Creative: Refresh Your Brand
The key to keeping response rates ahead of the game for the Plow& Hearth catalog has been in revisiting the makeup of the book, said Jean Giesmann, vice president of creative services for the home furnishings catalog, when she spoke at the Hudson Valley Direct Marketing Association’s “Meet the Catalogers” luncheon held in Greenwich, Conn., in early April. “We revisited our brand a few years ago when we saw our response rates not doing so well,” she noted.”What were we doing wrong?”
Following are a few strategies officials at Plow& Hearth used to get back on track.
* They started to get a little tougher on choosing locations and models used in photo shoots, said Giesmann. Specifically, they looked for images that would liven up the brand in some way, preventing it from appearing dated.”We’ve been successful introducing a more up-to-date look without losing our brand,” she noted.
* Although Plow doesn’t specifically field customer suggestions for improvements to the book’s layout, Giesmann points out she’s started to pay closer attention to customer response to changes in presentation. “The sales performance of [a new layout] will tell me what’s turning the customer on,” she said.
* They turned to their best customers for input on cover design. A group within the company starts with 30 to 40 cover images per season, then whittles those down to just a few. “We e-mail cover images to about 10,000 of our top-tier customers, asking them if they’d like to participate in this selection,” said Giesmann. Even though no incentives are offered, a significant portion of customers do respond.
Paul Miller is a writer and editor specializing in all areas of catalog/direct marketing and e-commerce. He is the former senior news editor/Web site editor at Catalog Age.