sales in the past, and which haven’t? The first step toward better creative is keeping designers up-to-date on sales figures, so as not to repeat past mistakes, she says.
¥ Share competitive research with the creative team. Once a regular dialogue has been established between the merchandising and creative teams, analyze how your competitors offer the same products you do, says Syverson. What do you like about how your competitors display their products? Look to those competitors who are successful in your vertical, and create a positioning strategy that will set you apart. For example, if you sell turtlenecks, look at how J. Crew, Lands’ End and L.L. Bean sell turtlenecks, she says. Though you don’t want to mimic the competition, you should give the creative team visual feedback on the look of your competitors’ book.
¥ Keep the creative team informed of changes in the customer profile. Different types of people will respond to different kinds of creative, says Syverson. Have you learned something new about your customer base, either demographically or psychographically? Your creative staff needs to be aware of these data so they can make necessary changes to the catalog, such as choosing new clothing models or altering the copy voice.
¥ Tell the creative team why each item is in the catalog. Determine what makes the products in your catalog worthy of inclusion, Syverson says. Your merchandisers see thousands of products, so each product that makes it into the catalog has a reason for being there. Tell the creative teams what’s buzzworthy about each item, she says. These data can prove valuable to copywriters, photographers and designers.
Syverson provides the example of a book. If you’re selling a book written by a well-known author, perhaps the author’s name should be featured prominently. If there’s a significant passage in the book, an excerpt might prove to be an effective selling tool. Consider photographing the book open rather than closed. All relevant product data should be given to the designer so it’s explicitly revealed to the customer on the catalog page, says Syverson.
To contact Syverson e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.