CASE STUDY: Working with Usdaw’s magazines
A bit about Usdaw
Usdaw’s Arena is the award winning membership magazine for the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers. It is the 4th largest union in the UK with over 432,000 members. Usdaw represents workers in the retail industry, from checkout operators and delivery drivers to store managers. Members also work in call centres, as drivers, in warehouses and distribution centres, home shopping, pharmaceuticals and food and chemical processing.
The brief for Arena magazine
Usdaw required a publishing partner to redesign their quarterly membership magazine Arena, and the ongoing design and art editing, undertake advertising sales, organising print and the mailing fulfillment. As a union with growing membership they recognise how important good communications and tangible, and useful, member benefits are. This sentiment led the brief from start to finish; and we set about creating a magazine style that the trade union sector hadn’t seen before.
Our strategy and solutions
Century One’s design team took Usdaw’s original, slightly disjointed and text-heavy magazine and relaunched it into a vibrant women’s weekly consumer style magazine, giving it much appeal to the predominately female readership.
The pioneering, fresh, contemporary and upbeat look, was described by judges at the 2007 TUC Communications Awards as ‘breaking the mould’ and scooped the award for TUC Best Trade Union Magazine. The magazine won the same award again in 2010 (“professional…accessible and outstanding…”) and 2014 (“outstanding in every respect…”).
“When we re-vamped Arena with a women’s weekly style it was considered pretty radical. It was a bold move on USDAW’s behalf and now Arena’s success speaks for itself. USDAW is in the enviable position having a growing membership; the results of a forward thinking communications team that are truly member-centric and focused,’ said Sarah Simpson, Chief Bod.
Usdaw wanted a new look for Network, the magazine for their activist members, and a template that they could art edit themselves for five editions per year. They also asked us handle the advertising sales.
Century One responded with a cleaner, fresher look and a flexible template for their editorial team to work on directly. We also art edited the first issue for them, and continue to proactively book advertising for this highly focused title. In the last couple of years we have also updated the design with crisper fonts, bright colour coded sections and incorporated the increasing crossover of online content with specially designed box-outs linking readers to interactive content online.
And we certainly haven’t stopped there; over the years we have reformatted the magazine from standard A4 to the popular handbag-sized A5, and are working towards launching an integrated app solution for the union. Century One successfully manages the requirements of affinity and non-affinity advertising partners, including UIA and CO-Op Funeralcare, the pre-press and print, and the distribution and mailing of the magazine.
What do Usdaw think?
“In the many years that USDAW has been working with Century One Publishing we have won best trade union magazine award twice and come second once on the three occasions the competition rules allowed us to enter. Century One is an outstanding team and we look forward to further developing our communications in the future to keep USDAW at the cutting edge.”
Mike Glover, Head of Media and Communications, Usdaw