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Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Created on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
by Michael Futers

We’ve revamped Derwent Life our resident newsletter. It’s now a magazine. It’s very different and will be with customers later this month.

Our text survey last year showed that 83% of customers read it but the old broadsheet style of Derwent Life was unchanged in over 5 years. People thought it looked dated and old hat and didn’t reflect what customers read on a day-to-day basis. It was difficult to flick through to find the bits that were of most interest.

It was suggested that articles were too long: there was too much text and not enough images or picture led content. There was also a feeling that articles were aimed mostly at older customers and that few family members or visitors read it. There wasn’t much in it for younger readers. In fact much of the content reflected what Derwent Living wanted to say and was not always of interest to residents.

So what have we done?

Mostly obviously we’ve changed the size and made it a magazine. Readers can now flick through to find articles of interest. This was a key outcome from the consultation and we’ve done it.

There is also a sharper focus on people and their stories. We are using improved photography and up-to-date images. The new layout includes a mix of news, features and picture stories. We have significantly reduced the amount of text on each page and made the writing style more punchy and readable. New sub-headings in articles assist scan reading.

As with some of the successful media magazines there is a mix of content, some Derwent Living related and some not. The non-related content is designed to draw in people who will then see and take in the Derwent Living content. The non Derwent Living related content also ensures the magazine remains in the customer’s home for longer.

At a time when expenditure is being watched so keenly we have also managed to bring down our design and print costs. That’s also good.

So although it wasn’t broke Derwent Life was ready for freshening up. The new style should be more readable, more fun, reach more customers, and save us money.

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