“We print your newspaper,” says Presse-Druck- und Verlags-GmbH Augsburg, the print shop of the Augsburger Allgemeine, the second-largest regional daily newspaper in Germany, offering customer magazines with a newspaper look. Flyeralarm has also expanded its range of corporate publishing services. Which is clever, because a customer magazine is an excellent tool for corporate communications. However, in order for it to be able to display its full attention-grabbing power and become a success for the company, it needs a few professional ingredients.
To begin with, it should be clear that a good layout and good content require a lot of effort. An effort that must be kept up to the same level as the first issue for the regularly published publication. Only those who have defined goals can say whether the effort is worth it.
Do you want to raise the profile of your company, build up and develop an image? Do you want to increase brand value? Do you want to strengthen the emotional attachment of customers, business partners or employees? Many companies also use customer magazines for recruiting new employees or focus on promoting the willingness to buy.
This can succeed if the magazine offers readers added value in terms of information and well-dosed entertainment. Reading must be fun and provide individual insights into the company. The combination of text and images can create a feeling of personal connection and loyalty or enable complex issues to be explained clearly.
Let’s summarize the most important elements at this point: The idea, goal and name must be developed and formulated in-house by each company. The advertising or marketing department can certainly help with this, but the sales department should also be at the table. Basic layout, structure and sections, printing and paper, distribution; this is where the media house or even offers like the one from Flyeralarm can help. With 30 ready-made customer magazines, the company would like to open the door for small and medium-sized companies to create their own customer magazine.
“We have made a name for ourselves with our print products and services, particularly in the SME sector,” explains Nils Brennecke, Head of Corporate Publishing at Flyeralarm. Flyeralarm offers a customer magazine that, on the one hand, comes ready-made on 16 pages and, on the other hand, can be customized on a further four pages and ordered by individual companies with their logo already on the front page. In this way, it can be interesting for roofers, physiotherapists or bicycle markets, for example, to name just a few.
Wir-drucken-Deine-Zeitung.de was developed as a newspaper online store. Here, too, there are ready-made layouts and professional advice. A customer magazine in newspaper format would have been far outside the budget of SMEs a few years ago. The Augsburg-based company has put a lot of effort into this and can now present numerous case studies that prove that newspaper products can be implemented economically and are extremely successful today.
For the fourth time, following 2014, 2015 and 2017, Kammann Rossi GmbH conducted a joint study with SCM (School for Communication and Management) on the future of the employee magazine. In the study, around 230 communications experts from the D/A/CH region were asked what role the magazine plays in their company and what changes they expect in the future. Currently, around 83 percent of respondents say they prefer the printed form of the employee magazine. Looking to the future, 53 percent are still in favor of the printed version, followed by the employee app at around 63 percent.
From my experience, there are additional prerequisites that make a customer magazine successful. A boss who doesn’t want to do everything himself, but trusts his employees or external communications professionals. An editorial plan, so that you don’t fall into the temptation of wanting to pack everything you know into the first issue. It’s better to distribute your content sensibly – and, if possible, event-related over several issues. As a print shop, you should make your customers aware of the need to pay attention to quality, both in terms of content and images as well as with regard to layout overall. In the best case scenario, everyone involved sits down at the same table and plans the customer magazine for a year or the next four issues in advance. Incidentally, professional magazine makers do the same thing. Encourage the customer to set up a corporate publishing team and offer yourself as a member of this team! Only in this way can the result be more than the sum of all parts and the magazine can be designed and implemented according to its purpose.