Transforming the West Midlands longest-running business magazine...

PROSPER Magazine is the Black Country's longest-running business publication so, when the Black Country Chamber of Commerce decided it was time for a rebrand, they spoke to Interactive Magazines.

The Chamber team had a clear vision of the type of publication they wanted PROSPER Magazine to be and the type of content they wanted to provide their members.

Over time, the existing magazine had developed into a newsletter-style publication that focused on success stories from members alongside an array of commercial features. The layout was looking a little tired and online readers were non-existent due to a clunky online flipbook that was unusable on mobile devices.

To start the rebranding process, it was important to determine how the new printed publication would look and feel, and we assessed an array of printed magazines to determine style preferences and paper stocks.

The magazine needed to transform into a high-quality, premium business publication that businesses would look forward to reading and would be proud to have in their reception area.

The decision was made to utilise an uncoated offset material for both cover and inners and, with an increase to 84 printed pages, a move away from the standard saddle-stitched offering to a sturdy perfect-bound magazine allowed the publication to be enhanced with a 4.5mm spine design.

When it came to page layout the brief was pretty simple. The magazine needed to step away from the outdated newsletter style pages, crammed to the margins with supplied content and poor quality photographs. The new PROSPER Magazine should provide readers with informative content displayed in a clean and comfortable manner, utilising great photography and a mix of contemporary and classical typography.

Digital publishing must be interactive and mobile-friendly

With over 70% of under-forties turning to their mobile devices to consume informative content, the need for a mobile-friendly digital version of the magazine was of paramount importance.

Before we started searching for a suitable digital publishing solution, we jotted down all of the must-have features we felt a digital magazine should include to enhance our content and provide an interactive and immersive reading experience. We wanted readers to be able to interact and respond to content directly from the page and have the ability to benefit from additional information utilising video content and the ability to download useful documents.

Our list was pretty easy to make and included:


Having assessed the various digital publishing platforms available, we were unable to find a solution that provided a truly mobile-friendly reading experience and all of the interactive features we required?

Having already pitched the Chamber with the necessity for all of these tools, we were in danger of looking a little inadequate. An emergency meeting was called and it was agreed that our only option was to take the plunge and develop our own, unique digital publishing solution

Creating a unique digital publishing solution...

The first challenge was deciding which base platform was going to suit our needs most effectively? We could choose to develop a native app or opt for a web-based solution.

After much research, we decided an online platform offered the most benefits. We wanted readers to be able to access the digital magazine as easily as possible, without the need to download a memory heavy App to their mobile device. With the ever increasing accessibility of public wifi access and the reduced costs of mobile-data, the previous restrictions of web-based solutions were no longer a concern.

Our page layouts look beautiful within the printed magazine but to provide mobile users with an enjoyable reading experience, we needed to avoid the temptation of shoe horning print artwork into a clunky digital magazine offering.

To create a truly mobile-friendly reading experience meant recreating each and every page within the magazine, including the display adverts, and displaying them as easy-to-read pages that included an array of bespoke interactive features.

Adding video content, document downloads and image galleries transforms the reading experience for mobile readers, whilst the inclusion of direct enquiry forms allow advertisers to benefit from customer contacts directly from the magazine page. Add the ability for readers to share individual pages to their social media tribes via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and potential audience numbers begin to grow organically.

After working with the team at the Chamber for a number of months, it was fantastic to finally unveil the rebranded PROSPER Magazine in September 2019. A superb red carpet Relaunch Event saw Mayor of The West Midlands, Andy Street joined by the region's senior business leaders to celebrate the rebirth of PROSPER and discover all the new features it has to offer.

Content is king and the new PROSPER Magazine includes some fantastic articles and key insights from the Black Country region and feedback for the rebranded publication has been exceptionally positive...

To read the online version of PROSPER Magazine: PROSPER ONLINE