By Lewis Floyd, Sr. Associate, W.B. Grimes & Company, firstname.lastname@example.org
What factors comprise your publication’s image? I believe your publication image is comprised of many factors, including but not limited to, print quality, web presence, employee attire, employee attitude, your office cleanliness, the area outside your building, the racks you use to sell your publication (both coin and inside racks), your delivery, your editorial objectivity – just to mention some that top my list.
Do we need “image police” or start with employee attitude? I would go for the attitude, once that becomes positive and caring, it is also contagious. The best we can hope for is pride in their work, their surroundings, and sincere caring about community relations.
What areas portray your publication’s image? The front of your building, the landscape, the dock or loading area, the interior of your office, your newspaper racks, and the print quality of your newspaper.
Does your office look like a child was playing with paper and left a messy table? It has been said that a “cluttered” or unorganized desk says the person working there is unorganized and may even have trouble keeping his thoughts on track – but even more important, it says your operation is sloppy. Is you floor or carpet stained, are your walls cluttered with pin up articles, or awards/photos that beg to be straightened? Does you press/insert/loading area look like a vagrant makes his home there? Take a walk through your building, if you see these things it is time to put a plan in action to correct them, and if you don’t see any of these congratulate your staff!
Drive around town, look at your outside racks, go in stores selling your papers – do the outside racks show dull, rust, broken or dull windows – can you even see your paper behind the window? Are your inside racks in a corner, do they have other products stacked on them, is your competitor on the same rack and worse yet, on the top shelf or have a copy in the display top? What image do you believe equipment like this conveys? Did your rack make you want to buy your paper or fire someone? OK, since you are in charge maybe don’t fire yourself, but you could build a fire under you to correct these poor images!
Have you compared your print image to other publications? If you have your own print operation you should ask can it do better or should we explore outsourcing our printing? If you are already printed somewhere else, did you choose by price rather than quality? Are there other sources that can do a better job?
None of these corrections will break a company, many are attitude. Perhaps the most expensive improvement will be your outside racks – but a local painter, a decal company, and your racks can have a new look without a new price. You can do with this without buying more racks by identifying the very low selling racks, pull them and start painting, replacing the higher selling racks first and working through all your outside racks, eventually putting all your racks back in service – and enjoying higher rack sales!
Just saying …