Catalog Cover Controversies, Part 1
When it comes to controlling what should be on a catalog's cover, it seems like everyone gets into the act, even the company president's wife. When there's that much input, inevitable differences arise. This series on catalog covers will provide guidelines for handling those differences of opinion. (Stay tuned for part two next month.)
The first step to resolving any controversies surrounding your catalog cover involves coming up with answers for the following three questions that most every prospect receiving your book for the first time will have:
- "Who are you?"
- "What do you sell?"
- "Why should I bother opening the cover and looking inside?"
These are unspoken questions in a prospect's mind when they see your cover. These questions also exist in the minds of your one-time and lapsed customers, who often don't quite remember what your brand is.
If yours isn't a well-known and loved brand (e.g., L.L.Bean, Tiffany, Lands’ End), then your catalog cover needs to answer those unspoken questions. Here are some other cover features that you need to decide if they make sense for your brand:
- Does your catalog's name make completely clear who you are and what you sell?
- Does your catalog cover image make completely clear who you are and what you sell?
- Do both together?
If none of the above, then you should consider adding a tagline. Consider some of these examples:
Important-sounding name, but all by itself it could apply to anything from vitamins to safety equipment. Add the cover's image of delicious-looking cooked fish and the reader assumes, "They sell fish." A correct assumption, but it's incomplete. Now add Vital Choice's tagline, "Wild Seafood & Organics." We see it's not just fish, it's seafood. And not just any seafood, but wild seafood and more. That combined name/image/tagline clearly communicates what Vital Choice is and what it sells, right from the cover.
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or email@example.com.