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Cover Up!

Ignite Readers Debate Pros and Cons of Consumer-like Cover Treatment

If a magazine cover does not capture my attention and draw me in, it doesn’t matter how good or bad the content is, I likely won’t open it. I loved your (Feb/Mar 2011) cover and disagree with a letter I saw from another reader of Ignite stating that he felt the recent cover image that you used looked more “…like a fashion mag…may be seeing the recycling bin before even being opened”.

The image you used was of a high fashion model trying on shoes with the cover line – Find the Right Fit (when working with a corporate procurement department). The reader went on to say he liked “the approach and the fact that models are being used, however I would recommend focusing on the same style with shots that parallel industry and industry topics instead of shoes.”

I don’t agree with that reader’s comment. The majority of trade and business magazines are so dull and unimaginative looking that, despite their relevant content, those magazines are more likely not to be noticed or read and end up in the recycling bin. A strong cover image is the first impression you have about the nature of the publication and whether it will potentially engage and inform. Ignite’s cover image is strong and compelling.

Business event planners are consumers as well as business professionals. Just because they receive these magazines in a business setting does not mean they must be ’corporate” looking. Readers, like myself, would be drawn to a publication that would emotionally and visually connect with them, and want to pick up. And Ignite is a known strong brand within the industry and synonymous with imaginative, relevant, professional content so nobody would confuse it with a consumer lifestyle magazine just based on the cover image used. The cover lines were very clear on the nature of the article pictorially represented by the image. I have seen many strong magazine brands that even run their cover image right over the cover logo and readers can still recognize the brand despite not seeing the magazine name. If the brand is strong and respected enough, regardless of the cover images or logo treatment used, readers will be familiar and know what to expect when they open it.

I also found out that 85% of planners in the industry are female and my guess is that most love shoes. So using the model trying on shoes as a metaphor to finding the right “fit” when working with an internal department is very clever and engages the reader is a creative manner on a potentially dull subject. Event planners by nature are highly creative, visual individuals, given the nature of their work, creating effective, imaginative events. Their attention would not be captured by a traditional, drab industry magazine.

A growing percentage of planners within the corporate market are “accidental planners” (meeting planning is only a small percentage of their role). These are administrative assistants, executive assistants, human resources and procurement personnel that would never pick up a traditional trade magazine for business event planners despite it being a component of their job responsibility – however a stylish, consumer presentation like Ignite’s cover image of a model trying on one of many pairs of shoes will strike a personal chord with them, encouraging them to open, read your magazine and learn ways to do their job more effectively and creatively.

Congratulations Ignite on bringing a fresh visual approach to engage your current readers and attract new followers. I found your strategy and treatment of the recent “shoe” cover extremely effective and I disagree with the reader that wrote in to you earlier saying your cover image should parallel industry and industry topics instead of shoes. The cover appealed to me on a personal and professional level and captured my attention and drew me in to read the complete issue. You were consistent with your media kit tagline “Style with Substance”. You know your audience intimately and your unique, imaginative style represents the industry well.

Kate Elliott
Oakville, Ontario

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