Case Study: Homebase customer magazine

Homebase launched its customer magazine Ideas as part of a revamp of its image aimed at changing perceptions of it as a DIY retailer and increasing its appeal to women.

Case study: Ideas

Client: Homebase

Sector: Retail

Frequency: Quarterly

Circulation: 500,000

Target audience: Spend & Save loyalty card customers

Core objectives

As well as wanting to drive store visits and increase average spend, Homebase no longer wants to be viewed as a DIY shed, but as a home enhancement destination. To help change consumer perception it is investing in a massive store redevelopment programme, which will help it appeal to a female audience.

Execution and results

To express this new brand positioning Homebase wanted a single communication. The key challenge was to integrate ideas into Homebase's broader marketing strategy, and the results were impressive. Ideas has made a huge impact since it launched in December 2002 with significant sales uplift of featured products, more frequent store visits and increased basket spend per visit.

For a six-week period after each publication, the visits and purchases are measured, using the unique barcode on their loyalty card, against a control group. The results from this showed over £30m in sales to be tracked through the magazine in three issues. More than 25,000 new store visits were recorded in the first week of the spring and summer issues and more than £1m was clocked up in incremental sales in four days as a result of the mailed magazine.

Further results were gleaned from 400 telephone interviews conducted as part of APA's effectiveness measurement programme. Ninety per cent of recipients said they had read some of the magazine, with 50% reading most or all of it, and one third said "it made me visit Homebase when I wasn't planning to".

Ideas won Customer Magazine of the Year and Launch of the Year at the APA Customer Magazine Awards 2003 in association with Royal Mail.

What the judges said

The judges were impressed by the way ideas is repositioning the Homebase brand, in that it makes you think differently about the store. They said: "It has taken DIY into a different arena, appealing to a large audience, offering fresh ideas and covering a wide variety of topics.

"Ideas has very clear objectives and delivers on them. It also stayed focused on what it was trying to do, taking a practical rather than aspirational approach. The overall impact of the magazine on the business was impressive and strongly evaluated. It positions the brand away from the sawdust of other DIY stores".

Hilary Weaver, director of the Association of Publishing Agencies, said: "Homebase has demonstrated just how influential a customer magazine can be when repositioning a brand. By combining first class editorial content with unrivalled marketing expertise and capability, amazing results can be achieved and measured. This accountability is key to the ongoing success of the medium and provides a compelling case for considering a customer magazine as part of every campaign marketers undertake."

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