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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Stylist arrives - what's the verdict on issue one?

At the heart of all good research are three key factors, "ask the right questions, to the right number, of the right people".

I'm not the target audience for Stylist, there's only one of me, and I'm asking my own questions, but I'll have a go at a first edition critique.

Firstly, good to see a new print product in the market, we like people who try and make things work, and actually get things done.

Five key elements that will make Stylist a success for readers and advertisers (sample of 1)

1) Good paper quality, to display the ads, and ink that doesn't come off on your fingers when you read it.

2) Quality content, which is interesting and engaging to read.

3) Good environment to host the ads.

4) Enough to read to make me want to come back for more next week.

5) Engaging use of digital to build the brand, the relationship and the habit.

So, how's it looking so far?

1) Paper quality is OK, not great, but obviously constrained by the business model (which is entirely sensible). I now have inky fingers though, and if I've learnt anything from over 12 years in newspapers, it's that women are way less forgiving than men when it comes to inky fingers. That's going to be a big issue going forward that they need to solve, or do a promotional tie-up with a wet-wipe/hand cleansing brand to give away a free sample with every copy.

2) Quality interesting content - doesn't do a lot for me personally, but looks well written, it's varied and I'd give up an inky thumbs up.

3) Good environment for advertisers - the proof is in the pudding, but the first edition is never the one to judge. Issue 5 and 6 will usually be a better barometer, but as they fall in the Xmas season they should also be pretty full. Anyway, on the basis of issue 1, we have Selfridges, Amex, M&S and Clinique - so looking positive.

4) Enough to read to bring me back next week? I think so.

5) Good use of digital? Just an e-reader on the site at the moment, which is the bare minimum. I'd have launched with more than this, particularly trying to identify some readers over the next few weeks, but maybe budgets were just not there. If it's a success, I'd expect to see this grow smartly from Q1 next year.

Overall, 7 out of 10, so a good launch edition. Needs to sort the ink out quickly though.....

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