What's in a (Brand) Name?
New magazine launches can be tricky business. How do you make that first connection that will build a lasting relationship with your desired audience? For the launch of its new shopping magazine for the home, domino, Condé Nast tested several direct mail packages. One approach was an effort that leveraged already existing, trusted titles from its portfolio to affirm the quality and content of the new publication.
In this piece, which was tested in December and then again in April, the connection with other well-known Condé Nast publications starts on the outer envelope, which has an image of a well-tailored, bright-red couch on both sides (Archive code # 202-699912-0505). The front of the 6" x 9" glossy envelope features the front of the couch with the copy, "introducing domino ... the shopping magazine for your home." The back of the envelope shows the rear of the couch and reads, "Create style, save moneywith the new magazine from the publisher of Lucky and Vogue."
The connection to well-established Condé Nast publications also is featured prominently in the lift note. The outside copy on the lift note introduces domino, "From the people who know STYLE and SHOPPING like no one else." Inside, the lift note continues:
Who knows the ins and outs of home design better than the publisher of Architectural Digest and House & Garden? And who understands the fine points of shopping better than the creators of Lucky (for women) and Cargo (for men)?
"Certainly there was internal discussion about which titles we should feature," says Sally Murphy, consumer marketing director for domino. "We felt that it would be impactful to leverage the brands that best convey the core topic that domino is all about, which is shopping for the home. We honed in through some focus group research that Lucky and House & Garden are the best combination of magazines for domino, because Lucky is the quintessential shopping magazine and domino is a shopping magazine following the Lucky model. While House & Garden immediately conveys the shelter category very succinctly for us."
The rest of the mailing elaborates on the real-life, actionable information and resources domino provides its readers, and features an offer for a risk-free premier issue, which the reader can keep even if she decides to cancel the subscription. A four-page letter from the editor-in-chief introduces the publication, speaking to the magazine's mission and how it will help its readers create a home environment that's uniquely their own.
Included as well is a fold-out brochure that visually reinforces what the reader will be able to do with the help of this new shelter/shopping publication. "This is a strong package," says Murphy. "It has a great outer envelope, and a strong headline."
Even though it garnered good response, Murphy notes this was not the winning piece out of the three initially developed. "The one that won did a better job of conveying the shopping motif, both textually and visually," she says. The package the publisher has decided to roll out with is less shelter-oriented and presents a wider array of the products readers can shop for. The publisher is also still testing different offers all the time, says Murphy. "We haven't settled on a control offer yet. It's too new."
So far these efforts have proven effective. The response to the new magazine has been positive, with 156,000 subscribers after just one month on the stands. In fact, Condé Nast describes domino as its most successful launch to date.