In 2018, Volpa was commissioned by Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce (DACC) to rejuvenate the organisation’s quarterly membership magazine.
At the time, the magazine was a little tired, formulaic and a little too corporate. DACC had a vision to create a more accessible, user-friendly and inspirational publication. Our brief was to realise that vision by leading the editorial and design for a brand-new members’ publication.
THE VOLPA SOLUTION
Volpa’s key objectives were to:
1. Refresh the design and editorial vision to create a quality magazine showcasing DACC’s members and provides value for member subscriptions
2. Ensure the magazine is published quarterly in a timely manner
3. Position the DACC magazine as the organisation’s key engagement tool for members and with the wider Dundee business community
With DACC’s brief in mind, we drew on our collective expertise to plan a more vibrant, informative and quality publication. With a former regional newspaper editor, children’s magazine editor and international trade magazine writer within the Volpa’s publicity team alone, there was a creative editorial team ready to think outside the box in terms of content planning. Also, add in a dash of design expertise from a Dundonian-born Graphic Designer and we had an impactful and exciting magazine in the works.
With a strong history of working with clients across Dundee and Angus, Volpa had an understanding of the mood of the business community in the area and what they would like to receive from a magazine. Dundee is going through an exciting period of dramatic change and, as a creative city buzzing with innovation and growth, we wanted to raise the bar for chamber magazines across Scotland and demonstrate what a UNESCO City of Design and home to the V&A can really do.
At the planning and research stage, Volpa worked very closely with DACC to produce an editorial plan which reflected a large cross-section of the members, telling their stories and sharing experiences. Each issue was given a theme which would resonate with the Dundee business community. Issue 1 featured the circular economy and issue 2 offered an international theme.
We created a new identity for the magazine, renaming it ConnectED. ‘Connect’ being what the magazine was aiming to do for DACC members and ‘ED’ reflecting the editorial value of the content.
Our strategy was to capture attention through creating a less corporate publication which was more engaging for members. We achieved this through a complete re-design of the magazine. We introduced a more image led approach, breaking up copy with impactful photography and new fonts giving the magazine a more consumer magazine feel.
Time was spent producing front covers which were sleek, impactful and immersive with strong imagery, design and minimal content – just enough to tempt readers to the pages within.
The actual ‘feel’ of the publication was reviewed too. We saw an opportunity to capture attention with a less common approach to the magazine’s paper.
A matte paper stock was introduced with a soft touch lamination on the cover and a burst bound style spine has given the magazine a higher quality more collectable style encouraging members to return to their copies and use them for reference in the future.
OUR CUNNINGLY GOOD RESULTS
A clear way to deliver across all the objectives was to help DACC increase their membership numbers. With 695 members in October 2018, print runs of the refreshed publication were increased to 2,500 copies from issue 1 of ConnectED so there was a surplus to ensure the magazine would reach the wider business community.
As well as reaching all members, the magazine can be found across the region with copies being delivered to businesses regardless of whether they have joined DACC. This has grown ConnectED’s readership and presence within the business community and increased their number of members from 695 in October 2018 to 773 in May 2019.
Every issue has a high proportion of advertising included and the revenue generated funds the continued production of the publication.
The increased use of ConnectED by members as an advertising platform demonstrates the magazine’s growing position as an engagement tool both for members and the wider Dundee business community. DACC also confirmed that they have seen a significant increase in advertising revenue as a result.
See the full Winter issue here
OUR CUNNINGLY GOOD FEEDBACK
Feedback from DACC members has been positive and will continue to help us develop and enhance the magazine. Comments from a recent member survey included:
“It covers a lot of topics and diversity. It promotes and showcases members (In Your Shoes is always a good read!). I can see the headings clearly and am able to skip through those that don’t appeal.”
“Good mix of information / advertorials. Full of information, colourful and bold. It adds life and a vibrant feel to the Chamber, creating a perception of movement and dynamism.”
Of course, the client’s perspective is equally as important and DACC have been delighted with the results:
“We’ve been delighted with our new look (and feel) Chamber Magazine. Volpa have been a great support to the team, assisting us in getting our vision of the magazine to print. The magazine has given our members another platform to share their stories, advertise their businesses and catch up on what’s been going on in the region. It’s a fantastic asset to our Chamber and the team often catch a glimpse of it whilst visiting a members’ premises. We’re looking forward to creating further issues with Volpa and promoting more of what the region and our members have achieved.”
Sarah Young, Events & Marketing Manager, Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce