Watermark - The Catalogue of the RNLI (841 words)
The Catalogue of the RNLI
The catalog selected for this issue's look at unique positioning and creative breakthrough is Watermark: The Catalogue of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). This catalogue was recently selected as one of the category winners at the 1998 European Catalogue & Mail Order Day's (ECMOD98) first Catalogue Awards. To the judges, this was one of the most well-conceived and best executed catalogues of the show, a unique honor for a not-for-profit, fundraising catalogue. Other than those for museums, successful not-for-profit catalogs are scarce in the United States. The RNLI catalogue shows us how it's done, with its most recent, Holiday 1998 issue.
The RNLI catalogue successfully combines several ingredients critical to any catalog's success: Merchandising and creative elements work to support one another and bolster overall brand recognition.
Margaret Creech, Watermark's merchandising and buying manager, together with a small team of buyers and re-buyers, give the catalogue life with a marvelous selection of items—well beyond what one might expect for a typical not-for-profit institution's gift catalog. The merchandise categories include:
• Christmas cards
• Calendars and family organizers
• Christmas decorations
• Food items
• Nautically related products
• Clothing and clothing accessories
• Personalized items
• Travel-related items
• Books, maps and puzzles
• Gardening products
• Kitchen and cooking items
• Home furnishings and home helper items
The catalogue features a number of bundles and product offers that entice the consumer to increase the average order value.
This full-sized, 48-page catalogue is exceptionally conceived and executed. It is printed on a matte stock that is careful not to look overly glossy and expensive. The front cover clearly presents and reinforces the brand by greeting the consumer with a window in the shape of a boat's portal, that leads the consumer into the gift world of RNLI. The unreserved statement, "ALL proceeds from this catalogue go towards helping save lives at sea," presents the catalogue's mission at the outset. And the distinctive RNLI logo, prominently displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the cover, answers any questions the consumer may have regarding whom is doing the saving. The design is balanced, and the message is in no way ambiguous.