[ CASE STUDY ]
BLACK COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Transforming the West Midland's longest-running business magazine
CORIN CRANE | CEO | BLACK COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
PROSPER Magazine is the Black Country's longest-running business publication so, when the Chamber of Commerce decided it was time for a rebrand, they spoke to Interactive Magazines.
For a number of years, the Black Country had utilised the services of an 'off-the-shelf' publishing company who designed, printed and published their magazine and dealt directly with members to sell advertising space.
Over time, the 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 presence was restricted to a clunky flipbook that was unusable on mobile devices.
The Chamber had a clear vision of the type of publication they wanted PROSPER Magazine to be and the level of content they wanted to provide their members, so they decided to take control.
A PREMIUM-QUALITY PRINTED PUBLICATION
To start the rebranding process, it was important to determine how the new magazine would look and feel and we assessed an array of printed publications to determine style preferences and paper stocks.
The publication 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 paper for both cover and inners. 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 must step away from the old-fashioned newsletter-style pages, crammed to the margins with supplied content and member 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.
MOBILE-FRIENDLY WITH INTERACTIVE FEATURES
With over 74% 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:
DIRECT ENQUIRY FORMS | SOCIAL SHARING | WEB LINKS | VIDEO | DOCUMENT DOWNLOADS | IMAGE GALLERIES | MESSAGE POP-UPS
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
A TOTALLY UNIQUE DIGITAL 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 shoehorning 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-reading pages with the addition of bespoke interactive features.
Adding video content, document downloads and image galleries transform the reading experience for mobile readers, whilst the inclusion of direct response forms allow advertisers to benefit from customer enquiries 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 readership numbers begin to grow organically.
CLICK TO SEE PROSPER ONLINE
INCREASED MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
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.
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.