Before I left London in the early 2000’s I was the New Media Director for brand experts The Team. I’d been offered the position (headhunted in fact) because of the experience I had gained at Rufus Leonard, a company that were, and continue to be, ahead of the curve in terms of taking brands where they need to go in the Digital age. Of course I had started my career in design for print – as everyone of a certain age in the design business has – but the brave new world of New Media was what paid the big bucks in those days.
When I moved to the Caribbean I thought my most sought after skill would be my expertise in website design and content provision. After all I had settled on a tiny island that had a dynamic on-line community thanks to pioneering work by Bob Green, Chris & Joanne Mason and Nori Evoy. But the huge branding projects or large, dynamic websites that I was used to working on were not relevant or affordable for the tourism businesses that became my clients and so I had to adapt – and use my writing, branding and business consultancy skills to help market in the best way I could for the destination – creating content that could work really hard – across brochure-ware flyers, media releases, social media pages etc.
One thing I swiftly discovered was that a lot of local businesses didn’t understand the strength of creating a brand and marketing it consistently – they would ask for help with their marketing – but in reality all they wanted was a logo, a road sign and a Facebook page. I also found out that although most didn’t understand marketing they all understood advertising – especially print advertising – a booklet/magazine/billboard even T-shirts – something they can touch and see – and write a single cheque for.
And so, after finding a talented creative partner in Orrett Wynter I did some research (Yes! Trip Advisor Anguilla destination experts would like a quality printed guide, Yes! niche print publications were still viable if they featured unique, quality content, YES! Overseas marketing agents needed a nice publication to send out) and crunched the numbers (printing in the USA, shipping to the Caribbean eeek) I decided to go back into print. We launched sales for TRUE Anguilla a “your complimentary island guide” four years ago. TRUE Anguilla, our free magazine is as different to your average free publication as Anguilla is as different to your average tourism destination. It has unique content, personal testimonials, interesting recommendations, lovely photos and high production values.
We do our research (thank you Melinda Goddard) and know people read it from cover to cover and keep it as souvenir to plan return trips to the island. Because it’s free I can offer my advertisers a guaranteed distribution of 40,000 copies straight into the hands of the people they want to see it – visitors to the island or people asking overseas for information on Anguilla. But the real key for me – in terms of getting ad sales – is that it’s an effective way to reach those that know they need to advertise – but don’t know how to. We help by rolling quality ad design into the price, and, if they want, I will meet and interview each advertiser personally, to include them in the editorial (as long as they commit early enough).
When we launched sales for the current issue (True Anguilla 4) I had an immediate and positive response from our existing advertisers (we offer them best placement first). Good news is – they want to be in again, they want to increase their ad spend…. they want to be in print.