SPRING 2018 WORKBOOK
My favorite project during my time at Black Diamond Equipment was the Spring 2018 workbook. The Black Diamond seasonal workbook is a powerful reference tool created for the Global Black Diamond sales teams and buyers to aid in the sell-in of products to retailers. The printed workbook is loaded with imagery, product illustrations, product descriptions, specs, marketing initiatives, and more. Buyers use it as their guide while placing orders for their retail stores while our sales reps use it to show the line, as a clinic tool, and for quick reference; it is their bible for the sell-in season.
For the Spring 2018 season, we were asked to do a complete overhaul of the book to line up with the new direction of the brand and meet the following goals:
• Highlight products better
• Present marketing initiatives
• Debut new brand direction and energy
How we did it
Tell Brand Stories.
In years past, the workbook was very dry. All imagery was black and white, there was no presentation of marketing initiatives, and no brand voice. It looked like a textbook of product illustrations and specs, and a boring one at that. Our main goal with the Spring 2018 workbook was to make buyers excited about the Black Diamond brand again. We told stories of our roots in Yosemite valley, the birth of clean climbing, our employees, and our athletes in addition to product information.
Elevate Product Merchandising.
We had to make each product category feel important in it’s own way. Some buyers only pay attention to a single category for their shop. We had to clearly communicate new and push products to to each type of buyer and let them know that we are a serious player in each product category. We had to make each of them feel important.
Present marketing initiatives.
We took our 6 top tier push products for the season and elevated them even further. They were featured on full page gatefolds that served as marketing stories or advertisements for our own initiatives. These pages dove deeper by presenting taglines and showed buyers know that we are putting lots of marketing efforts behind these products. In turn, this will help sell-through of these products at the retail level.
As the Trade Marketing Specialist, I was challenged to reexamine the Spring 2018 Workbook as merely a reference tool, and provide buyers with a better brand experience in the workbook; something that had been missing in recent versions. This meant more product and brand stories, and merchandising the book more clearly to aid buying decisions. Every piece of the book was reexamined, from how push products were highlighted to the copy in the descriptions.
The workbook consisted of a lot of moving parts right up until the day it was sent to the printer. It came together with the help of an illustrator, copywriters, designers, product category directors, product developers, the internal marketing team, and sales managers. As the in-house project manager, I was guiding all of these parts while also getting my hands dirty with everything from the occasional illustration tweak to proofreading copy, selecting imagery, working with photographers, and brainstorming layout and print ideas. I worked very closely with Merritt Studio, our art director and designer to deliver all assets, meet deadlines, and make sure design concepts were in line with and addressed the needs of the global sales team; all while making sure the work book still served it’s purpose as a marketing and sales tool.
I served as a project manager while acting as a hub to the many pieces that make this book come to life in english, french, and german. With almost 900 products and their corresponding copy, tech specs, illustrations, and photos, organization and attention to detail were critical to this project’s success.
The workbook is the first place that all product information lives: weights, sizes, colors, materials, etc. From there, it feeds our DTC website and is also the main reference internally. Getting the information correct is critical for our reps who are out there selling the products as Black Diamond is selling the most innovative gear on the market.
Three months go by very quickly during a project like this. Product information is still being refined right up until the book goes to print. Time management and organization were key to making sure all pieces came together when it was time to go to print.
So. Many. Products.
The most challenging part about the Spring 2018 workbook was the sheer number and diversity of products that Black Diamond offers. With almost 900 products in the book, it’d be easy for a buyer to not know where to start. We had to come up with a simple way for them to know what our best products are and which ones we were going to put our marketing efforts behind. We had to help guide buying decisions rather than just presenting an overwhelming smattering of product.
When the book was revealed at the Black Diamond sales meeting, the reaction from our sales reps was extremely positive. They loved the new energy of the book and were excited to take it on the road with them to dealers. Many wanted to keep it just as a coffee table book. For our marketing team, the book set the groundwork for the Spring 2018 marketing campaign.