How do printed assets of a brand fare in digital economy?

When it comes to ‘catalogue marketing’ very few brands come close to what IKEA has achieved over the years.  With 200million + prints distributed annually to homes across the globe with 72 region-specific editions, these catalogues account for 70% of their marketing budget.  But the brand has also been at the forefront of adopting latest technologies.  Whether it’s creating the world’s first website inside Instagram with ‘Instagram catalogue’ or being one of the first brands to utilise Apple’s ARKit tech for their app ‘Ikea Place’.  The app now incorporates VR technology for customers to virtually try out furniture for their homes/offices.  Their latest print advert in a Swedish magazine for a ‘crib’ is another example of this brand’s bold approach.  But I am sure their 2019 catalogue will still be 200million+.  Obviously, the brand continues to see value in their ‘printed asset’.  But overall there has been a drastic decline in ‘catalogue marketing’.  In USA, there were 19.6million catalogues distributed in 2007 compared to 9.8million in 2016.  Many brands are opting for the more cost effective and dynamic digital platforms.  Facebook has tapped into this potential with their ‘lifestyle templates’.  

The story is similar for ‘coupon’ advertising as well.  Brands and consumers alike prefer digital coupons to printed coupons.  Redemption rate of digital coupons are steadily increasing and so are the usage of digital loyalty cards.  Grocery/supermarkets see high usage of digital coupons/loyalty cards and it will continue to grow along with the rise in online grocery shopping.  

But when it comes to ‘brochures’, the evaluation criteria are different.  Brochures are not just another ‘sales tool’.  For many brands – especially in the luxury sector – brochures are a visual representation of the brand personality.  The quality of printing, texture of the paper, sophistication of the visuals and copy and the choice of distribution channel, each contributes to the overall brand image.  Some brands use their annual brochures as the ‘corporate gift’ to valued customers.  Recently we were asked to design a brochure for a ‘luxury brand’ and his brief was to create a ‘coffee-table brochure’.  We ensured every detail of the brochure, starting with the size itself, followed this brief.

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Parag Chemburkar

About the Author Parag Chemburkar

Parag Chemburkar is the chief creative officer at Centric DXB. He leads the most talented creative team in the region, tasked with pitching original design concepts to some of the biggest brands in the region. Aspiring winners of the Cannes Gold can reach him on parag.chem@centric.ae

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