The Autumn 2010 Joules catalogue has been lying around in our house for over a week now. It’s moved from the doormat to the kitchen to the coffee table to the catalogue pile. The trouble is, it’s still in its polywrap. Unopened.
In my household, this is a bit of a mystery. We’re mail order enthusiasts and all three women (daughters 16 & 19, and, erm, 40-ish other half) are hawk-eyed fashionistas. So why has it failed to do it’s job of grabbing the reader’s attention and luring them inside?
My observed theory has two parts. Firstly, it’s not obviously a Joules catalogue. The clothes that the model is wearing, lovely though they may be, are not recognisably Joules. We know the Joules signature stuff when we see it – and this isn’t it. And as for the logo? It’s so subtle that you’re pretty likely to miss it completely at a quick glance, given the other headlines and calls to action that feature prominently on the cover. I think this is a missed opportunity. Perhaps it’s a deliberate ‘trojan horse’ tactic to get the reader inside without knowing it’s Joules – in an effort to reach a wider audience. Even so, I can’t help feeling that the value of brand recognition and customer loyalty is being ignored.
Secondly, there’s the matter of this word ‘catazine’. Let’s face it, it’s not a word that’s bandied around much outside direct marketing circles. It’s jargon – not common parlance. I don’t understand the need to use it at all. After all, when you visit Joules online you don’t see the word ‘website’ as a massive headline at the top of the homepage. Customers are smart enough to know what they’re getting without being hit over the head with it. Good content in a catalogue enriches the customer experience and helps reinforce brand positioning and differentiation. I’m all for it. But the catazine word is unnecessary – especially when it’s at the expense of branding. In my household at least, it was clear turn-off.
Now – recent reports indicate that Joules is doing phenomenally well – so clearly they know what they are doing. All I would say to them is this: you’ve got a strong brand and a good story to tell so don’t hide it – shout about it.